Create the Perfect Picnic with These 25 Recipe Ideas

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
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Weight loss is no walk in the park—especially in spring and summer, when it seems like you're constantly surrounded by calorie-packed cookouts and patio parties. But there's no reason your healthy lifestyle has to wilt in the sun. With some smart pre-planning, you can stick to your nutrition plan at the park, the pool, the beach or your own backyard.
 
The best way to go about picnic planning is to think outside the bun. Instead of opting for the usual high-calorie culprits like burgers, hot dogs and potato salad, try one of these nutritious, delicious and sunshine-friendly recipes for your next picnic.
 
1. BLT Summer Roll with Avocado: The classic BLT is reconstructed and offered in new form, made with only six ingredients—and no bread to distract you from the full flavors of the real stars in the standard sandwich.


Image courtesy of Avocado Pesto

2. Healthy Chicken Salad: Seasoned chicken, fresh herbs and a simple yogurt-based dressing are great paired with whole-grain crackers, fresh grapes and crispy veggie sticks.


Image courtesy of Simply Sissom

3. Light and Creamy Greek Pasta Salad: Loaded with fresh veggies, olives, artichoke hearts and feta cheese and dressed in a yogurt-based garlic and cucumber Tzatziki Sauce, it's perfect for picnics, potlucks and make-ahead lunches.


Image courtesy of The Seasoned Mom

4. Rosemary and Sea Salt Kale Chips: Kale chips are twice as delicious when you make them at home (in just 15 minutes) and serve with your favorite dip.


Image courtesy of Foraged Dish

5. Warm Lentil Salad: A fragrant blend of spices, veggies and green lentils topped with fresh feta cheese.


Image courtesy of Simply Stacie

6. Thai Veggie Quinoa Bowl: A perfect one-pot meal, it's packed with crunchy flavors and a tangy, Asian-inspired dressing.


Image courtesy of Avocado Pesto

7. Grains and Greens Detox Salad: With tons of fresh greens, nutty quinoa, pomegranate seeds and a simple lemon vinaigrette, healthy has never tasted better.


Image courtesy of Simply Sissom

8. Jicama-Pineapple Slaw: This bright salad goes well with tacos, burgers and even BBQ chicken. Make it ahead of time for a fresh dish at your next picnic!


Image courtesy of Foraged Dish

9. Quick Mexican Tuna Salad: This protein-packed recipe skips the heavy mayo in favor of flavorful avocado.


Image courtesy of Avocado Pesto

10. Healthy No-Bake Cereal Bars: Whole grains, protein and plenty of fiber make these the perfect grab-and-go snack.


Image courtesy of Simply Sissom

11. Fully Loaded Guacamole: Way beyond guacamole, this dip is stuffed with everything from bacon to fresh tomatoes and pumpkin seeds—simply serve with your favorite chips or veggie sticks.


Image courtesy of Foraged Dish

12. Homemade Apple Chips: These naturally sweet snacks are super simple to make, requiring only three ingredients and one baking sheet.


Image courtesy of Simply Sissom

13. Southwestern Chicken Ramen Salad: Loaded with veggies and dressed in a homemade Southwestern lime vinaigrette, this light, fresh salad is an easy side dish for cookouts or picnics.


Image courtesy of The Seasoned Mom

14. Cheesy Vegan Mushroom Quinoa: Although hearty enough to satisfy meat-eaters, this dish is completely vegan and veggie-packed!


Image courtesy of Fannetastic Food

15. Coconut Almond Date Energy Balls: Five ingredients come together in under 15 minutes for a zesty, refreshing snack or dessert that's also gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar free.


Image courtesy of Avocado Pesto

16. Tangy Veggie Wrap: This refreshing and tangy summer veggie wrap is easy to make and perfect for when you’re on the go.


Image courtesy of Hurry the Food Up
 
17. Peach-Tomato Salad with Basil and Feta: Sweet peaches and tangy tomatoes pair perfectly in this simple summer salad.


 
18. Vegan Wild Rice Salad: Walnuts, lemons, parsley and nutritional yeast make for a super-filling cold or room-temperature salad.


Image courtesy of Avocado Pesto

19. Apricot, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Bites: These little no-cook bites go well with a hot afternoon, a glass of white wine or a bottle of sparkling water.


Image courtesy of Foraged Dish

20. Healthy Chicken Taco Mason Jar Salads: Requiring only about 10 minutes of prep (and no cooking!), these perfectly portable salads are loaded with fresh veggies, cheese and almost 40 grams of protein.


Image courtesy of The Seasoned Mom

21. Healthy Deviled Eggs: They're made with yogurt and Dijon mustard, but they taste so good that your guests won't know the difference!


Image courtesy of Fannetastic Food

22. Asian Rice Noodle Salad: Tender rice noodles are tossed in a quick, Asian-inspired sauce and studded with crispy peanuts.


Image courtesy of Simply Sissom
 
23. Katie's Summer Peach Crisp: Stick this in the cooler for a naturally sweet summer treat.



24. Nutty Maple Baked Brie: Baked brie is nothing short of indulgent, but you can serve this nutty-maple version with fresh apple or cucumber slices to lighten it up.


Image courtesy of Foraged Dish

25. Lemony Spinach Quinoa Bean Salad: This simple and quick salad comes together in no time.


Image courtesy of Fannetastic Food
 
When dining outside in warm weather, you should take precautions to ensure food safety. Foods that can spoil quickly in the sun—such as salads or casseroles, dishes with mayonnaise, cheeses and meats—should be wrapped and stored in a cooler. The FDA offers more tips for handling and serving food safely when eating outdoors.
 
What are your favorite healthy recipes to enjoy outdoors?


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