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Kick-Start ...
Published: June 8, 2024

Kick-Start Your Summer: How to Pack a Plant-Based Picnic

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For many countries in the Northern Hemisphere, the month of May signifies new beginnings and fresh starts. Spring, thanks to its warmer weather, brings a chance to embrace the great outdoors and soak up the sunshine. While countries in the Southern Hemisphere are heading into winter, very few of them are bitterly cold and snowy, since the sun still regularly makes an appearance throughout May, despite the chill in the air.

Picnics are a great way to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Outdoor picnics come with a range of evidence-based health benefits, including the opportunity for social connection, spending time with loved ones, being in nature, and absorbing some essential vitamin D – plus spending time outdoors in the sunshine has even shown to support our sleep cycle!

May offers several opportunities to gather and enjoy a picnic in nature. Mother’s Day is celebrated in a number of countries throughout the world on the first weekend of May. In the United States, Memorial Day is a time to gather and remember those lost in service, with barbecues and picnics frequently making an appearance. In the United Kingdom and many other European countries, May Day is a holiday celebrating spring, rebirth, and fertility.

Make the most of the outdoors by following these simple tips for getting more from your picnics this season.

Get Together

Picnics present an opportunity to gather with your nearest and dearest. As the world continues to recover from a time of disconnect, creating space for intentional social connection has never been more important. Whether it’s a gathering for a holiday, a birthday celebration, or simply a catch-up with friends, a picnic is a great option for bringing people together. The people you surround yourself with and the experiences you share as just as important for whole-person health as the food you eat. At IIN, we call this primary food. When our primary food requirements are met, we can live healthier, happier lives.

Eat the Rainbow

Picnics do not have to involve an elaborate spread or require an abundance of preparation. Consider creating a colorful grazing platter of healthy, fiber-rich, whole foods. Simply cut up fruits and vegetables in advance and assemble your platter on a large breadboard. When choosing foods to include, consider using seasonally available foods for your location. If you’re based in the United States, the Seasonal Food Guide is a great resource to learn about what’s in season near you.

Grazing Platter Suggestions:

  • Vegetables
    • Baby tomatoes
    • Celery/carrot/capsicum sticks
    • Olives
    • Cucumber/Qukes
    • Snow peas
  • Fruit
    • Watermelon
    • Grapes
    • Kiwi slices
    • Mango
    • Orange segments
    • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Falafel
  • Sourdough slices/flatbread
  • Natural crackers
  • Natural popcorn
  • Dips (See recipes below)

Dip It

Dips are a delicious sidekick for vegetable sticks such as carrot, celery, and capsicum. Store-bought options are often laden with hidden additives and unnecessary emulsifiers, which can wreak havoc on gut health. Fortunately, with the help of a trusty food processor, whole-food dips are super easy to whip up for your next outdoor picnic. Give the vegan and gluten-free options below a go. For each recipe, place all ingredients into a food processor and blend on high to your desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with sesame seeds, paprika, olive oil, pine nuts or chopped parsley.

Roasted Beetroot Dip


  • 6 beetroots, roasted
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 red chili, seeds removed (optional)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Dash water



  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 (15-ounce/400g) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Dash cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Roasted Red Pepper Dip


  • 3 red peppers, roasted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Slip, Slop, Slap – Protect Your Skin

Being out in the sun comes with a word of caution. Remember to wear a hat and apply sunscreen every hour if you’re in the sun for an extended period. Insects may also be about, so don’t forget to pack insect repellent or make your own natural version using essential oils such as eucalyptus, clove, peppermint, or citronella.

Go Solo

While there are numerous benefits to enjoying a picnic with loved ones, the same can also be said for spending a bit of time by yourself. Keep a rug and a cushion in the back of your car so you can stop at a park at any given moment for a few meditative moments of stillness and relaxation. Found yourself with 10 extra minutes before your next appointment? Swap out the mindless social scrolling for some time outdoors with yours truly.

Your Picnic Checklist

You certainly don’t need the most Pinterest-worthy blanket and basket to enjoy the picnic benefits. Grab a roomy tote, throw the following items inside, and you’re good to go!

  • Large chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Plates and cutlery
  • Water bottle

Finally, don’t forget to picnic responsibly: Take your rubbish with you and dispose of it appropriately. Happy picnicking!


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