One of the best parts about summer is the chance to spend more time outdoors. The days are longer and the kids are out of school, giving you plenty of time to head out and explore.

Picnics are a fun way to bring mealtime outdoors. They don’t have to be fancy. They can even take place in your own backyard or on your deck if needed. But if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, pack up a cooler or backpack and venture away from the house for a picnic lunch or dinner!

While pretty much any food COULD be eaten at a picnic, some are definitely better suited for outdoor eating than others.

No finer time than high summer to take your meal with you for a #picnic. via @cabotcheese Click To Tweet

Here are a few tips:

Skip the Plates. Choose foods that can be eaten with your hands so you don’t have to deal with bringing along plates and utensils. You could assemble several of these Asian Chicken Cheddar Lettuce Wraps ahead of time, pack them in a container and they’d be perfect to just grab and munch on once you stop to eat!

Asian Chicken Cheddar Lettuce Wraps

Think versatile. Dips can be a great option for picnics. They’re easy to pack and can be served with a variety of dippers to make everyone happy! Bring a batch of this California Cobb Dip and pack some sliced peppers, cucumbers and carrots, plus some chips and crackers and let everyone dip away!

California Cobb Dip

Skip The Heat. It can be hard to bring warm meals on a picnic and keep them at a safe temperature. Look for recipes that taste good room temperature or cold like this Bow Tie Pasta Salad.

Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Also consider recipes that are designed to be snacks. They’re often highly portable and may travel better than a more traditional lunch or dinner recipes.

As you pack up your picnic, remember these important food safety tips:

  • Keep cold food cold. Fill your cooler with ice packs to help keep food at or below 40 degrees F.
  • Keep beverages and food in separate containers so that if people are in and out of the drink cooler, it won’t affect the temperature of your food.
  • Don’t leave food out for more than an hour in hot weather.
  • If you’re driving, keep the cooler in the car, instead of the hot trunk.
  • If you’re grilling, transport raw meat separately from other foods and always ensure meat is cooked to the appropriate temperature.

Need more ideas picnic recipe ideas?! Try these:

Pasta Salad in a Jar

Pasta Salad in a Jar

BBQ Yogurt Dip

BBQ Yogurt Dip

Apple and Cheddar Oat Bars


Kale, Apple and Cheddar Salad


Picnic Savvy Outdoor Eating

If you would like to learn more about Cabot Creamery Cooperative, get more delicious recipes, or take a virtual tour of some of our 1,200 farm families, click here. If you find a recipe that you love on our site, please rate and review it – we appreciate your feedback!

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Regan Jones is Cabot’s National Nutrition Communications Manager and the main voice behind @CabotRD on Twitter. Self-described as a “registered dietitian by education and food-lover by birth,” she writes for the Cabot Creamery Blog from her home in Georgia.

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