One of my favorite summertime traditions is enjoying time outside with picnic food. I live in Colorado, where there are tons of beautiful natural areas to pick a shady spot and tuck into a tasty meal.
If you’re out of date ideas, I highly recommend this type of outdoor excursion. You could even pick a theme for your picnic and build the experience around it for a thoughtful touch!
Best Picnic Baskets
The first step to a great picnic is a great basket to transport all your picnic food. There’s a wide range of price points for picnic baskets, depending on how many bells and whistles you want. Based on my research, they range from around $20 to $400. You can also find them in a variety of materials and sizes.
Here are some suggestions that you might like:
- The Traditional Option: This is the picnic basket you probably picture. This is a great choice if you want to recreate the classic picnic aesthetic.
- The Foldable Option: I like this one because it’s affordable, collapsible, and insulated, making it perfect for keeping beverages cold.
- The Most Portable Option: This is a great option for if you’re looking for a backpack-style picnic basket with all the bells and whistles included. This would be great for hiking to a secluded location for some wine and cheese.
- The Bigger Option: This is one of the more affordable big picnic baskets I found. I like it because it has that classic aesthetic and includes plates and cutlery for four.
- The Luxury Option: In the fanciest version of my life, this is the picnic basket I would get. This would be a great wedding present for a couple who loves picnicking.
Some Quick Picnicking Tips
Pack it in, pack it out! It’s essential to strategically pack your picnic basket to ensure that you can easily enjoy your meal and clean up after yourself.
- If your picnic basket doesn’t include dinnerware, consider packing containers that can nest inside each other to minimize the amount of space they take up.
- Make sure to think through your entire meal and everything you will need for it! The last thing you want is to have a bottle of wine without a corkscrew.
- Keep it simple — save any picnic food that requires both a fork and knife for home. Anything you can eat with your hands works best.
- Food storage matters! If you want anything cold, an insulated container with an ice pack is your best bet. This is also a good idea if you’re going to be traveling for a bit before you reach your picnic spot.
- Don’t forget napkins and hand sanitizer!
- Pack a large Ziploc or Stasher bag where you can store dirty plates and flatware once you’re done.
- Make sure to pack a little garbage bag for any packaging as well!
Best No-Reheat Picnic Food Options
At Workweek Lunch, we have tons of great no-reheat meals because they work so well for meal prep. They also happen to work great for picnic food. Below are some of our favorite options! If you’re looking for more ideas these $2 no-reheat lunch ideas will keep both your mind and stomach at ease.
I love wraps for picnics because they’re so portable. You can even wrap them in beeswax or plastic wrap to avoid needing the room for another container!
- Thai Chicken Wraps: These are my favorite WWL wraps. You could get super cute with this and make your whole picnic Thai inspired with bottles of Thai tea and mango slices.
- Sausage, Sweet Potato, Kale And Hummus Wrap: This one is super yummy and filling. It would probably be really satisfying after a hike or a swim.
- Pesto Hummus Veggie Wraps: This is a great vegan wrap that is a favorite in the WWL community.
Salads are an incredible no-reheat meal for picnics because they keep so well and are tasty cold or at room temperature. All you need to remember is a fork!
- Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad: This pasta salad is SO good and I can attest that it travels really well.
- Basil Lime Chicken & Peach Kale Salad: I haven’t gotten a chance to make this one yet, but I am so excited to! This is so summery that I feel it would be perfect for a picnic.
- Buffalo Cauliflower Salad: It might be fun to build a “game day” theme around this, a.k.a. delicious Super Bowl snacks! You could include snack-sized bags of chips and some veggies and dip.
This is a super-easy way to bring some finger food along!
- Buffalo Chickpea Wrap Bento Boxes with Hummus: These are so tasty and would make for really easy cleanup.
- Variety-Lover’s Snack Lunch Box: Talia has some really great ideas in here for creating the snack box of your dreams. If you’re into charcuterie, you can make, essentially, a portable cheese board with this method.
- Japanese Bento Lunches: It would be so fun to do a Japanese-inspired picnic! You could pack chopsticks as a cute touch.
If you want something similar to a salad but a bit heartier, one of these no-reheat bowls might do the trick.
- No-Reheat Thai Tofu, Zucchini and Carrot Bowls: This recipe was one of the first WWL recipes I loved enough to make several weeks in a row, and it’s really good cold or room temperature.
- No-Reheat Edamame Mango Quinoa Bowls: This is a great vegan option that’s super tasty and filling.
- Crispy Falafel & Chopped Salad Bowls: If you’re obsessed with Middle Eastern food like me, you will love this option.
It’s not a picnic without something sweet!
- Easy Zucchini Bread: This zucchini bread is SO good and makes for an excellent dessert.
- Easy Lemon Blueberry Scones: These would be great for a little picnic tea party! Just bring bottles of iced tea and some finger sandwiches to enjoy too.
- Morning Glory Muffins with Apple and Carrot: This is one of our most popular muffin recipes in the WWL community.
I hope this gave you some great picnic food ideas for your next summer outing!
If you aren’t a member yet, try a free week of the WWL program to get access to all these amazing picnic recipes, plus hundreds of others.
Did I miss your favorite picnic food? Let me know in the comments below!