Health Advice



Best and worst foods for a picnic

Nicci Micco and Jessica Ball, M.S., RD, on

Published in Health & Fitness

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are filling, nutritious and add a welcome crunch to any picnic spread. They are shelf stable, making them a good choice for grab-and-go snacks. Pair them with other healthy fats like olives, or add dried fruit for fiber and extra flavor.

Single-serving desserts

Bringing treats is a sweet way to finish off your picnic meal. Try desserts that are pre-portioned in single servings to keep things simple. Look for easy recipes for homemade cookies, brownies, energy balls and more for your single-serving dessert needs.

Worst foods for a picnic

These foods are not as easy to pack, don’t boast much nutrition and don’t do well out in the sun. It’s probably a good idea to skip these foods for your next picnic.

Potato salad

There’s nothing inherently bad about potatoes. They’re actually a great source of vitamin C and fiber and boast some health benefits. However, they contain more calories than other veggies. Plus, most potato salads are smothered in way too much mayo, making this not the best food to sit out in the sun on hot days. Think grain salads or bean salads for more picnic-friendly options.



We all love chocolate and it boasts some serious health benefits, but unfortunately, it’s not the best picnic food. Chocolate melts, which can cause a serious mess. Pack fresh or dried fruit or single-serve desserts instead.

Fish and seafood

Fish and seafood are super-healthy foods, but they don’t travel well. Instead, bring sturdier protein foods like cheese, hummus, nuts and deli meats, making sure to keep perishable items in a cooler.

(EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at

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