There are about 98 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day and that means almost 100 opportunities for fun summer picnics — and many more, if we’re lucky. Whether you’re heading to a big family reunion or just a spur-of-the-moment picnic in the park with the kids, you need some go-to summer picnic foods that are nutritious, easy to make and fun to eat.
To make your summer picnics even more enjoyable, we share some summer picnic foods that your kids will love — and that you will love to prepare. With a short list of nutritious staples you probably already have in your pantry and fridge, you’re well on your way to prepare, pack and picnic! As a bonus, we offer some beverage ideas to help keep your kids hydrated and satisfied as they play.
Summer picnic foods start with simple salads
There’s nothing nicer than a summer salad and, with a little planning, you can use up leftovers from dinner to create some unique salads that are just right for your next family picnic. Here are three we can’t wait to try:
Love to grill? Spark up for your burgers and dogs, but grab that head of broccoli you picked up at your local farmers market and make this Grilled Broccoli With Parmesan recipe. This six-ingredient side dish couldn’t be any easier to prep. Then, toss the leftovers into your picnic basket and relive the flavor at the park!
Grilled corn is a summer delight. Here’s a great recipe that will help use up any leftovers you might have. This Grilled Summer Corn, Blueberry and Zucchini Salad is a real surprise, thanks to sweet blueberries and creamy feta or cheddar cheese. Who knew blueberries and corn make such a great combination?
Watch your kids devour vegetables when you pack this Quinoa-Veggie Salad With Marinated Feta Cheese. They’ll enjoy it all the more if they help chop the broccoli, tomatoes, olives, cucumber and carrots! Not a fan of quinoa? Try brown rice or whole wheat couscous instead.
Add some sandwiches, too!
Your kids will agree: when it comes to sandwiches, simple is best. It’s a good thing that pretty much any food can be made into a sandwich. Open the picnic basket and toss in one or more of these kid-friendly picks. Make sure you have enough for you, too!
What makes these luscious Ham and Cheese Pitas extra nutritious is the amount of vegetables included in the cream cheese layer. If your kids like a simple ham and cheddar, they may love this easy-to-eat (and creamier) version, too!
Wraps are great for picnics and this BLTC (Bacon, Lettuce, Turkey, Cheese) Wrap is easy to eat and simple to prepare. Add some avocado, if you like, or choose a dark green leafy vegetable like lacinato kale or collard greens for extra nutrition. Yum!
Sometimes, the best sandwiches are all about the bread. Why not make it simple and pair a multigrain or seeded whole wheat bread with a luscious Michigan cheese? The combinations are infinite, but the recipe doesn’t get any easier than this. Bread plus Michigan cheese equals perfect picnic food, every time.
Milk rehydrates and smoothies keep you cool
On a picnic, a cold drink is just as welcome as a sunny day. For the simplest picnic beverage, be sure to fill your drink container with fresh milk. Prized for its ability to replenish what is lost when we sweat, milk also “contains protein, essential nutrients and is a great source of calcium, which helps to keep the body healthy and strong — something that will come in handy for active kids during the summer,” according to information at MilkMeansMore.com.
You can also try something special for your next picnic and prepare one of these creamy smoothies. Watch your kids’ eyes light up when they sip! Be sure to keep them cold if you’re enjoying them away from home or make a plan to prepare and enjoy back at home as a nutritious afternoon snack.
This Frozen Tropical Smoothie combines favorite fruit chunks with cottage cheese. It’s practically a meal in a glass!
Skip the grape juice and blend this Frozen Grape Smoothie and pack it in your picnic. Your kids don’t need to know it contains spinach. We won’t tell.
This Apple-Peanut Butter Smoothie is so good your kids will want it during every picnic. Keep it cold and give it a gentle shake before serving.
Content sponsored by Milk Means More. Find more recipes and nutrition information at milkmeansmore.org.