21 healthy family picnic recipes & ideas

two parents and 2 children walking with picnic basket
I am a big fan of making picnics as healthy as possible and shared a few tips on my own blog of how to make your picnic Slimming World friendly. Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, a picnic is always fun. You can eat lovely picnic food in your own garden, in a local park or at locations such as National Trust properties (we like Moreton Hall, which has beautiful gardens). The seaside is always a lovely place for a picnic too if you can avoid eating sand! By taking a picnic you create a sense of occasion. Whether you take a full picnic hamper or just a carrier bag with some snacks, family picnic are a great way to eat, relax and have fun.

Here, I’ve collected some of the best picnic food ideas and easy recipes. There are vegan picnic ideas, freefrom recipes, cold picnic snacks and more! (Scroll to the end for even more cookie recipes, easy bakes, perfect scones and picnics to pack for the car.)

Vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free picnic ideas

Vegan potato salad – If you are making a gluten-free picnic I found a probiotic vegan potato salad recipe over on A Balanced Belly which is also dairy free and soy free and looks so tasty.

Gluten-free cheese scone recipe – For other great gluten free ideas I found that Craft with Cartwright has a whole selection of them here, including these gluten-free cheeses scones.  It just shows how making food for someone with an allergy or intolerance doesn’t have to be too difficult. (You can also find our recipe for baking perfect scones here.)

Energy balls — What’s a picnic if you don’t take a ball along? Whilst I am vegetarian I do love to try to eat more vegan options with a view to potentially becoming vegan in the future. I reviewed some energy balls not long ago. The Energy Ball recipe kits are vegan and perfect for taking out as a snack if you don’t want to take a full picnic. Be warned though, once you start eating them you wont want to stop!

Vegan tabbouleh salad – This vegan tabbouleh salad looks so good too. If you take it, don’t forget your fork though, I am always doing that sort of thing.

Vegan sausage rolls — The sausage roll is a picnic standard for good reason. It’s yummy, appeals to adults and kids and is easy to pack, hold and eat. These vegan sausage rolls are really cheap to make and are definitely worth a try too.

Delicious non-salad picnic ideas

Picnics don’t have to be all salad though even if you are on a diet.

Eggs in ham — These eggs in ham sound great. To take with you, you’d want to cook the yolk so it’s a bit harder, or take in a container so the lovely soft yolk doesn’t ooze out.

Four bean salad –This four-bean salad works with Weight Watchers plans and is colourful and tempting.

Ham, cheese and pepper pasties — These ham, cheese and pepper pasties are so easy to make.

Picnic wrap ideas

Wraps are a great alternative to sandwiches too as they are less likely to go soggy and get squashed at the bottom of the picnic basket.

Chicken and tzatziki wrapsChicken and Tzatziki wraps are be a hit with adults and children alike, with smooth yoghurt balancing the chicken.

Pea and sweetcorn fritters — Young babies who are weaning could have easy meals too such as these Pea and sweetcorn fritters I found over on the Oddhogg blog.

Sweetcorn fritters — All the family having similar my Sweetcorn fritter recipe is be a similar option for adults.

Unusual and interesting picnic ideas

Have you ever had a pizza or pie on a picnic? Probably not as they don’t tend to transport well. As popular dishes though I have hunted you down some good picnic-friendly recipes so you can enjoy them too! If you are meeting others for a picnic you want to take something different others will not have brought. 

Mini tortilla crust pizzas — Mini tortilla crust pizzas are fun to eat and you can get the children involved in making them beforehand too.

Creamy chicken, leek and spinach puff pastry pies — Creamy chicken, leek and spinach puff pastry pies are great for little hands, adults love them to and they go down a treat.

Feta and pepper savoury muffins — This combination in Feta and pepper savoury muffins is a classic and baking them muffins makes them super picnic-friendly.

Potato pancakesPotato pancakes make the most of leftover mash, so can help you clear out your fridge. 

Turkey and cranberry picnic pie — Don’t wait till Christmas to pair these two ingredients. This version uses sliced ready made turkey but you can substitute your own cooked turkey instead: Turkey and cranberry picnic pie. 

Scones can be a nice addition to a picnic, you could even have them filled instead of bread for sandwiches. Cheese scones are perfect for this.

Something sweet for the picnic

It’s nice to wind up a picnic with a sweet treat.

Lemon drizzle cupcakes — Make the lemony classic cute and portion-controlled with these Lemon drizzle cupcakes.

Peanut butter and dark chocolate cookies — Cookies are easy to make and tend to transport well so I was impressed to find these really yummy looking peanut butter and dark chocolate cookies.

Chocolate chip and orange muffins — These chocolate chip and orange muffins employ marmalade and so are fast to make.

Lime shortbread — Eat this lime shortbread with a thermos of green tea or a little container of lemon mousse. 

Chocolate cake squares — Chocolate cake, cut into squares. Need I say more? Try chocolate cake squares. Just be careful to pack them with ice blocks or frozen water bottles so they don’t go warm and sticky!

If you are travelling a long way for your day out then remember to pack something else for the journey like these healthy brownies. I say healthy, or rather a healthier than the usual brownies and that counts right? If you forget to pack anything for the journey you could end up eating all your lovely picnic on the way there!

What foods do you take on a picnic? Do you try to opt for healthier choices or fill your cool box with cakes, crisps and shop bought sandwiches? Whatever you enjoy remember to pack plenty of drinks and stay hydrated. I hope the weather stays nice for everyone as next month I will be sharing a round-up of BBQ recipes. If you feel you have a great recipe you would like me to include drop me an email on [email protected].

Pin it for later: 21 healthy picnic food ideas

Pin it for later: 21 healthy picnic food ideas


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About Jen Mellor

Jen is a Food and Family lifestyle blogger with a passion for healthy living. Jen lost over 10 stone and shares the ups and downs of her continuing journey as she gains weight and then loses again! A mum to Ben, a gaming mad teenager and girlfriend to Stuart who also struggles with his weight. Jen loves to share anything related to being happy and healthy. As Food Round up editor Jen hopes to bring you food ideas with healthy choices and not so healthy choices as we all need our bad food days and life is for living!

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