It’s picnic season! The keys to successfully carrying out your picnic plans are to keep it simple, be organized, and be prepared. Here are some great tips for planning the perfect picnic that are guaranteed to make it more fun and less stressful!
Keep it Cool
Put small bottles of water or juice in the freezer for a few hours before the picnic. These can keep food cool and when you reach your picnic spot, the drinks will still be cold.
Stay away from foods that need immediate refrigeration, like mayonnaise or sour cream based salads.
Pack ice to keep drinks and foods cold and for using in beverages. Packing ice in plastic bags doubles as a cooler and then can be used for drinks.
Keeping It Simple
Keeping your menu simple minimizes your work and frustration. Offering a few really good choices is much better than trying to plan a menu that is everything to everyone.
Consider a menu of mostly finger foods such as wraps or sandwiches, chips, veggies and dip.
Think about taking ready-made items from the deli and bakery at your local store. Some good rolls or artisanal bread, packaged sliced meats and cheeses, and a potato or pasta salad, plus some cookies or brownies from the bakery, and your picnic is practically done!
Do your slicing and chopping at home if possible. It’s harder to do it once you are at the picnic, not to mention the fact that it means you have to drag along a knife and cutting board!
Getting organized reduces stress and leaves you free to enjoy the picnic. Make a list of everything you need to take. Keep it on the fridge and check items off as you pack them.
Keep your picnic gear packed and ready to go in your picnic basket or tote bag so that all you have to do is add any last-minute items before you leave.
Pack foods in the cooler or ice chest in the order in which they will be eaten, with first courses on the top and last courses on the bottom. This way you don’t have to unpack everything at once.
Having these items ensures the picnic will go smoothly.
- A picnic basket or tote bag for carrying non-perishable food and equipment
- A good cooler or ice chest with wheels and a handle
- A blanket, quilt, tablecloth or any other cover if you plan to eat on the ground, or if you will be using a public picnic table
- Plates, cups, utensils and serving pieces
- Paper towels, napkins, and hand wipes
- Plastic bag for used utensils and serving pieces.
- Any condiments you will need such as salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, relish, etc.
- First aid kit
- Bug repellant and/or citronella candles
- Sunglasses and sun block
- Pack a trash bag for easy clean up
Other Helpful Tips
Pack soft and easily-damaged foods such as cakes, deviled eggs, fruit, or tomatoes in hard plastic containers with lids.
Be prepared for a picnic anytime. Keep a picnic basket packed with basic picnic items such as plates, cups, utensils, salt and pepper, napkins, etc. Then all you have to do is pack any additional items, grab you cooler with the food, and go!
Bring a tablecloth or picnic blanket. Even if picnic tables are around, it’s always a good idea to have a cloth in case the table is too worn, or you could always lay the cloth out and have a picnic on the ground.