Grab a picnic basket, a comfortable blanket, and gather your family to make your way through the grassy meadows to enjoy a spread of your favorite bites for lunch. Enjoy this simple guide to cultivate the perfect picnic and fill it with laughter, lifelong memories, and maybe a few bunny sightings.
The ideal location for a picnic is a scenic spot where you can enjoy the warmth of the sun without its blinding rays. Choose a location that has natural shade, and plenty of lush, grassy space for the children to run around in. Once you’ve found your ideal picnic spot, lay out a comfortable blanket that is large enough to house your food and everyone coming along. You may wish to bring a few machine-washable blankets, so that everyone sits comfortably, and you can easily wash up any food spills or grass stains.
Similarly, think ahead about a few serving items to rest your food on. This helps to prevent any ants from sneaking a bite of your delicious snacks. For example, consider a wood crate or small trunk to use as a makeshift table. Your goal is to find slightly lifted, flat items that will prevent food and/or drinks from being knocked over. Even a cutting board or the inside of your picnic basket would work great to hold opened drinks!
Easy-to-Pack Food Ideas
- Avocado-Ranch Chicken Wraps
- Pretzels and/or Popcorn
- BLT Sandwiches
- PB&J Sandwiches
- Fresh Fruit (like grapes, sliced cantaloupe, sliced watermelon, strawberries, etc.)
- Sliced Vegetables with Hummus and/or Ranch dressing
- Nuts and Dried Fruit Trail Mix
- Chewy Granola Bars
- Tossed Salad with a Homemade Lemon-Avocado Dressing (optional: store in individual jars)
- Raspberry Lemonade
- Potato Salad
- Chicken Salad Baguette Sandwiches
- Homemade Cookies
Recipes to Try
- Apricot & Turkey Wraps (servings: 4)
In a small bowl, mix together ½ cup low-fat cream cheese and ¼ cup apricot preserves. Spread about 2 Tablespoons of this creamy deliciousness on 4 whole wheat tortillas. Then, layer each with sliced deli turkey and fresh arugula or baby spinach. Roll up each tortilla tightly and wrap in parchment paper until ready to eat.
- Turkey & Mango-Slaw Pitas (servings: 4)
In a medium-sized bowl, toss together 3 cups coleslaw mix, 2 Tablespoons sliced red onion, and 2 Tablespoons golden raisins. Add in 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or low-fat mayonnaise and 3 Tablespoons mango chutney. Mix until well incorporated.
Cut 4 pitas in half. Fill each pita pocket with the coleslaw, sliced deli turkey, thinly sliced cucumber, and (optional) full-cooked turkey bacon strips. Wrap in parchment paper and/or store in sandwich bags until ready to eat.
- No-Bake Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes (servings: 6)
To make the crust, pulse 1 cup Medjool dates, 1 cup cashews or almonds, and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Add a little warm water, if needed, until the mixture forms loose balls. Press about a Tablespoon of the crust mixture into six small Mason jars.
To make the cheesecake, add 2 cups cream cheese, 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Evenly spoon the cheesecake mixture into each of the Mason jars.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then top each of the cheesecakes with chopped strawberries.
Extras to Pack
Often times, we can get caught up in the excitement of the picnic festivities and forget about the not-so-exciting extra items that are quite essential. You may want to consider bringing disposable ware for an easy clean-up. Similarly, if you plan on adventuring into the grassy meadows, plan to bring along a trash bag or two. Depending on your delicious menu, keep your food safe by packing ingredients with ice packs or inside a thermos to prevent food spoilage. Finally, paper towels and wipes come in handy when wiping down before the picnic, wiping up spills, and cleaning up afterwards.
An appealing characteristic of picnics is that you are taking the party on the road; therefore, being organized by planning to pack those extra items will help keep any headaches at bay.