What are the first things that come to mind when you think of a picnic? Is it red checkered blankets, classic woven baskets and fresh fruit salads? Or is it tons of used paper plates, empty snack wrappers and processed lunch meats?
Now I’m not here to spoil your fun like some sort of floppy romaine. BUT I am here to show you some of my favorite picnic picks for a sustainable summer.
1. SANDWICH. Better known as the hero of the picnic right!? Well vegetarians, vegans, gluten avoiders: have no fear because your sandwich savior is here! One of my favorite sammies is this broccoli and cheddar casserole ‘wich. Made with Hilary’s Broccoli Casserole Bites, steamed broccoli and dairy-free cheddar on gluten free millet bread, it’s delicious hot or cold. And since I presume you’re going to be sitting in the sun, there’s a good chance it’ll be melty perfection faster than you can say sustainable summer sammie.
2. SIDES. Melted potato salad? No thank you! A healthier and allergy friendly pick that packs up easily is a Wild Rice & Beet Vinaigrette salad. Using the Hilary’s Beet Vinaigrette dressing atop wild rice, brussels sprouts, apples and feta really brings out the sweet and tangy summer flavors. Bonus: there is actually no lettuce in this “salad”.
3. SNACKS. I presume you plan on staying a while since you’ve packed this lovely basket and cozied up to your favorite spot. Snack into the sunset with your perfect pair, just like these duos below:
a. Fresh fruit & cheese – the best fruity summertime picks are berries, cherries & of course, watermelon! If you’re not dairy-free, pair with your favorite cheese for portable protein power.
b. Gluten free pretzels & peanut butter – I LOVE the gluten free pretzels by Quinn Snacks. They are the perfect dunkers into some Crazy Richard’s “100% Peanuts” Peanut Butter squeeze packs.
c. Carrots & hummus – Try Hope Foods’ Thai coconut curry, kale pesto or sriracha hummus for some unique dippage.
d. Cucumbers & ranch dressing – Hilary’s ranch dressing is killer and no one will ever know it’s allergy free.
e. Chocolate chip cookies & anything – Dessert is a must. Ginny Bakes has the most delicious gluten free mini chocolate chip or double chocolate cookies that come in adorable on-the-go snack packs.
4. SAVERS. That’s right. How is your food going to make it to the picnic if not stored properly? And fashionably for that matter. I’m loving Lunchskins for sustainable packing and snacking. These designer reusable bags are not only saving your beloved sandwich, they are also saving the planet from over 1 BILLION wasted plastic bags. This wasted plastic has been infiltrating our landfills and ocean waters leading to the death of millions of marine animals and causing negative health effects in young children exposed to BPA. So say sayonara to your pesky plastic and say hello to fashionable food. Check out their website for additional sizes & designs!
5. SPOTS. All that remains is to “pic” the perfect spot. Check out a local park, lay out by the lake, trek up a mountain or even bring it to the beach (they call it a “sand”wich for a reason…) However, if you aren’t side by side with any natural wonders of the world, you can totally still pic your nic.
a. Patio – never underestimate the power of a good patio or balcony. Plus… you can totally make refills or bathroom breaks as often as you need.
b. Steps – no you don’t have to climb the Washington Monument, but think about any nice buildings around like a state house or library that has some great people watching and practically built-in back rests.
c. Backyard– the grass is always greener on the other side. So pick a side, pop a squat and pretend it’s your foodie field of dreams.
So to recap: you’ve got your sandwich, sides, snacks, savers, spot and you’re ready to go! The only thing greener than your grass will be your picnic picks for a sustainable summer!
Meredith is a twenty- something year old woman who believes in making healthy food fun, one spoonful of nut butter at a time! Hobbies include sandwich stacking, pancake plunging, hummus hoarding and always alliterating.