When the weather is nice for a picnic it can be stressful if you are trying to lose weight and want healthy picnic food ideas. Al-fresco dining is becoming synonymous with the great British get-togethers of late.

Family on slimming world friendly picnic near the lake

Just Average Jen is an independent blog and in no way connected with any weight loss plan and no contributors have been trained by them or worked for them. It is the reader’s responsibility to check Slimming World syn values, WW points and any other allowances themselves as those given are approximate.

It isn’t quite as simple as grabbing a blanket and a few sandwiches if you really want to plan the perfect picnic. Here are a few things you ought to consider.

Plan ahead

Think back to picnics. I bet you’ll have a few that were amazing and some that were terrible. What’s the common denominator with the terrible ones?

Probably a lack of planning. Ambling around, trying to decide where the best spot to sit and eat could be one of the most infuriating wastes of time for me.

Grounds of Newstead abbey perfect for a picnic

If you are meeting friends in an area that you’re unfamiliar with, reach out to others who know it well and ask for suggestions. somewhere I love is Newstead Abbey, if you are within a reasonable distance of Nottinghamshire you should definitely consider it.

While you might have had the date in your diary for several months, be sure to check the weather forecast beforehand. Rain showers can make everyone feel miserable. No one wants to eat soggy sandwiches while water runs down your forehead, making your make-up run everywhere.

Picnic Accessories

A good blanket for your healthy picnic

Ok, so a picnic blanket is a must-have for any half-decent picnic. Even if you don’t want to sit on it, it can act as the perfect tablecloth on which you can place your yummy Slimming World-friendly feast.

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing worse than unfurling that blanket that you hastily shoved in the airing cupboard after its last outing to find crumbs tumbling out. That’s why you really should invest in a washable blanket.

After everyone has eaten, simply shake off the leftovers and then you can shove them in the machine when you return home. I love the blankets that roll up, fasten with Velcro and have a handle for easy carrying, too. And don’t forget the water-resistant backing. Living in Blighty, we are used to the weather changing at the drop of a hat, so preventing damp bottoms is essential.

Choosing a chair for your picnic

Even as a child, I remember struggling to sit cross-legged throughout an entire assembly at school (Thursday ones were the worst!), so I honestly cannot even comprehend how people can sit on picnic blankets for hours on end, smiling as though they haven’t a care in the world.

Comfort is so important to me, so while I might sprawl out for a little while on the ground, a chair is where I am more likely to be found. I love the ones that come with a cup holder in the arm; they’re also lightweight and foldable, so easy to carry (along with my hamper of goodies).

In the current climate, many more people consider the environment while planning holidays, property improvements, and even picnics. The throwaway society we once lived in is evolving and for the better! Gone are the days when plastic cutlery was a must-have item. Nowadays, there are far better, eco-friendly options.

Activity levels

Getting out and about into the fresh air, while being a superb opportunity to catch up with friends, also provides so many options when it comes to increasing your activity levels. If the location is close to your home, aim to walk there rather than relying on your car or taking public transport.

Likewise, take a ball or frisbee along with you and aim to have a bit of active fun prior to scoffing your face with healthy treats. My favourite activity was called Scatch, do you remember it? The one with velcro pads to catch a tennis ball on. The natural feel-good hormones, endorphins, that your body produces when undertaking exercise are so powerful and will last well beyond your picnic fun.

Whatever you take to keep the little ones busy be sure to make it light as you are the one who is bound to end up carrying it around!

Food ideas

Finally, here are some Slimming World Picnic ideas – these are all you need to help you keep on track whilst having fun as a family. Do also check out my recipes for the slow cooker to be ready when you get home! don’t forget to take plenty of drinks, perhaps even low-calorie wine?

glasses clinked with picnic

Healthy Picnic foods to buy

Here are some ideas of items that are quick and easy to pick up in the shops to make your healthy picnic perfect.

Quorn cocktail sausages – low calorie and 0.5 syns each (approx) and a great little picnic snack. Check this post for all the best sausages and both meat and vegetarian to keep you on plan!

A pile of sausages on sticks

Jumbo Snack a Jacks – low-calorie, low fat and at 2-2.5 syns each (approx) on Slimming World these make a nice snack for all the family. They are lightweight to carry too which is a bonus.

Carrot batons are perfect with dips like hummus but if you buy hummus it is usually high in calories, points or syns so why not make your own hummus.

Picnic and jars of dips

Alpen light bars – low calorie at around 79 kcals each and on Slimming World they are 3 syns each (approx) but so much better than many other snack options and you can even have them as your Healthy Extra B choice!

Fruit – don’t overlook how easy it is to pick up a bag of apples for all the family. Or a vegetable like a carrot or celery sticks.

selection of colourful vegetables
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Healthy Picnic foods to make yourself

Making items to take on your picnic can also help to keep you on the plan. They don’t have to be difficult and some can be done really quickly. Here are some ideas with links to their recipes too.

Pasta Salad

With a pasta salad, you can really just put in whatever you like. My favourite quick recipe is cooked pasta, pickled cabbage in its juice, cubed cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, diced peppers and diced red onion.

Have you tried a fruit pasta salad? It is amazing and you could make it with frozen fruit knowing it will defrost by the time you eat!

plum and quinoa salad

Plum, sweet potato and quinoa salad

This is a recipe that definitely needs a fork but is tasty, low calorie and also low syn on Slimming World so very worth it! Check out my roasted plum, sweet potato and quinoa salad recipe and see if it is perfect for your picnic.

Greek salad

Greek Salad

Have you considered a Greek salad rather than simple salad leaves? Check out my Greek salad recipe and see if it suits you. It is good on calories too so great for healthy picnic foods.

A bowl of food, with Salad and Carrot

Mexican salad

For a spicy salad why not try the Mexican salad recipe and see if it would make a good healthy picnic food?

Sticky chicken salad

Sticky Chicken salad

Definitely a popular way to add chicken to a salad this is a sticky, tasty chicken marinade you should definitely consider! It makes a great healthy picnic food and makes the salad more interesting.

A bowl of food on a table, with Picnic and Salad

DIY Salads

There are so many ingredients you can use in a salad you may not have even thought of. Make your salad a bit different by trying something new. Here are some suggestions for you aside from the usual lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and onions.

  • Babycorn
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Beetroot
  • Apple
  • Persimmon
  • Eggs
  • Grapes
hard boiled eggs

Sandwiches or wraps

Making everyone individual sandwiches or wraps means you can make yours healthy. You could make it using large leaves of lettuce instead of bread if you want to reduce carbs.

On Slimming world using your healthy extra b choice as bread could mean you have the same or similar to your family here, just think about your fillings. Cooked chicken or Quorn makes a good filling with some salad. Have you tried this mushroom pate? What about coleslaw?

What about making falafel wraps with houmous? Recipe for the perfect healthy houmous and tips of wraps to use here.

These halloumi and vegetable flatbreads look amazing and would be lovely for a picnic.

sweetcorn quiche or fritter with salad, salsa and chips

Quiche

Have you seen how full of fat shop-bought quiches can be? You can easily make your own crustless quiche or breakfast quiche without pastry much more healthily. I love rosemary and red onion mini quiches. You can make whatever flavour you fancy.

I recommend 6 eggs, 250g of fat-free cottage cheese or quark, salt and pepper as your base ingredients. Then just add whatever you fancy to that, mix well and put into silicone bun cases. Cook for 20 minutes 200°c or similar until firm.

Top tip – avoid mushrooms, tomatoes and other foods with high water content as they stop the quiches setting easily.

This Sweetcorn fritter recipe (pictured above) is great for picnics and very like a quiche.

If you prefer some kind of crust to your quiche then alternatives to pastry are tortilla boats as in this quiche recipe, ham, or cauliflower which can be grated and mixed with an egg then pressed into a flan dish and baked without filling until firm and crispy. Adding the filling then and baking again makes it perfect.

sliced curry loaf on a wooden board

Other healthy picnic foods and recipes

Here is a selection of other recipes which would be perfect for a family picnic. They are all low in calories and healthy so would keep you on plan!

Curry loaf (pictured above).

Carrot cake.

Caribbean Rice.

Falafel

Wholesome vegetable couscous.

Nigerian Jollof Rice

Mango couscous

Eggs in ham

What would you recommend for a picnic? Whatever you take don’t forget drinks and a picnic blanket!

Have you considered making a healthy afternoon tea? It is super easy and fun!

Etsy for weight loss

If you are like me and like buying fun new items to motivate your weight loss, then here are my favourites. Etsy is great for kitchen and weight loss goodies. I could spend hours browsing there.

There are so many great food diaries too so you can record your meal plans and track your weight loss to keep a record of the good and bad weeks. Click the photos to have a look for yourself.

weight loss sign
a bottle of milk
A weight loss sign
teaspoon saying calories don\'t count on this spoon
Weight loss magnet
A close up of a bouquet of skinny whip bars

More you may enjoy

Do you fancy looking at the other dessert ideas I share? Check out my desserts article with lots of yummy dessert recipes.

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19 Comments

  1. It must be very nice to have family picnic I guess. Those are lovely food ideas to try. I can imagine how fun it is to prepare food and eat it somewhere at a park or river side with friends and family.

  2. Fruit Pasta Salad is something new for me. I will definitely going to try this for sure. Thanks for the idea

  3. Healthy eating and fun outside the sun are the two best things in life right now. I love the ideas and the salad looks bomb! 🙂

  4. I like the list of low carbs meal you have. I am pregnant and this is a great meal for me to have. Salad is one of my favorite by the way!

  5. This was such a variety of options and not your typical picnic fare! I had never heard of a fruit pasta salad!

  6. Just last weekend I was speaking with my daughter about picnics. She dislikes them because she did so many with her friends and they were very stressful. These suggestions are great for helping people decide what they can pack to eat.

  7. Oh these are all great tips! I can’t remember the last time I went on a picnic. Now I kind of want to go on one.

  8. Pasta salad sounds like a nice idea and will be useful not only for picnics but for daily office use too. Thanks for such great tips.

  9. I love going on a summer picnic! One of my favorite things to pack is a good pasta salad! I will have to bring along a few of your recommendations next time though.

  10. These are some great ideas. That pasta salad looks really good. It’s been ages since we’ve had a picnic.