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Tips for Creating the Perfect Picnic

Picnic Tips

Maybe it’s just us, but take any meal outside and it instantly becomes more vibrant, engaging and delicious. Picnics can take all shapes — a quick but peaceful break from work by a lake, a romantic sunset dinner for two complete with delicious wine or a fun afternoon family affair. Our favorite hikes are those that end in a flavorful spread on a blanket with our favorite foods, which usually ends up being a mix of delicious homemade dishes and convenient, tasty items we pick up at the store so we can pack in a flash and hit the trails.

Picnics are a great equalizer — you don’t have to be a great cook (or even cook at all, for that matter), to have a wonderful picnic meal.

Tips for picnic success is in the bag (or basket)

  • Insulated containers and cold packs will be your friend on hot days. Delight children by freezing juice boxes the night before so they stay cold. And filling an extra thermos with ice water never hurts either.
  • Pack a lightweight cutting board and paring knife or pocket knife for last minute prep. And don’t forget utensils!
  • Pack it in and pack it out. Don’t forget to bring a receptacle for trash, recycling and compost so you can leave your picnic site as lovely for the next visitors.
  • A sun hat, sunscreen, hand sanitizer and bug repellent are must-haves.
  • Fun for later — don’t forget a ball, Frisbee, kite or bubbles to continue the merriment after mealtime.

Picnic items worth picking up

I love to cook, but keeping up with a toddler means I don’t always get to have everything homemade and do all the things we both love. Here are some items I’m happy to pick up when I’m shopping at Whole Foods Market to keep the taste and quality up to my standards, while also freeing up my time:

  • Freshly baked baguette
  • Hard cheese (they hold up better out of the fridge). What’s in my picnic basket this year? Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s the best, and it’s wonderful on its own or paired with just about anything.
  • Sliced meats
  • Fresh fruit (Francique mangoes and Gold Nugget tangerines for sure!) and cut veggies
  • Chicken salad and pimento cheese are my favorites on either a croissant or whole grain bread

And for when it’s a happy hour or dinner picnic with my husband, I like to add:

  • Canned wine is on-trend right now and is lightweight and convenient for outdoor drinking adventures.
  • Theo Chocolate bars. I’m digging the Almond Coconut 65% Dark Chocolate one! I love that they’re fair trade and organic.
  • Screw top rosé wine such as Conde Valdemar Rosé and Globerati Rosé.

Recipes for picnic success

Whip up one or more of these delights to share on your picnic.

No-Cook Zucchini

No-Cook Zucchini ‘Noodle’ Salad Recipe

A fun and tasty way to enjoy veggies even my toddler loves!

Healthy Texas Caviar

Healthy Texas Caviar Recipe — Health Starts Here

This salad travels well and can be enjoyed cold or room temperature. A picnic favorite!

Picnic Chicken Drumsticks

Picnic Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

These are picnic perfect since they’re delicious served cold.

Lunch-in-a-Jar: Cherry Pecan Grain Salad

Lunch-in-a-Jar: Cherry Pecan Grain Salad Recipe

This layered salad will be a showstopper at your picnic.

Raw Walnut Brownies

Raw Walnut Brownies Recipe — Health Starts Here

There’s no need to bake these rich, chewy brownies!

Dried Fruit Chews

Dried Fruit Chews Recipe — Health Start Here

A treat adults and kids will enjoy!