10 Lo-Cal and No-Cal Memorial Day Picnic Ideas

10 Lo-Cal and No-Cal Memorial Day Picnic Ideas

Memorial Day is a time to get together with family and friends, remember those who were dear to us, and celebrate the long weekend. Picnic baskets are dusted off and grills get fired-up. It’s the first food-oriented holiday of the year. But it doesn’t have to be a diet-wrecker. Here are 10 ideas to create and participate in the festivities with little or NO calories involved!

1. Start out with a refreshing fruit skewer.

10 Lo-cal and no-cal Memorial Day Picnic Ideas


2. Protect the food from birds and elements in a whimsical way.

Picnic canopy


3. Add a feast for the eyes with non-edible table decorations. (These were found on indulgy.com)

Memorial Day Picnic

4. A side dish doesn’t have to be loaded with mayonnaise! Check out these individual caprese salads kabobs! Simply skewer little mozzarella balls that have been marinated in Italian dressing with basil leaves and grape tomatoes.Memorial Day Picnic

5. A crowd-pleasing punch. Fruit juice with some added ginger-ale keep this pretty punch at about 100 calories per serving. Substitute lo-cal cranberry juice for the regular and you’ll get the count down further without sacrificing taste. Click here for the recipe.

Memorial Day picnic punch

6. Side salad or dessert? Here’s a two-fer with sweetly dressed grapes and candied walnuts from Eatingwell.com. (Click picture for recipe)

Grape and candied walnut salad

7. What’s a picnic without cupcakes? When looking for a lo-cal cupcake idea I came across the claim that mixing a can of diet soda with any cake mix made for good cake. I checked it out and saw numerous sources making the same claim. Apparently light diet sodas – 7-up, cream soda, etc. – mix well with white and yellow cake mixes. Dark diet sodas – colas, root beer, etc – mix well with chocolate. It doesn’t have to be diet soda, but obviously the calorie count goes up with regular. One combo highly touted was diet cream soda and orange cake mix for a creamsicle effect. Several sites also made note that a cupcake mixed this way equals one Weight Watcher Point. I assume that varies depending on the frosting choice.

Creamsicle cupcake with diet soda

8. Need something crunchy? Switch mini pretzels for chips. About 40 calories less per serving, they are fat-free and take longer to eat which (hopefully) leads to eating less of them.

mini pretzels

9. Photo Scavenger Hunt. Eating doesn’t have to be the only activity. How about setting up teams and sending them on a photo scavenger hunt? Instead of items they’re suppose to find, you send them off with disposable cameras (or if there’s enough people with phone cameras, even better) to take a list of predetermined shots. Such as: your team swinging on a swing set, your team next to a flowering bush, your team’s bare feet in a circle, etc. Scope out your picnic environment ahead of time to get your list. Click here for more expansive guidelines and suggestions. The winning team gets a prize.

Photo Scavenger Hunt


10. All hot dogs and hamburgers are not made to be eaten. Some are just there to produce a chorus of “awwwwwwww.” (From peoplepets.com)

non-edible hotdog and hamburger



    1. Thanks, Noreen! We started the ‘series’ of No-Cal/Lo-Cal with Easter last month and plan to have one each month until we run out of holidays and special occasions to navigate through! -El

  1. I’ve made the soda/cake mix cupcakes before and they turn out well. But I’m glad to learn the WW point value for them. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the diet cream soda and orange cake mix suggestion. I added frozen peaches cut into chunks, stirred into the soda and cake mix and baked. It was the hit of the dinner!!!
    Excellent post!

    1. That sounds really good, Marylin! I would have assumed added fruit might affect the texture because of the additional moisture. Can’t wait to try it!

      Glad you liked the post – our 10 Lo-Cal/No-Cal Ideas for 4th of July will be posted in a few weeks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *