May 22, 2024

Is there anybody who doesn’t love a picnic? Not according to Smithsonian Magazine, which reported that searches for “picnic date ideas” have increased nearly fourfold in the past year.

It may be that the pandemic got us all used to doing everything, including dining, outside in the fresh air, or a newfound awareness of the many health benefits of spending time in nature. Whatever the cause, eating alfresco is more popular than ever, and with a little planning, you can pack the perfect picnic wherever you end up enjoying it: at the beach, the mountains, even indoors.

There are some practical considerations to filling your picnic basket, of course. You want foods that won’t melt or spoil and are portable and easy to eat as well as healthy. Produce checks every one of these boxes, and can be enjoyed in so many easy, delicious ways. Plus, the majority of Americans do not meet the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines recommendations for produce (1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and many cite lack of preparation and cooking time as a reason why, according to research published in the June 2020 Nutrients. But many fruits and veggies don’t need much time or attention to be picnicworthy.

Sugar snap peas, baby bell peppers, baby carrots, broccoli florets, radishes, cherry tomatoes, or grapes, cherries, berries, peaches, and plums require zero peeling, dicing or other prep work to enjoy — simply rinse and add them to a food storage container or zip-top baggies. They are the perfect picnic finger food on their own or served with a dip.


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