Most days, when you’re headed out to bask in the summer sun and seriously chill, the last thing you want to worry about is what you’re going to eat. But nothing puts a damper on your park day more than leaving your coveted spot on the grass to track down some overpriced (and often not-so-healthy) takeout.
Save yourself the trouble —and bloat—by whipping up your own healthy picnic. And if that sounds like a lot of work, it’s actually not. All of these recipes are super easy to make and can be prepped a day or two in advance.
So grab your fav lunchbox or picnic basket—and maybe some wine glasses, because what’s a picnic without frosé?—and get ready to fill it up with good-for-you lunches that are just as satisfying as they are delicious. You’ll never have to resort to that greasy food truck on a hot day again.
Keep reading for 6 easy, make-ahead lunch recipes that you can take anywhere.
Take your standard egg salad to the next level with The Roasted Root’s recipe, which holds the mayo and swaps in avocado for a perfect on-the-go lunch. Pair with toast, add it to a salad—is there anything avocado doesn’t make better?
While a soup may not be the first thing you think to make for lunch in the summer, chilled soups are actually a genius option for a day in the sun. This gazpacho from chef Jeremy Fox is a great way to keep things light and refreshing on a hot day—just pack it in a Thermos and go.
These vegan, gluten-free summer rolls from Naturally Ella pack a major flavor punch thanks to the herb-infused dressing. You can make these up to 48 hours before you need them—just wrap ’em in a damp towel and pack in an air-tight container.
Nothing says summer quite like a salad. Avoid greens fatigue by changing things up with some fresh summer veggies, like corn and tomatoes. Whip up chef Michael Symon’s recipe up the night before, and lunch is effortlessly served.
Who doesn’t love a kale Caesar? Nutrition Stripped founder McKel Hill‘s recipe takes your favorite salad order and makes it extra portable with mineral-rich nori seaweed wraps. (If you’re making this ahead of time, keep the salad separate from the wraps until you’re ready to eat them.)
This gluten-free salad from The Healthy Maven is worth checking out for the cashew-crusted chicken bites alone. Add some pineapple and Asian-inspired flavors, and you’ve got a lunch dish that’s perfect for a picnic with friends. No one will miss the baked beans or potato chips, promise.
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