Picnics with Panache


Whether it’s in the backyard, on the beach or at a local park, picnics are a great way to spice up lunch with friends or family. Also, nothing beats a picnic lunch after a nice long walk—did you see our last post on the benefits of hiking?

So, grab your basket and blanket and head outside in the coming weeks—but first, let’s chat and chew about some tips for your perfect picnic!  

Choosing the right location

When it comes to picking the perfect spot for your picnic, the most important thing to remember is that you have to carry everything from the car to your chosen location. Make sure it’s within reasonable walking distance and near a tree just in case shade is needed later in the day.

What to pack

While you should always pack according to your needs, forgetting something can put a dent in your picnic plans—the easiest solution is to make a CHECKLIST! The following items are simple suggestions to help ensure that you are properly prepared for your outing:

  • Blankets / towels
  • Forks, knives, spoons, plates, cups, bowls, etc.
  • Tablecloth, napkins, paper towels & wipes
  • Serving utensils & dishes / sharp knives (menu pending…)
  • Cutting board (also serves as a tray)
  • Salt & pepper / condiments (i.e ketchup, mustard, etc.)
  • Bottle opener & corkscrew
  • Plastic containers or freezer bags (leftovers)
  • Trash bags
  • Ice / cooler
  • Beverages (especially H2O)
  • And last but not least, your food…

While your list is probably running out of room—or your car for that matter—a few more things to consider bringing include: sunscreen, bug spray, a bathing suit, a light jacket or sweater (for sunset picnics or ones by the water), a hat, books or magazines, deck of cards, and a camera.  While you can instantly share your memories via Instagram or Facebook, snapping quality photos can fill empty frames around the house or create a sentimental gift down the road! 

Foods to consider

Skip the PBJ and pack food that’s guaranteed to please. Browse these kid-friendly picnic lunch ideas | (marthastewart.com) for fun, healthy, and easy-to-assemble picnic treats. For stress-free food prep, try a no-fuss healthy recipe like Confetti Slaw With Poppy-Seed Dressing or this fresh, low-cal potato salad — why not enjoy fresh foods in the fresh air, right? Need more ideas on how to customize your picnic-perfect menu? Check out these 10 Healthier Picnic Ideas | (delish.com)

For those who love cold chicken, but would rather pack a sandwich, be cautious of dishes made with mayonnaise or other ingredients that may spoil in the heat. Go for vinegar-based salads and spreads, which keep well in the cooler and shave a few calories, too. Depending on your tastes, and your crowd, pasta salads make a great side dish or main course for outdoor gatherings. Bring a large batch of one of these delicious pasta salad recipes to your casual park picnic. Keep salads cool by nestling serving bowls next to ice packs or a homemade chiller–a larger serving bowl filled with ice.

No matter where you decide to have your upcoming picnic, remember to have fun and enjoy making memories. If you have suggestions of your own that could help first-timers enjoy their time outside, feel free to leave a comment below!

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