Spring is in full swing and we’re dusting off our picnic baskets. Here’s a collection of some of our favorite mix and match, make-ahead, portable foods. They travel well, are easy to eat and taste especially good at the beach, under a shady tree, or on your favorite patch of grass. Plan a whole menu or just add a little something new to your family’s tride and true picnic favorites.
- Apple Mint Picnic Punch or Really Refreshing Lime Soda — bring your drink “base” (a large mason jar is sturdy and spill proof) and mix with fizzy or plain water when ready to serve.
- Danish Smorrebrod or Cheese Plate — two fun alternatives to the basic sandwich. Let the kids help shop and assemble their favorite ingredients. Or maybe your kids would like to try Ria’s Secret Recipe Lunch Wrap…
- Flaky, Tomato & Gruyere Tart or Parmesan-Tomato Puff Pastry Sticks or Anything Puffs
- Fake-bake Tandoori Chicken or Ian Knauer’s Sticky Balsamic-Glazed Drumettes or Soy Dijon Wings — chicken always fits in at a picnic, but don’t forget extra napkins!
- Dad’s Italian Frittata, Jamie Oliver’s Mini Egg Cupcakes or Tortilla Espanola
- Penne with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese
- Pack up some fixins and let everyone make their own Vietnamese Noodle or Sesame Avocado Brown Rice bowls.
Sweet and Savory Muffins
- Edamame with Coconut, Cumin and Chilli or Charred Green Garbanzos (you can use this technique for edamame too)
- Simplest Snap Peas
- Fruit Skewers for Little Hands
- White Chocolate Pink Popcorn
- For chocolate lovers: Laure’s Chocolate and Sea Salt Sables, Leslie’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Oatmeal and Cranberry Cookies or Devil’s Food Drop Cookies
Tips for Expert Picnicking:
- Make a checklist. There’s a lot to bring, so a list will help you get organized. Don’t worry if you forget something—as long as it’s not the food!
- Make finger food. The fewer utensils you need, the better. Lay out containers of food on your picnic blanket and call it a “garden buffet” so children can pick and choose what they like. Kids love to just pick up and eat their food.
- Let the Kids Help. Inviting little ones to help prepare and pack the picnic adds to the fun and will encourage even the pickiest of eaters to dig in when it’s lunchtime. Letting children carry their own food in a backpack offers a lesson in self-sufficiency and independence.
- Buy food. If you don’t want to wake up and cook before you head out, stop at your favorite deli or supermarket, and pick up your picnic. Purchase prepared sandwiches or wraps, some fruit, cereal bars, nuts and water, and you’re set.
- Bring plenty of cleanup supplies. You always need more of these than you think you will need. Bring a whole roll of paper towels or several dishcloths and some trusty wet wipes. Also, bring hand sanitizer if you are going to be somewhere you cannot wash hands. And don’t forget extra bags to collect your trash.
- Bring safety items. Make sure you have a first-aid kit in the car or in your basket/backpack. Scrapes and cuts are inevitable, and it is best to be ready for them. Sunscreen is also essential, as are hats and bug repellant.
- Bring games or toys. You can spend your time exploring nature, or bring some toys and games along. A travel-size board game or deck of cards will be easy to carry. Or bring a bat and a ball or football for some more active fun.
- Select an enclosedspace. To reduce your stress level, find a park or area that is enclosed. That way you won’t have to spend your time chasing wandering children.
More great picnic links:
- Packing for the perfect picnic, from Well Kiddos.