Are you always out and about; running the kids from one place to the next and trying to juggle your social life? If that isn’t enough, trying to prepare healthy, economical on-the-go meals. Well, July is the perfect month for you then! Time to slow down, relax and plan the perfect picnic. Whether it’s just for the kids, extended family or a special someone, picnics are a great way to stop and enjoy the moment.
Planning the perfect picnic is easy-peasy – only a few steps to have a great afternoon. First up, location. Where are your favorite spots to unwind, maybe site see a little? If you’re having a hard time thinking about a great spot a few terrific options are the beach, local park, hiking to a location, or even your own backyard.
Once you have your destination in mind, it’s time to get organized. Think about the time of day you’ll be going – by midday the sun is at its highest and so are the temperatures. With that, you may not be able to enjoy as many activities or be comfortable eating outdoors. If you’re wanting to enjoy a BBQ at your picnic, be sure to check with your city to ensure it’s allowed.
Think about what kind of storage you need as well. A cooler, containers for dirty utensils, you’ll also need to pack a tablecloth. When you pack your basket, pack everything in reverse, food in first, then utensils and finally the tablecloth. This will save you time when you’re setting up digging to the bottom of the tablecloth. Think about how many people you have to feed, as you want to eliminate having leftovers – they tend to perish very fast.
Now on to the menu! Pack items that travel well. There’s not much worse than containers leaking and ruining items. You want to be able to serve food room temperature, or with minimal preparation. You’ll want the food to require few utensils as well, just a fork or finger foods. Popular items to pack include pasta and potato salads, fruit, cut up veggies, cold cut meat sandwiches, bottles of water/pop/juice and snacks. Snacks can be anything you’d like, I love to pack nuts as they don’t get crushed and are a healthy alternative to chips. I also like to pack fruit-infused water. If you’ve never made them, you must try them! Make one of these awesome recipes.
Perfect Picnic Planning Tips
When planning the perfect picnic here are some tips from tasteofhome.com that are helpful.
- When packing a cooler, it should be about 25% ice and 75% food. Place ice on the bottom and along the sides of the cooler. Then place the heaviest and most perishable foods on top of the ice. Fill in with lighter items.
- A full cooler will stay colder longer than one that is partially empty, so choose an appropriate sized cooler. If food doesn’t completely fill your cooler, add more ice.
- To protect your cooler from the sun’s rays, place it in the shade as soon as you arrive at your picnic spot.
- When setting out chilled salads or other cold foods, consider placing the serving containers in a larger pan filled with ice to keep them cold.
- Avoid packing mayonnaise and ice cream-based dishes that can turn bad or melt in the sun.
- Wrap raw meat, poultry or fish separately from cooked foods in airtight plastic containers or sealable plastic bags.
- Freeze meats before packing so they remain cold longer. This is especially important if you must travel a long distance to the picnic location or if the foods won’t be grilled immediately upon arrival.
- Do not partially cook foods at home to speed up cooking at the picnic site; bacteria grows faster in partially cooked foods.
- Hot foods should be kept at 140°F or hotter and should be eaten within 2 hours of being cooked.
The rest of the day is up to you. Bring a book, pack a board game, relax and have a great afternoon.