I love summer picnics: They’re a great way to spend time with family and friends while enjoying the outdoors. July is National Picnic Month, which means there’s no better time to plan a delicious picnic with fun, healthy foods. Start by choosing a scenic spot for your meal. Local parks and beaches are ideal choices, but if children will be joining you, you might want to opt for a location near a playground. Once you’ve found a nice setting, it’s time to plan the other parts of your picnic.
Share a feast of your favorite dishes with guests at your picnic. I recommend choosing foods that don’t need to be served hot. Instead, opt for simple options like sandwiches, salads, wraps, fresh or dried fruit, cheese, and crackers. Regular bread may get squashed in your picnic basket or cooler, so to avoid such mishaps, choose hardy bread such as a baguette, or skip traditional bread and use mini bagels. It’s a good idea to choose healthy alternatives for common picnic foods when you can, such as nuts over potato chips. And don’t forget to pack an insulated bottle of cold lemonade or punch to wash it all down with.
Your picnic should be a time of fun and relaxation, so you should take care of all of the prep work at home so you can thoroughly enjoy yourself once you’re at your picnic location. Cut up all fruits and veggies at home and store them in an air-tight container. If you prefer to cut your items fresh on-site, bring along a small wooden cutting board and a sharp paring knife for last-minute food prep.
Most picnickers grab paper plates and cups to make cleanup a cinch. However, anyone who has ever picnicked knows that lightweight paper can easily blow away with one strong breeze, taking your meal with it. Forgo the disposable tableware in lieu of sturdier plates, cups, and cutlery and you’ll have an easier time enjoying the treats you’ve packed.
Smart packing is key to keep your meal tasty and intact. Choose water-tight containers to store the edibles inside of your cooler to prevent water from melted ice from entering. If possible, store the food and ice in a cooler with a spigot so you can drain water out as needed. Insulated tote bags also work well for transporting picnic foods. Also, don’t forget to pack a plastic bag for food waste and one for bringing home dirty dishes at the end of your picnic.
Plan games or activities to keep children entertained throughout the picnic. In addition to games like Frisbee, volleyball, and hide-and-seek, try active activities like dance-offs, relay races, hooping, and ring toss. Younger picnic guests can have fun with bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and sand toys. Adults can also get in on the fun: If you’re hosting an adults-only picnic, try activities like touch football, a beer tasting, lawn games, or a watermelon-eating contest.
Knowing a few picnic hacks can help ensure that everything goes smoothly. For instance, if you line your picnic blanket with a shower curtain, it’ll prevent moisture in the ground from soaking through. Use tea towels as place mats and in your cooler to keep food containers from shifting around too much. To keep ants from stealing your picnic treats, sprinkle talcum powder in a circle around your blanket. And if you want to skip the messy ice in your cooler, freeze water balloons to keep your drinks cold. Once they thaw, the kids can use them for a water balloon toss!