Back away from the potato salad. You know the one–the store bought variety that's chock-full of mayo and lacking in taste.
After all, a picnic in the fresh air should be accompanied by fresh flavors. Whether you're loading up the bike trailer for an adventure with your ACTIVEkids or packing up for a hike, here are some new spins on outdoor dining classics.
Mix it up
Trail mix is a great snack for picnic goers to munch on while they are waiting for the main course. But store-bought offerings can be boring and loaded with sugar. Create a make-your-own-bag station for the kids, and let them come up with their own varieties before you hit the road. Set out a variety of nuts (such as peanuts, almonds, pistachios and pecans), seeds, dried fruits and baking chips with tablespoon scoops and decorative cellophane bags. For a fun touch, add their favorite candies, mini pretzels and marshmallows to the bar. As an added bonus, this will keep the kids entertained while you pack up for the trip.
Fire it up
Ants on a log are a favorite snack for kids young and old. Add a twist to this classic by swapping out the peanut butter for crunchy almond butter and the raisins for dried cranberries. It's a little something we like to call "Fire Ants on a Log."
Lunch meat sandwiches are easy and portable, making them a no-brainer for picnic-packers. But we advise you to go out on a limb, or should we say, stick? Deconstruct your sandwich and put it on a skewer. One that everyone is sure to love is grilled chicken with mozzarella cheese cubes, grape tomatoes and iceberg lettuce chunks, served with a honey mustard dipping sauce. Or you could try grilled chicken, Granny Smith apple bites and cheddar cheese cubes. Come up with a few varieties and let the kids try new combos and flavors.
If you're still craving that picnic staple potato salad, try making your own flavorful batch instead of buying it from the store. Add an Asian spin with curry powder and boost the nutrition value with Greek yogurt. Add 1 teaspoon of the yellow spice for every pound of potatoes used, and swap the mayonnaise for plain Greek yogurt. You can add some freshness with sliced green onions, too.
A cold cup of lemonade will quench your thirst on a hot day, but for a refreshing spin, ditch the sugary drink and serve sparkling lemon water with a splash of juice or fresh fruit. If there's room in the basket, pack a couple mason jars with a variety of juices and let everyone mix up their own drink. The kids will have fun trying different varieties.