When the weather gets warm, I just want to eat outside! Whether it’s a picnic dinner with friends, an afternoon snack under a shady tree, or a lunchtime play date at the park – my family is happiest when dining al fresco.
Of course, picnicking with kids can quickly turn into a long day of cooking, packing, messes and clean-up. Which is why I always keep picnic food as simple as possible, and stick to a few key strategies when planning an outdoor dining experience.
For the food, my formula is as follows:
One grain or pasta salad + a few finger foods + fruit and chocolate for dessert
This spread keeps everyone happy and satisfied, and allows for plenty of leisurely grazing as the kids play and the adults relax. It also works for any time of day, so you never have to stress about what to pack.
More picnic tips for a relaxed summer vibe:
- Invest in some reusable bamboo or plastic picnic ware. When it’s time to head out, you won’t have to scramble around looking for last summer’s disposable plates and utensils or stop at the store time and again.
- Pack only what you can carry in one load. It’s tempting to bring every last convenience from home, but this inevitably leads to multiple trips, excess waste and lots of clean-up. Stick to a blanket, napkins or wipes, picnicware, and the food in a small cooler – and if you have young kids or will be eating somewhere without built-in entertainment, a few balls and a kite along too.
- Focus on quality of food, rather than quantity. The experience is what a picnic is all about, so even when the meal is light, people will leave feeling satisfied (and you leave with less to lug back home!).
- Bring water and wine. In areas where it’s allowed, a good glass of wine can really make a picnic special. Beyond that, stick to chilled water, or accept someone else’s offer to bring a few beverage options.
- Do the laundry right when you get home. Washing your picnic blanket, cloth napkins and any other picnic linens right away means they are clean and ready for another picnic whenever you are.
Find the recipe for this perfect picnic salad over on Earthbound Farm’s Organic Bound today.
This post is part of my ongoing partnership with Earthbound Farm. Thank you for reading and supporting organic food!