Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

How to Pack a Picnic

Eating outdoors combines two of my favorite things — food and nature. Dining with a view of a lake, field, forest or mountains or the stars overhead can elevate even a simple peanut butter sandwich. However with a little planning, you can go beyond the basics with ease.

Easy Does It

Simple can be best for picnics. I opt for mostly finger foods, go the make some, buy some route and prep as much as I can at home. I’ve discovered that no one ever complains when the picnic basket contains these delicious basics:

  • Freshly baked baguette from the bakery department
  • Cheese — Wellspring® Creamery Goat Milk Brie pairs perfectly with a crisp white wine, strawberries and cherry spread
  • Sliced meats or shredded roasted chicken (our organic roasted chickens are 5-Step® Animal Welfare rated and picnic-ready!)
  • Fresh fruit — Take advantage of sweet Ataulfo mangoes while they are in season and make a fruit salad or cut one into wedges and sprinkle with chili powder
  • Cut veggies, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and black bean dip or hummus
  • Chilled drinks

Extras

Bonuses like homemade salsa with chips, popcorn, Whole Foods MarketGlutenFree Bakehouse® Cupcakes (they come in 4-packs of Chocolate or Vanilla) and

a canteen of cold-brewed coffee or a bottle of bubbly are always appreciated. If you’re planning on staying a while, bring a snack for later such as a prepared trail mix, or throw together your favorite dried fruits, nuts and seeds from our bulk section to make your own.

No time to cook? You’ll find ready-to-serve sides such as grain, green and potato salads and cole slaw in the prepared foods department at our stores. They are made fresh daily by the cooks in our kitchens, with quality ingredients that have the same standards as the groceries we sell. I’m always quick to grab the crowd-pleasing Sweet Summer Kale Salad featuring dark leafy greens with almonds, fruit and zesty citrus dressing. 

Pan Bagnat (Provençal Tuna Sandwich)

If you have a bit more time to prep, a quiche, grain salad and single-serve jars of fruit parfaits can make your picnic extra special. This spring, I’m looking forward to making Pan Bagnat (Provençal Tuna Sandwich), which is filled with crisp vegetables and tuna, then drizzled with a red wine vinaigrette that soaks into the bread for both flavor and texture. It’s perfect for picnics. Explore our recipe collection for picnics and camping for more ideas.

Money-Saving Tips

  • You can get discounted pricing on most items when you buy a full case. Ask Customer Service for details.
  • Big beverage bottles such as 365 Everyday Value® Organic Lemonade in Berry Blend or Watermelon can mean big savings over single-serving bottles.
  • Download coupons before you shop.

Packing

With enough notice, you can freeze drinks that are not in glass containers. They’ll stay cold and serve as ice packs for your food. In addition to blankets, napkins, utensils and cups, don’t forget about the cleanup. Pack a trash bag for garbage and an extra bag for recyclables. Throw  sunscreen, natural insect repellent and hand sanitizer in your bag too. I often pack a small wooden cutting board and sharp paring or pocket knife for last-minute food preparation. Plus, a soccer ball, Frisbee, kite, bubbles and sidewalk chalk will keep the adventure going.

What’s on your picnic essentials list?