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Our Blog: June 28, 2021

How to Have the Perfect Summer Picnic

By Nicole Spain, Registered Dietitian

School’s out, the weather is spectacular, and it’s a great time to be outdoors with your family. If you are planning a day trip to the zoo, beach, or wherever your adventure takes you, you may want to pack a picnic. Try some of our Grow Fit inspired picnic ideas and don’t forget to follow food safety tips to keep your picnic safe!

If there are picnic tables where you are going then you can skip the blanket, but you’ll want to bring some sanitizing wipes to clean the table off before diving into your spread. Pack items in storage containers and bring a stack of paper plates to serve the food items on.

I’ve found kids love finger foods on picnics! Try one of these two picnic ideas:  

On a Roll Picnic:

  • Turkey & Cheese Roll-Ups – a slice or turkey and a slice of cheese rolled up
  • Mini Bagels with cream cheese
  • Fresh Orange Slices
  • Cucumber slices & ranch dressing
  • Lemon Meltaway Balls (see recipe below)
  • Individual cartons of milk

Fiesta Picnic

  • Refried Bean Taquitos (tightly rolled mini tortilla with refried beans)
  • Salsa for dipping Taquitos
  • Fresh melon cubes
  • Caramel Oatmeal Cookies (see recipe below)
  • Individual cartons of milk

Don’t forget to pack your water bottles and stay hydrated while out exploring!


Packing for Safety

  • Keep cold food cold
    • Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees F or colder
    • Pack cold foods in a sturdy, insulated cooler with plenty of ice or frozen gel packs
  • Keep hot foods hot
    • Keep hot foods at 140 degrees F or hotter
    • To transport hot foods, wrap them in towels then newspaper and place inside a box or heavy paper bag.  Keep these foods warm on a lit grill or use within one hour
  • Wash your hands
    • Pack a mason jar with soapy water if you think you might not have handwashing facilities
    • Pack hand sanitizer too!

Handling Leftovers

  • Because most picnic leftovers have been sitting out for more than one hour and have had many people handling them, it’s best to throw away any leftovers
  • Cold foods kept in a cooler that still has ice may be safe
  • If the ice is melted, throw out the food - cold water cannot keep foods cold enough to be safe 


Lemon Meltaway Balls

1 ½ C almond flour
1/3 C organic coconut flour
½ tsp salt

1-2 tbsp maple syrup
3 lemons
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ C coconut oil
½ C coconut flakes (optional)
½ C powdered sugar (optional)


  1. Squeeze the juice from the 3 lemons.
  2. Put all ingredients except coconut flakes and powdered sugar in the food processor until well combined.
  3. Take out a spoonful at a time and roll them in the palm of your hand into a ball shape.
  4. Leave them plain or roll them in shredded coconut flakes or powdered sugar.
  5. Put them in the refrigerator to firm about 10-15 minutes.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Recipe from


Caramel Oatmeal Cookies

1 C softened butter
¾ C brown sugar
½ C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ C old fashioned rolled oats
1 C whole wheat flour
¾ C all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 C caramel chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper & set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Stir in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.
  3. Slowly incorporate remaining ingredients until the dough has just come together. Scoop cookies and place on prepared sheets. Bake 9-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the centers are soft but not gooey.
Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.