With the onset of warm weather comes the urge to pack a picnic and head outdoors. There's no need for extensive preparation or cumbersome gear if you plan ahead and stock up on basic supplies. Follow these tips to stay picnic-ready all season while enjoying fresh, flavorful fare.
A picnic requires a little more than food and drinks. There are a few things that can enhance the experience.
- Ground cover, towel or blanket (TIP: recycle an old shower curtain)
- Paper towels or cloth napkins
- Reusable cups, plates and utensils
- Cutting knife
- Corkscrew/bottle opener
- Trash bags
Assemble these items into a picnic kit and tuck into a backpack or basket. Add your food and you're good to go.
Even if you aren't traveling far and plan to eat immediately, it's a good idea to keep foods at an appropriate temperature. Summer temps can quickly ruin foods that don't normally require refrigeration, making them unappetizing. Put small bottles of water in the freezer so you have instant ice packs to keep foods chilled. Plus, it can double as cold drinking water.
Keep a variety of lightweight plastic containers on hand. You can control portion size and efficiently organize your backpack or picnic basket. Packing food into individual containers also avoids the need for serving utensils and plates.
For spur-of-the-moment picnics, stock up on portable potables: juices in lightweight cartons (such as coconut water), bottled water or individual servings of wine.
Fast and Flavorful Fare
One of the joys of picnicking is that it provides quality time with friends over a casual meal. It's a chance to kick back and relax. So aim for simple, easy-to-assemble foods. From five-minute snacks to 20-minute meals, here are a few healthy recipes to make for your picnic.
Five-Minute Picnic Recipes
Cracker Stackers: Pack crackers, sliced deli meats and cheese. Assemble to taste.
Mediterranean Combo: In a single container, mix your choice of olives, grape tomatoes and cubes of feta cheese. Serve with chunks of rustic bread.
Turkey Roll-ups: Layer slices of turkey, Muenster cheese and shredded lettuce in a whole-wheat tortilla and roll up.
Black Bean Dip: Open, drain, and rinse a can of black beans. Mix with salsa and serve with baked corn chips.