Summer Picnic: Hold the Bread and Cheese, Please!

Summer Picnic: Hold the Bread and Cheese, Please!

Written by: Audrey Hoffman

From festivals, fairs, outdoor concerts, theater in the parks, to just plain old hanging out in the backyard, hoping to catch a great sunset and maybe a few fireflies, too… summertime in Kansas City offers us an abundance of opportunities to get out and enjoy a great picnic.

Before cutting gluten and dairy out of my diet, picnic fare was a no-brainer; a loaf of crusty bread, a few varieties of cheese, a little fruit, and a great bottle of wine easily satisfied my desires for savory, sweet and substantial.

After learning that some of my favorite picnic staples were no longer options for me, coming up with portable foods that were hearty but still convenient became a little more difficult. Keeping my protein and blood sugar levels in check is an absolute must for me – especially when heat and wine are involved! Finding balance and variety can be easy, and quite tasty, too. Here are a few suggestions if you’re planning on packing your own basket soon.

Picnics are the perfect time for grazing. I like to pack lots of options to keep everyone feeling satiated. Assorted veggies with hummus, a few of your favorite gluten-free crackers, a medley of olives and some rolled pepperoni and salami slices will satisfy all of those salty cravings.

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If you’re missing having a sandwich option in the mix, throw a few sliced cucumbers, bell peppers and red onions onto a lettuce wrap, and top it with a sophisticated spread, which can quickly be whipped up by mixing a couple tablespoons of your favorite vegan mayo with a splash or two of balsamic vinegar, a few cracks of black pepper, and a dash of paprika. And don’t forget to pack a few of the beautiful heirloom tomatoes that are beginning to pop up at the farmer's markets!

Rounding out the sweet side with an array of fresh fruits is easy with all the summer berries currently in season. And, I’m a huge fan of chocolate, but since 90 plus degree temps and chocolate don’t pair well, dried dates give me that little sugar rush I need as the day goes by.

Whatever your summer plans, I hope you’re able to get out and enjoy at least one picnic without stressing about what to pack. As for me and mine, we plan to keep our quilt and basket handy. Happy picnicking, Kansas City!

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