Summer Picnic Makeover

Picnic MakeoverCan you believe summer is almost over? Let’s do just one more picnic before we have to start packing up the lawn chairs and flip flops.

Most typical picnic food is laden with saturated fat and calories. For example, a typical potato salad recipes gives you a whopping 400 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 170 mg cholesterol per serving!  I’ve taken a few picnic classics and given them a makeover for healthier outdoor eats … plus I’ve added a few new ideas that are sure to become your new favorite take-along-friendly foods.

Here are 14 make-ahead, take-along, guilt-free, picnic-perfect recipes for your next summer outing.

Low-Fat Coleslaw



I’ve lightened this popular picnic classic by replacing fattening mayo with a plant-based dressing that’s low in refined fats. To speed preparation, use a food processor to shred cabbage – or use pre-shredded cabbage from the produce aisle.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Made with a healthy serving of veggies and high-fiber garbanzo beans, this easy-to-prepare filling just may be the key to the perfect, healthy sandwich.

Greek Veggie Pita

Greek-Veggie-Pita Sandwich

This full of flavor sandwich is perfect for a group. Just set out the fixings and let everyone create their own sandwich just how they like it.

White Bean Garlic Dip

White Bean Garlic Parsley Dip

This delicious dip is full of fiber and tastes great with chips or crunchy vegetables.

Quinoa Patties

Quinoa Patties Recipe

Packed with super-nutritious quinoa and lots of veggies, these patties work great on a bun with all the fixings or just by themselves to be eaten with a fork.

Fiesta Black Beans

Fiesta Black Beans 2

This beautiful salad combines fresh tomatoes, antioxidant-rich black beans, spicy red onions and sweet summertime corn.

Greek Garbanzo Salad


With fresh basil, fresh oregano, and garden tomatoes, this Greek salad has summer written all over it.

Cucumber Corn Relish Salad
Cucumber salad

In the summer months, gardens and farmer’s markets are typically overflowing with cucumbers.  Choose small, tender cukes to make this luscious 8-minutes-start-to-finish Cucumber Corn Relish Salad.

Summertime Farmer’s Market Salad

Summer Farmers Market Salad

A beautiful summertime, make-ahead salad – perfect for picnics or backyard potlucks.

Crunchy Asian Broccoli Slaw

Crunchy Asian Broccoli Slaw

Don’t like raw broccoli? This salad will surprise and amaze you!

Summer Express Tomato Salad

Tomato Salad

Quick. Easy. Amazingly delicious.
Summer, farmers’ markets offer fresh heirloom varieties that would be perfect for this salad.

Refrigerator Lemon Pickles

Lemon Pickles

Sooooo much better than store-bought pickles because these crunchy treats are vinegar-free, polysorbate 80-free, sodium benzoate-free, and artificial-color-free.  And they are fantastically fresh and crunchy!

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Slimming Cookie Recipe

Made with whole grains and low in refined fats, these cookies are a healthy dessert option and are great picnic food.

No-Bake Coconut Date Bites

Coconut Date Cookies
5-minutes to make. High fiber. Low sugar. Perfect!

How to Have a Healthy Picnic

Here are a few tips for making your next picnic a healthy one:

Take Advantage of Summer’s Bounty

Include lots of fresh cut-up vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, jicama, and bell peppers. They’re low in calories, high in nutrients, and  …. they’ll help keep you from eating too many chips.

Keep Your Cool

Be sure to keep perishable food cool to avoid spoilage. To avoid the hassle of ice, consider purchasing a cooler that can be plugged into the 12V receptacle in your vehicle.

Focus on Whole Foods

For maximum nutrition and slimming power, revolve your menu around minimally-processed, plant-based foods.


Bring along extra water and be sure to drink before you feel thirsty to keep yourself hydrated on hot summer days.

Happy last few days of summer! Tell me, what’s your favorite picnic spot?

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