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Build a Smorgasbord

If you don’t have much time for meal prep, try the smorgasbord approach. These sturdy foods hold up well in summer heat.

  • Roasted vegetables: They’re great at room temperature and wonderful sprinkled over a salad or used as a taco filling.
  • Smoked or cured meats and fish: Salami, ham, smoked fish, and sausages are safe, easy outdoor food options. When possible, select wild or grassfed meats without added MSG, artificial flavorings, colors, or preservatives.
  • Hard cheeses: Parmesan, manchego, aged cheddar, Gouda, and wax-wrapped cheeses travel better and won’t get as melty in warm weather as softer cheeses.
  • Crackers: Look for sturdy crackers, crisps, and flatbreads made from whole grains, rice, and seeds (remember to include some gluten-free options). Choose varieties that will hold up under transport and humidity, and that are less likely to break under load.
  • Olives and pickles: Marinated vegetables travel well and don’t require refrigeration to hold their texture.
  • Hearty greens: Kale, collard greens, spinach, and arugula are great for outdoor salads because they don’t wilt as quickly as delicate lettuces.
  • Nuts and dried fruits: A satisfying alternative to sugary, gooey desserts, these go nicely with dark chocolate.

Food photography by Terry Brennan; Food styling by Betsy Nelson

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