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Healthy Picnic Food Ideas for Every Meal and Summer Gathering

Take It Outside

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Gorgeous weather day and night means endless opportunities for alfresco gatherings. The mood is lighter, the food tastes better, and there's little cooking to be done. In other words, easy, instant summer fun. (Related: No-Cook Summer Side Dish Recipes with Fresh, Seasonal Produce)

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

The Breakfast Bash

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Set out a lavish pancake bar. Griddle up a stack ahead of time, and serve with a variety of sweet and savory fillings. Think fruit, veggies, cheese, yogurt, honey, nuts, muesli, cacao nibs, hard-boiled eggs, smoked salmon, herbs, capers, and kimchi. Create your own, or try the combos here.

  • Smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, capers, chives
  • Ricotta, raspberries, honey, hazelnuts, muesli
  • Vanilla yogurt, sliced banana, peanut butter, cacao nibs, pecans

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Wine & Cheese Happy Hour

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A bunch of bites, some rosé, and you're good to go. You'll want to include hard and soft cheeses, fruit, nuts, crackers, and vegetables. Check out the delicious dip recipes below, but these munchies should help get your board started.

  • Heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • Red wine cheddar cheese
  • Grilled halloumi cheese
  • Nuts and seeds crackers
  • Sliced plums with shredded basil
  • Radishes

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Orange and Olive Oil Whipped Feta

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A wine and cheese outing doesn't limit you to rounds of Brie. One option? Whip feta into a refreshing dip flavored with olive oil and orange zest.

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Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Blueberry, Corn, and Cilantro-Pesto Succotash

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For produce, you can stick to your go-to fruit salad and crudité platter—or you can throw together this addictive succotash. It takes advantage of corn, blueberries, and cucumber, which are all in season right now.

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Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Curried Sweet Potato-Mango Dip

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After trying this dip, you'll want to start combining mango and sweet potato for everything—smoothies! toast! salads! And you'll be better off for the discovery: Mangoes and sweet potatoes are both high in vitamin C.

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Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Salads On a Skewer

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With no dressing, no tossing, and no need for silverware, salad kabobs are your new picnic BFF. (More food on a stick here: Healthy Kebab Skewers You Can't Resist) Try these combos inspired by the classics.

  • Wedge chicken salad: chicken, grapes, iceberg lettuce, blue cheese
  • Greek salad: cherry tomatoes, dolmas, feta, olives
  • Meat and potato salad: steamed baby potatoes, red leaf lettuce, roast beef, pickles

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

An Elegant Outdoor Dinner

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The evening is, without question, the best time to take your meal outside. Create a sophisticated and healthy spread with chilled soups, toasts, and wraps.

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Persian Cold Yogurt Soup Jars

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This Persian cold yogurt soup doesn't even need to be cooked. Just whip it up in advance and keep it chilled. Then serve it in small jars for a pretty starter or side.

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Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Hoisin Mango-Chicken Cabbage Wraps

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Wraps make evening picnicking easy. Assemble these chicken cabbage wraps beforehand, or lay out all the ingredients and let guests have fun creating their own. (Everyone will also love these tuna lettuce wraps.)

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Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Pistachio-Pea Crostini

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Hearty spreads, like this nut and vegetable mix, transform a baguette into a delicious (and healthy) side dish. (Next, check out these creative recipes for a healthier picnic.)

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Photo: Marcus Nilsson

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