Pack Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother's Guide to 14 Healthy Beach Picnic Cuisine

Written by: Karen Marsh


Looking to pack your beach bag with healthier summer treats that come with a special twist?

Elevate your next beach picnic with these creative recipes that put a fresh spin on salads, wraps, and more. These warm-weather snack ideas are delicious, nutritious, and easy to transport. Best eaten on a blanket by the beach!

Serve Them Cold: These recipes use fresh, filling ingredients that taste delicious cold. Make sure you keep them in insulated cooler beach bags with an ice pack for easy transport at a safe temperature.

1. Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Picnic Sandwich

Sun-dried tomatoes, like most Mediterranean ingredients, lend themselves well to picnics because they hold up well outdoors. This delicious summer recipe combines sun-dried tomato pesto with grilled chicken, spring mix, and red onions all sandwiched between toasted whole-grain bread.

Delicious served cold, each sandwich can be made ahead and sliced into little mini appetizers so they’re super easy to transport in your cooler beach bag as well.

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Picnic Sandwich, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
The Faux ​​Martha

2. Tuna, Tomato, Red Onion and Olive Pita

Tuna salad doesn’t have to be laden with mayo - this healthier version takes the Mediterranean route and combines tuna with olive oil, Kalamata olives, lemon juice, and parsley, all packed in a pita.

You don’t have to worry about mayo dressings that spoil easily - this one’s a healthy picnic recipe that holds up really well even when you’re traveling. Be sure to use a cooler beach bag with an ice pack to keep them at a tasty temperature.

Tuna, Tomato, Red Onion and Olive Pita, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
Woman's Day​​

3. Seedy Oat Crackers

Take your picnic munchies to the next level with these Seedy Oat Crackers that will please any crowd. A vegan alternative to traditional crackers, these are a delicious complement to dips or hummus. Break them up into pieces and add to salads for that special crunch. Guilt-free and fuss-free, it’s an irresistibly healthy snack you can pack in your beach bag and eat all day long even when you’re on the go.

Seedy Oat Crackers, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
Food Network​​

4. Garden Chickpea Salad

A fresh, light summer salad is an excellent choice for picnics. This Garden Chickpea Salad combines crunchy colorful veggies, hearty garbanzo beans and soft feta cheese for a summer dish that’s oh-so-good-for-you.

Pack your salad in a reusable container and keep your dressing separately. Stash safely in an insulated beach bag and just toss them when you're already at the beach so everything stays fresh and crisp.

Garden Chickpea Salad, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
Taste of Home​​

5. Butternut Squash Goat Cheese Hand Pies

Small but super savory, these hand pies taste delicious even when served cold and are easy to take on the road. Chopped butternut squash, goat cheese, garlic, butter, and sage all make a flavorful filling that you can enjoy without much fuss.

Butternut Squash Goat Cheese Hand Pies, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
Style Sweet​​

6. Tangy Cucumber Salad

A simple salad that gets better as the hours go by, this Tangy Cucumber Salad is another great picnic recipe idea. Pack your sliced cucumbers separately from the vinaigrette. Keep in an insulated cooler beach bag with an ice pack to make sure these are kept fresh and crunchy.

When you get to the beach, toss the cucumbers with apple cider vinegar that's been fused with chopped fresh chives, a bit of sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper for a light snack or the perfect flavorful side dish to grilled meat.

Tangy Cucumber Salad, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
Joe Lingeman via The Kitchn​​

7. Turkey, Corn & Sun-Dried Tomato Wraps

Sturdy and practical for picnics, this fresh wrap recipe makes a delicious (and convenient) travel snack. Fresh corn kernels tossed with turkey slices, tomatoes and lettuce topped with crumbled feta, plus you can add more crisp veggies like carrot sticks or sliced bell peppers for the ultimate crunchy crowd-pleaser.

Our summer-inspired cooler totes let you safely transport your food at a safe temperature so your picnic snacks keep their taste and flavor.

Turkey, Corn & Sun-Dried Tomato Wraps, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
Eating Well​​

8. Healthy Smoked Paprika Potato Chips

Potato chips are easy to bring on picnics but you can always go for crisps that are so much better for you. With their fresh potato and smoky paprika flavor, these healthy potato chips are simply irresistible - eat them as a snack or serve them next to your favorite burger or grilled steak.

Healthy Smoked Paprika Potato Chips, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
Eat This​​

9. Chicken Caesar Pitas

For some fast-fix picnic food, these chicken stuffed pockets combine brown rice, chicken breast and a variety of flavorful herbs and spices. Make sure to pack this filling separately in your cooler beach bag, then serve in whole wheat pita pocket halves when you prepare your spread at the beach. Drizzle with Caesar vinaigrette, also packed in a separate container, to amp up the flavor (it stands up well to hot weather, too).

Chicken Caesar Pitas, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
Taste of Home​​

10. Fresh Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

You might not think of spring rolls for your next picnic but these vegan rolls are actually super portable and mess-free. Served cold with fresh ingredients, loaded with crunchy veggies, and dipped in delicious peanut sauce, these rolls are perfect for warm summer days - they’re going to be a hit with everybody! 

Pack them in a roomy insulated beach bag with an ice pack so they're super accessible and ready to be enjoyed any time.

Fresh Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
Happy Kitchen​​

11. Spiced Pistachios

Pistachios are excellent for picnic snacks - they’re packed with nutrients, keep you full, and are stable even in hot weather. A fun way to serve up these crunchy, creamy nuts, this spiced recipe offers a flavorful upgrade. A nice kick from the chipotle and a hint of cinnamon in your pistachios will keep you snacking away.

11. Spiced Pistachios, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
Aggie's Kitchen​​

12. Kiwi Lemonade Spritzer

No picnic would be complete without thirst-quenching drinks to beat the heat. Just in time for sweet summertime, this Kiwi Lemonade Spritzer will instantly take your picnic to perfection. With just the right amount of sweetness, it’s a mouth-watering drink you can easily pack in a cooler tote.

Kiwi Lemonade Spritzer, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother​​

13. Fresh Fruit Salsa With Cinnamon Chips

Light and refreshing, this fruit salsa won’t easily spoil in warm weather. Easy to prepare and can be made last minute, this sweet picnic dessert combines berries, kiwis, and apples, and served with cinnamon tortilla crisps - all guaranteed to please a crowd. Pack the salsa separately from the chips so they all stay fresh and crisp.

Fresh Fruit Salsa With Cinnamon Chips, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother
All Recipes​​

14. Cherry Chocolate Granola Bars

For a delicious dessert that doesn’t require refrigeration, these homemade granola bars are a nutritious go-to snack for picnics or even on any road trip - so enjoyable to munch on while letting you stay on track with your health goals. You can easily make these granola bars at home and keep them in an insulated beach bag to take on the road.

Cherry Chocolate Granola Bars, Packing Your Beach Bag: Coastal Grandmother

Loving these healthy snacks with a special twist? We do, too and we love that they can be stored easily in our large cooler beach bags (don't forget to add the ice pack!) that are just perfect for a day out at the beach.

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