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Published on July 04, 2017

healthy picnic options

Healthy Picnic Ideas for Summer

Summer is a wonderful time for family get togethers and enjoying the outdoors. But all those summer foods that we grew up with – they can be so sabotaging to our healthy efforts.

I’ve come up with five ideas for you to be the super hero at your summer gathering.

I cringe when people tell me what not to have – I’m sure you do, too – I mean, don’t we know it already? We know that fried chicken and potato salad and brownies and hot dogs are just not the healthiest option.

We can even go to the Internet and find out all the reasons why, but when it’s time to go to the picnic and bring our dish to share, what can we do? Everyone is expecting you to bring the frosted brownies that only you can make. And grilling out is all about brats and hot dogs, isn’t it? It’s time to change the mindset and embark on new traditions.

Here are five ideas for you

Basket of Summer's Beauty

Peaches, berries, zucchini and asparagus spears, pea pod, carrots and celery– what a delightful picture and something for everyone. Who doesn’t want the bounty of God’s blessings – washed, cut and prepared to devour – yum and thank you!

Healthier Twists on Salads

You CAN make potato salad with cauliflower, and it’s delicious. With this recipe below you can try it, but also think about making a simple beautiful mixed green salad with beautiful colors of red bell peppers, sesame seeds and sprigs of herbs like mint and rosemary all simply covered with a salad dressing of olive oil and herbs.

More Meaningful Main Dishes

Try your hand at making a tray of wraps – with lean deli meat and leave the condiments off to the side. Have fun with those condiments – they make or break a sandwich/wrap – fun items to consider.

Black and green olives, banana peppers, raw onions, sun-dried tomatoes, stone ground mustard – because it's just so much better, and avocado mayo, too. Put these fun items in a small plastic container with some ice to keep them all chilly and safe.

Yes, Healthy Desserts are Possible

Sure you can make a healthy dessert – if you’re open to it, dried fruit is an exceptional sweet treat after a meal – fruit is God’s candy, after all. But if you must slave over something to be complete, consider making cookies or bars with healthy ingredients.

Below I’ve included a simple recipe for healthy cookies, but there are many, many recipes out there if you know what to look for. I like Pintrest, if I’m outside of my cookbooks – try key words: low carb, healthy treats and then qualify everything you read.

Balance Your Beverages

OK, alcohol and sugared-up colas do NOT have to be part of every gathering, it’s true. If you need to crack open a can of something, try sparkling waters like Pierre, Klarbrun, or Pierre. For the diehard soda drinkers, you might enjoy the taste of Zevia, and there are many, other options. Of course, people will drink water if that is all that is offered.

If you prefer to put more time and effort into the beverage, again, that's not a problem. A delightful sun-kissed pitcher of sun tea or a beautiful pitcher with water and slices of fruit or cucumbers to infuse the flavor. What a delightful visual refreshing treat.

Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

Serves: 24 cookies


  • 4 cups oats, ground up in a food processor or coffee grinder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • ½ cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In a food processor, blend the bananas and juice until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients while mixing.
  4. Pour the batter into the large bowl, and add the raisins.
  5. Drop one spoonful at a time onto a nonstick baking sheet. Press down with the bottom of a glass to flatten.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.


Moist and delicious, these cookies are a sweet and satisfying dessert. Don’t be fooled by their wet appearance when you take them out of the oven; they’ll harden slightly when cooled, but they ARE cooked and ready to eat.

Not Potato Salad

Serves: 4


  • 1 head or 1 bag cauliflower, riced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • ¼ yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, shelled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons Walden Farms Mayo
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or stone-ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)


  1. Add one inch of water to the bottom of a medium size pot with lid, then insert steamer basket and fill basket with chopped cauliflower. Cover.
  2. Heat water until boiling, and then steam cauliflower on the stove until slightly tender, about 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Do not overcook; it can cause a strong smell and mushy texture.
  3. Drain cauliflower well and immediately rinse with cold water to cool. Place in large bowl.
  4. Add celery, onion, parsley and eggs.
  5. Stir in mayo, mustard, and sea salt (if using).
  6. Serve immediately or take to your picnic. Enjoy!

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