This summer, we’re your official HQ for all things outdoor eating. From family picnics to backyard BBQs, bringing an eco-friendly mindset to your next gathering is easy when you stock up on our essentials from conscious brands and let the season’s bounty inspire your menu. Grab your picnic blanket and let’s get thriving outside.
Before crafting the ultimate menu, planning is paramount—here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
This popular real estate motto is also appropriate for picnics. Why? A stellar location sets the mood, and also provides extra support for your group. Bringing the kids along? Look for a park with playgrounds or built-in picnic tables. Adults only? These adventurous folks might be willing to climb stairs or walk longer distances for a spot with a view. Driving? Check on parking—is there an ample-sized lot or street parking only? Also, think outside the box and seek out a patch on the grounds of a nearby museum or college campus for a fresh perspective.
Check to see if your location of choice provides recycling bins. If not, bring a disposable bag to separate recyclable items, then take it back to your own curbside bin or drop it off at a community dump on the way home.
A reality of summer is pests are often invited to the party. Show them the door with the best nontoxic sprays and other formulas to keep them at bay. Here are some of the best bug sprays our members love:
If you stick to your own backyard, try citronella candles or an incense stick. Along with personal sprays, be sure to keep any food containers closed when not in use, and avoid setting up shop directly next to standing water, like the shore of a lake or pond.
In addition to the suggestions above (and our tasty food ideas below), here’s a handy list of picnic supplies you’ll want to bring along.
Stock your pantry with disposable dinnerware so you’re picnic-ready whenever the mood strikes.
This variety pack of utensils is made from plants, not petroleum. Each knife, spoon, and fork is high-heat tolerant (up to 200°F) and compostable.
Durable plates are a must when eating outdoors. These plates (a 20-pack) are compostable, cut-proof, and BPA-free.
Cleaning up a mess is easy with our innovative garbage bags made using post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic and plastic scraps left over from manufacturing. Designed with a convenient drawstring closure, each bag is BPA-free and fragrance-free.
Transfer your fresh dishes in reusable containers like this one from U Konserve. The 50-ounce size is great for fruit salads, dips, and other creations.
Prep for less waste at the park by transferring snacks into reusable bags before you head out the door. This large option from Stasher holds up to 1 gallon.
For meal planning, take a page from Ina Garten’s book. The popular Food Network star has often remarked how she makes one or two things and buys the rest. With a simpler mindset, you can focus your efforts on making key dishes to share while stocking up on snacks to pass around the lawn.
Not only does this Greek olive mix give you a variety of pesticide-free Kalamata and green olives, they’ve been marinated in aromatic wild herbs, red wine vinegar, water, citric acid, and sea salt. Just open and serve!
Slice up P. Balistreri’s artisanal pork salami for an effortless charcuterie platter. Each bite is seasoned with garlic, sea salt, and white wine.
Don’t forget a bag of crunchy potato chips. This member-favorite is made in small batches with organic spuds and keeps things simple with a touch of sea salt. You can also spice up the menu with the jalapeño flavor.
This snack pack is perfect for smaller guests. Each box contains 12 bags to give everyone their own portion of cheesy goodness.
In addition to olives and salami, add a bag of organic California dates to your snack tray for the ultimate no-cook appetizer.
For a special sip, pack a cooler with Revive’s kombucha sampler pack featuring helpful probiotics alongside refreshing flavor combos like cherry hibiscus and mango orange.
For easy, healthy, and travel-ready fare, stick to our list of picnic-ready dishes.
Pasta salad is classic picnic food for a reason—it’s make-ahead perfection. This version will wake up your taste buds with bright flavors like lemon zest, grilled zucchini, and tangy goat cheese.
Nothing screams summer like a tricked out dip. Bonus: it’s gluten- and dairy-free. Instead of sour cream, this lighter recipe features creamy avocado along with cilantro and garlic powder.
This Southern staple is usually made with grated cheddar, mayo, and pimento peppers, but our vegan version uses plant-based ingredients like soaked cashews and nutritional yeast for a bold flavor everyone can enjoy.
For the best flavor, grill the shrimp in advance and toss this hearty salad on-site so none of the greens wilt before you dig in.
Ditch the extra carbs and load up on zucchini and white beans tossed with plenty of fresh herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Soup in the summer? Only if it’s chilled. This recipe uses peak in-season ingredients like tomatoes, cucumber, and spicy jalapeño.
It doesn’t get much simpler than roughly chopping ripe heirloom tomatoes, tossing them in high quality olive oil, and sprinkling them with sea salt. Done and done.
If someone’s bringing a cooler, make this adults-only cocktail recipe that’s extra fun to eat and makes good use of your favorite pink wine.
For a sweet ending, look no further than paleo-friendly brownies made with nutty tahini, almond flour, and honey for sweetness.
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