this cooler at REI and it is perfect for two-three people, holds a ton of stuff in an organized manner and is very comfortable to carry. I keep a little cutting board and knife, salt and pepper, and silverware in the side pocket ready to go for spontaneous picnics. Best cooler I've ever had--if you need one, seriously check this one out, it happens to be on sale at the moment.
Tabbouleh and Hummus: I make my Tabbouleh with quinoa and it is out of this world and more nutritious than the traditional bulgar wheat. Using quinoa also makes it gluten free. I just make a batch of quinoa which couldn't be easier, then I let it cool and add a ton of chopped parsley, mint, lemon juice, a little olive oil, chopped cucumber and a little chopped tomato. This is so refreshing on a hot day and quinoa is one of the cleaner burning (non) grains. Hummus is easy and if you don't have time to make it yourself it's cheap to pick up a little container. Some kalamata olives and carrot sticks and some sort of rice crackers and you have a lovely portable Mediterranean feast.
Pasta Salad: Trader Joes' organic rice pasta which is wonderful cold in a salad. I like mine with chopped veggies (it's a great way to use up your produce before it goes bad) such as broccoli, carrots, peas, and tomatoes and fresh basil. I use a little balsamic and olive oil and top with chopped kalamata olive (which I think belongs in everything). It's fast and easy to transport.
Peanut Noodles: Cook pasta of your choice (long rice noodles work nice for this and Trader Joes also makes a yummy organic version of these) or you can use kelp noodles and/or zucchini noodles. Cool and toss in peanut butter, sesame oil, chili oil, chopped scallions, cucumber, cilantro, shredded cabbage and any other veggie you like, sea salt (I like Real Salt), shoyu sauce, ginger, a few drops agave nectar or stevia. You can also add finely sliced lime leaf and lemon grass if you have it. If peanuts are a problem for you, almond butter works great too, I love the raw version of this using the kelp and zucchini noodles
If you don't have time for food prep, don't let that stop you! Pop into Trader Joes or your healthiest store and grab some stuff from the deli, produce, and fridge section. I know this can be hard for those with limited options and then you have to go back to making your own, but if you are lucky enough to live near a co-op or market with organic whole foods, then you're good. We are used to spontaneous picnics because the weather changes so fast here. We like to seize the opportunity to eat outside and dash to the park for a picnic whenever we can. Food tastes so much better that way.
Image Credit 1: cyclonebill