Food Safety in the Outdoors

activity_14It’s that time of year when people want to enjoy the outdoors. If you are planning a day of hiking or just an outdoor picnic, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Easy Foods to Pack

  • Peanut butter
  • Juice boxes, bottled water and shelf stable milk drinks
  • Canned meats
  • Whole fruits
  • Crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Trail mix

Plan Ahead

  • Keeping refrigerated food cold is important especially if you are hiking and will not be carrying a cooler with you. Refrigerated foods should stay below 40 degrees F. There is a 2-hour rule for keeping food at the correct temperature. If your hike will take more than 2 hours, think about freezing some of the food like sandwiches or juice boxes overnight, and pack them in your backpack. They will help keep other perishable foods cold.
  • If you have perishable food that is leftover and no way to keep it cold, throw it out. Don’t litter on the path, but carry it to the nearest waste receptacle to dispose of it.

Try this recipe from USDA, Mixing Bowl (USDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and Food and Drug Administration, DHHS, The Power of Choice) to take along on your hike.

Peanut Butter ‘n Fruit-wich


  • 1 slice whole wheat bread
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 apple or banana (thinly sliced)
  • 2 Tablespoons carrot (sliced or grated, optional)


  1. Spread 2 Tablespoons peanut butter on bread.
  2. Place fruit slices on top.
  3. Optional: Top with grated carrot.

Note: Instead of whole wheat bread try crunchy graham crackers or roll up the filling in a soft tortilla. Instead of fresh fruit another option would be to use canned, drained pineapple.

Author: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,
Reviewer: Treva Williams, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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