Picnics are an essential part of summer. Whether you’re picturing a romantic meal for two under an oak tree or just a giggly good time with your kids, eating outdoors is fun. But, let’s face it, that Pinterest-worthy idea can also end up being a pain in the rump and more work than you were prepared for. Might we suggest a few ways to keep it fun and easy?
Keep It Tidy
Add some kids to the mix, take away a traditional table and you can end up with a major cleanup. Control some of the messiest elements with the following tips:
- Corral veggies into individual cups that have a dip in the bottom. For example, spoon in ranch dressing or hummus, then place cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots on top.
- Enjoy a salad without the mess by preparing individual salads in mason jars. Each has a lid so you’re not worrying about spilled dressing plus you can shake the jar to dress your salad. This works well for cut fruit, too.
- Save little jars (like from single serving jam) and preload the condiments for each person’s hot dog or hamburger. Eric likes ketchup only, Marie wants relish and mustard.
- Bring beverages that come with a lid. This prevents spilling and allows for easy transport to and from your site. Silipint lids fit on four different size cups, so they’re perfect for the whole family.
- At the end of every picnic is the decidedly not romantic issue of dirty plates. They slotted so easily into their designated space in your adorable basket at home, but now you’re stuck with grease and food bits. Bring a bag to take dirty dishes home without a mess.
Have the picnic in the backyard!
Save the travel and keep it hyper-local, but don’t miss out on any of the usual picnic fun! To make it even more of an adventure, go for a walk around your neighborhood before you settle in for the eats. Here are a few other tips to keep it fresh in a familiar place:
- Pretend your house isn’t an option. Even lock your door to encourage commitment to your ‘outing’.
- Bring a game you haven’t played in a while. Cornhole, ladder golf, a Frisbee, a ball, bat and a few mitts, you’ll have a great time.
- Get creative with your dessert. Not at a campsite? Put charcoal in a foil-lined terra cotta pot for tabletop s’mores!
Sometimes the only reason you’re not dining al fresco is that it seems like too much work. Take the work out of picnicking and you’ll find yourself eating in more exotic locations more often. Put together a kit that will fit in a fairly small container so it’s easy to throw in a backpack, store in your car or add to a suitcase when you travel. We prefer reusable items; you’ll reduce waste and, after a quick wash-up, always have what you need when you’re on the go rather than having to restock because you threw elements away.
Basics of a good picnic kit (just add food and your finest friends!):
- A container that will easily hold all the elements of your kit. ECOlunchbox has awesome eco-friendly, hard and soft lunch packs!
- Small cutting board and general use knife (serrated so you can cut bread)
- Plates for everyone in your group, hopefully with a rim to prevent food from sliding off
- Sturdy cups small enough to fit in your kit, our kid-friendly half pints would be perfect!
- A couple of small, sturdy bowls for serving foods you’ve prepped, like pieces of cheese or salami, slices of melon, etc.
- A few reusable totes, one for garbage and food scraps and one for taking dirty dishes home. Check out Baggu Bags to find reusable, washable, eco-friendly bags.
- A kitchen towel
Pack Items that Work Hard
If you’re inviting an item on your picnic, it has got to earn its place. Nothing spoils a fun time like fourteen trips to the car lugging everything your trunk can hold.
- If you’ll be playing in the water, sit on your towels for the picnic to save yourself the bulk of a picnic blanket.
- Enjoying cocktails at your picnic? Put a lid on your Silipint and it’s both your cup and your cocktail shaker. You can also use it to eat your grandma’s secret recipe baked beans because it tolerates both hot and cold, plus it’s virtually unbreakable and infinitely reusable.
- Add some ambiance and repel bugs with citronella candles
- Fill up a few 16oz silipints with water, sliced lemon and mint leaves (whatever your fancy may be). Place our new lid on top, plug the hole to ensure a spill-free zone, and freeze them. Once frozen, they’re perfect for keeping your cooler cool and then serve as a refreshing beverage once they melt.
- Baby wipes or a couple of damp washcloths. You’ll use these all day: wipe dirty hands before you eat, clean the stains off your shirt and give dishes a quick wipe before you pack them away