Focus on Nutrition

7 Ways to do Outdoor Meals Right

picnic basket

By Jeanette Hurt

Warm breezes, sunshine and balmy weather beckon. Summertime is a great time to head outdoors to eat. While many people like to show off their grilling skills this time of year, if you’re not a grill master, don’t let outdoor dining intimidate you. You don’t even have to grill to enjoy a meal outside. You can find plenty of ways to dine alfresco without the fuss. In fact, that’s the point—and part of the joy—of picnics: keeping meals simple and fun. So kick off your shoes, feel the grass under your feet and follow these seven tips to a laid-back and fabulous meal:

  1. Stick to the basics. You don’t need a fancy setup. Using cheap plastic side tables or an old blanket on the grass work great.
  2. Plan ahead. If you are going to set up at the beach or a park or somewhere else, make a list of what you’ll need to bring.
  3. Think fresh, seasonal and fun. Head to your local farmers' market and find inspiration. Keep in mind most fruits and vegetables can be grilled.
  4. Do veggies without fuss. To save time, instead of doing veggies on skewers, invest in a grill basket or pan.
  5. Dig into a salad. They’re not just side dishes. Make giant salads filled with lots of veggies and add a protein for the main course.
  6. Keep it safe and light. Don’t let cooked foods or foods with mayo sit out in warm weather for long periods. Use ice packs and coolers.
  7. Think outside the basket. It doesn’t have to be an “outdoor” dish for you to eat it outdoors.