Paleo Picnic Ideas for Early Fall | The Paleo Diet®
noun_Search_345985 Created with Sketch.

Try The Paleo Diet®!

Learn more. Get recipes & meal plans. See the science.

Paleo Picnic Ideas for Early Fall

By Emily Rumsey, Website Manager
September 24, 2021

As the weather gets cooler, don’t be tempted to stay indoors. Autumn is a great time to plan a picnic! Enjoy the colorful scenery and gentle breezes while snacking on fresh apples, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and sippin’ on a chai latte.

But don’t head into the park without a plan. Picnicking in the fall can be a little trickier than in the summer. Follow these easy steps to plan the perfect picnic.

Leave no trace

The Girl Scouts said it best: Always leave an area cleaner than you found it. One easy way to do this is to pack your food in reusable Tupperware and bring reusable plates, cups, and silverware. Plastic and glass containers aren’t only better for the environment, but aren’t going to blow away in the wind. Plus, metal silverware isn’t going to snap when you’re cutting through a crisp apple.

Bring layers

One of the positives of fall picnics is the cooler temperatures. You won’t be so desperate to find shade or feel sticky with sweat, but you also might get a little cold if you stay out for too long. Bring an extra sweatshirt, and if it’s especially chilly out, pack one or two extra blankets to wrap around yourself. Bonus points if they’re plaid!

Get moving

One easy way to stay warm is to be active. Toss around a football, kick a soccer ball, or just play catch—anything to keep your fingers and toes moving. Sports and games can be great for family bonding and keeping up with exercise even in the colder months. You could even start the day with a hike, and picnic at the top of a hill. Since the temperature is cool, your food isn’t likely to spoil if you eat it later.

Make it Paleo

Time outdoors can be rejuvenating. Make it even more beneficial by packing healthy Paleo foods! Apples aren’t the only seasonal produce this time of year—grapes, sliced bell peppers, celery, and carrots are fresh and easy picnic foods too.

Don’t feel limited to these simple finger-foods, though. Here are some of our favorite autumn-inspired Paleo recipes to prep ahead of time.

Pumpkin Spice Date Balls

Paleo Picnic Ideas for Early Fall image

Pumpkin Spice Balls are an energizing, satiating fall treat you won’t want to miss. They’re made with Medjool dates, which have a low glycemic load and are high in fiber. This will keep your blood sugar levels from spiking, then crashing, as they do with prepackaged sugary snacks. Plus, they’re an easy, no-bake snack to prep, and they’re perfect for hikes in the fall since they won’t melt!


  • ¾ cup finely chopped pecans, divided
  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup ground flax meal
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans


  1. Add ½ cup of chopped pecans to a blender with all the other ingredients.
  2. Blend until combined, but not completely smooth.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Use a spoon to scoop the mixture evenly, then form into balls.
  5. Roll each lightly in the remaining finely chopped pecans.

Brussels Sprouts Salad

Paleo Picnic Ideas for Early Fall image

Fresh Brussels sprouts are lightly roasted before being tossed with red onion, sweet cranberries, and a lemon Dijon vinaigrette. This fall salad can be enjoyed cold, or you could bring aluminum foil to warm it in a packet on an outdoor grill.


  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ red onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp organic natural dried cranberries
  • 2 stalks green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp dried oregano


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine sliced Brussels sprouts, avocado oil, and black pepper in a large bowl and toss until well combined.
  3. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the Brussels sprouts are tender and the edges are browned slightly.
  4. Once the Brussels sprouts are finished roasting, toss all ingredients together until well combined. Season with more black pepper, if needed.

Cider Braised Chicken

Paleo Picnic Ideas for Early Fall image

Apple cider isn’t just a classic fall drink, it also makes for a great marinade for meats and veggies. You can use any cut of chicken you want for this recipe, but we recommend wings and drumsticks—that way you don’t need a fork and knife to eat them. As with the Brussels sprouts salad, cook the chicken ahead of time and eat cold or warm on a grill once you get there.


  • 2 tsp + 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2-3 lbs chicken, skin left on
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 carrots, julienned
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 ½ c low sugar apple cider


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Rinse and pat the drumsticks dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with pepper.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the hot skillet and brown the skin for approximately 2-3 minutes a side. Remove chicken from the pan and place on a large plate.
  4. Pour remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet and add the fresh rosemary, garlic, carrots and oregano. Simmer mixture for about 2 minutes and then add the cider.
  5. Bring the cider to a boil and place chicken back in the pan.
  6. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until chicken reaches 165°F.
  7. Remove from oven and serve.

Happy picnicking!

Take The Paleo Diet onto the Trails
By Elisabeth Kwak

Even More Articles For You

Why National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month Needs the Paleo Community
One-third of US children and adolescents are either overweight or obese and during the past 30 years obesity has more than doubled among children.
By Christopher Clark
Turkey Chili with Cacao
Ground turkey simmers in savory spices and a hint of chocolate for a warm, comforting bowl of chili. Bonus: It’s easy to customize based on whatever you have in your fridge!
By Jess Case
Breast Cancer and other Cancers: Diseases of Western Civilization?
Learn more about breast cancer & other cancers in the western civilization. Visit The Paleo Diet® website for Paleo news, articles & recipes today!
By Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
Paleo Leadership
Trevor Connor
Trevor Connor

Dr. Loren Cordain’s final graduate student, Trevor Connor, M.S., brings more than a decade of nutrition and physiology expertise to spearhead the new Paleo Diet team.

Mark J Smith
Dr. Mark J. Smith

One of the original members of the Paleo movement, Mark J. Smith, Ph.D., has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the benefits of Paleo nutrition.

Nell Stephenson
Nell Stephenson

Ironman athlete, mom, author, and nutrition blogger Nell Stephenson has been an influential member of the Paleo movement for over a decade.

Loren Cordain
Dr. Loren Cordain

As a professor at Colorado State University, Dr. Loren Cordain developed The Paleo Diet® through decades of research and collaboration with fellow scientists around the world.