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How to pack a healthy picnic

a profile picture of Julia Ebbens
Health Writer at Bupa UK
20 July 2022
Next review due July 2025

Picnics are one of the best parts of summer. They are a chance to relax with family and friends while enjoying some sunshine. They can also be an opportunity to eat plenty of nutritious and delicious foods. Here I share some ideas for packing a healthier picnic.

What food should I bring for a picnic?

When making your picnic, aim to choose a mix of foods from the main food groups, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. This will help to ensure you have a balanced diet.

  • Ideally, pick complex carbohydrates, such as wholegrains and sweet potatoes. This will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable and give you the fibre your digestive system needs to be healthy.
  • Aim to choose lean proteins such as chicken or fish, as well as some plant-based food options, such as humous or beans.
  • Try to eat a wide range of colourful fruit and vegetables to give you nutrients such as vitamin C and A.
  • Aim to limit the number of processed snacks with added fats, sugars, and refined carbohydrates. Instead make your own snacks with herbs and spices to flavour your food in a healthier way.

Five healthy picnic ideas

Here are a few ideas for you try next time you fancy a summer picnic.

1) Make a salad jar

Summer is a great time of year for fresh, seasonal produce such as strawberries and salads. Make it easy to transport these to your picnic by storing fruit and veg in jars. It will help to keep them fresher for longer. By doing this you can also add any dressings or flavourings without risking leaks. For a simple salad dressing try combining:

  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp mustard

2) Swap crisps for roasted nuts

Crisps might be an obvious choice for a picnic, but have you tried roasted nuts instead? Roasting nuts, such as walnuts or cashews, with a little low salt soy sauce and a few chilli flakes can create a tasty snack with a source of both protein and fibre.

3) Switch to wholegrains

Why not try making whole wheat pasta salads and wraps to keep you fuller for longer? Using wholegrains will also give you extra nutrients such as B vitamins and folate, and will help to feed your healthy gut bugs too.

4) Make some fresh fruit kebabs

No picnic is complete without something sweet, so what about including some fresh fruit kebabs? These are fun to make for both children and adults. Try combining watermelon with blueberries and kiwi for a tropical taste.

5) Make your own fizzy drinks

Staying hydrated in the heat is important. But sometimes you might want a change from plain water. To make your own low sugar fizzy drinks try mixing some natural sparkling water with a few frozen berries or a squeeze of lime juice.


Do you know how healthy you truly are? Bupa health assessments give you a clear overview of your health and a view of any future health risks. You'll receive a personal lifestyle action plan with health goals to reach for a happier, healthier you.

a profile picture of Julia Ebbens
Julia Ebbens
Health Writer at Bupa UK

    • The Eatwell guide. Department of health and social care. www.gov.uk, last updated September 2018
    • Fibre. The association of British dietitians. www.bda.uk.com, updated April 2021
    • Protein. The British Nutrition Foundation. www.nutrition.org.uk, last reviewed June 2021
    • Should you eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables? The British Heart Foundation. www.bhf.org.uk, accessed 13 July 2022
    • A handy guide to seasonal fruit and veg. The association of British Dietitians. www.bda.uk.com, accessed 13 July 2022
    • Stay safe in hot weather. The department of health and social care. www.gov.uk, accessed 13 July 2022

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