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Health & Wellness

Tips for a Safe, Healthy, and Fun Family Picnic

Hannah Hoffman, PHP Wellness Coordinator, shares how you can enjoy the outdoors with your family while being precautious and healthy.

Healthy Picnic Blog
Safety First

Picnics are meant to be fun and enjoyable, but it’s also important to make sure you are taking certain precautions such as: 

  • Clean hands 
    Pack hand sanitizer and wet wipes to use before and after eating to help keep the germs away. 

  • Keep food out of the “Danger Zone”
    • Making sure the cold foods stay cold is especially important when you prepare for a healthy picnic. According to the USDA, bacteria such as salmonella, can grow between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (known as the “Danger Zone”). If you leave cold food out at room temperature longer than 2 hours, this can cause bacteria to grow – which may lead to illness.  
    • Make sure the cold foods are already cold before packing them and use an insulated picnic basket with ice packets and/or ice. This helps keep the food cold.
    • Place the picnic basket inside an air-conditioned car (not the car trunk) to help keep the food cold longer. 
  • Avoid cross contamination
    Pack clean plates and utensils and use zip-lock bags or containers with lids as often as possible. If leftover food has sat out for more than 2 hours, throw it out.  

Healthy Foods
Keep picnic foods easy, but also balanced in nutrition. Here are some go-to picnic meal ideas: 

  • Drinks
    Keep the drink easy by packing bottled water. This helps you avoid added sugar, caffeine, and filling up on empty calories. Adding freshly sliced fruit, such as strawberries or oranges to the water, can add a delicious fruit-flavor to the drink. 
  • Sides
    Use a muffin pan for serving side items or snacks. Think finger foods such as strawberries, blueberries, grapes, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, cheese cubes, nuts, pretzels, and dipping sauces (like hummus). This allows for a wide variety and is perfect for fussy eaters. 
  • Main dish
    For an easy and tasty main dish, use pita wraps and stuff with either chicken or tuna salad.
  • Dessert
    Bring along some skewers or kabob sticks and create your own fruit kabob from cut-up fresh fruit. The natural sugars from fruit is a healthy dessert alternative and will leave your taste buds satisfied. Other ideas could be to add brownie bites to the kabobs, drizzle them with chocolate, or dip in vanilla Greek yogurt. 

Keep it Fun
Picnics can be more than just food. Incorporate some type of activity to make it an even more special time together. If you’re with kids’, play duck duck goose, a game of kickball, or bring bubbles! You can also bring a board game or cards for adults to keep them entertained and happy, as well.  

PHP Members have access to a handful of healthy recipes and wellness advice. 

Login to your Member Account at and follow this path:

Wellness Tools > Get PHP Fit! > Wellness Resources