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Packing a Diabetes-Friendly Picnic

Spring is many people's favorite season, but it can be challenging for those living with type 2 diabetes because of all of the foods associated with this season. There are picnics, outdoor celebrations, and other get-togethers. Many classic dishes go along with these get-togethers, and unfortunately, not all of them are great for a diabetes-friendly diet.

When packing food to go for a picnic, it's easy to grab a lot of packaged foods or whatever convenient food might be in the refrigerator. Luckily, there is also an abundance of healthy food that is delicious and easy, perfect for a picnic.

What to bring to a diabetes-friendly picnic

If you go to the grocery store to pick up fast foods for a picnic, heading straight to the fresh produce section is a good idea. This section will host pre-cut vegetables, fruit, and dip, that are convenient and ready to eat.

  • Fresh fruit: Look for in-season fruit. Bring along whole fruits or pre-cut fruit.
  • Fresh veggies: Some good options to bring are mini bell peppers, carrots, radishes, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
  • Dips: Hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki, nut-based dips, salsa, or guacamole are good options.
  • Whole-grain crackers and bread: It's nice to have another option to use for dips. Choose whole grain or seedy crackers and whole-grain bread.
  • Other dishes: Salads, grain dishes, roasted veggies, wraps, and sandwiches are all picnic-friendly.

What to avoid when packing a picnic

Many of the foods to limit or avoid are classic comfort foods. As comforting and delicious as these foods might be, they may not be the best choice for a diabetes-friendly eating plan.

Alcohol is considered an empty calorie since it does not contain nutritional value. It can be high in carbohydrates and affect your decision-making when eating food. Many packaged iced teas can have tons of sugar as well. Other popular items like traditional bbq sauces, white bread, and cookies have lots of sugar and have little nutritional value.

Make and pack your own meals

In addition to the healthy grab-and-go foods found at a grocery store, making simple dishes at home and packing them to-go is another excellent option! This gives you the freedom to make traditional dishes more diabetes-friendly with modifications.

If you are meeting up with others for a picnic and don't control what food will be served, it's a good idea to bring a dish you can definitely eat. You load up on your healthy, diabetes-friendly dish, and then if the food that other people bring is not diabetes-friendly, you can have a small amount of it or avoid it if necessary.

Here are some recipes that would be great picnic foods:

Side dishes

Main dishes

Diabetes-friendly desserts

  • Apple slices topped with nut butter and cacao nibs
  • Powerhouse protein blueberry muffins
  • Oven baked peaches with cinnamon
  • Oatmeal chocolate walnut cookies

Enjoying a picnic is possible

Many foods served at spring get-togethers have the potential to spike your blood sugar and may not be a good fit for your diet. However, with some self-control and moderation, it is possible to enjoy a limited amount of these foods.

Load up on the convenient, healthier foods found in the produce section of your grocery store, and then pick out a dish or two to make on your own. Bringing your own dish will ensure that you have something diabetes-friendly to enjoy during your picnic!

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