Summertime is the perfect occasion for outdoor festivities and celebrating the good weather with family and friends! I’ve found that nothing brings me more joy than being able to get out in the sunshine and soak up some Vitamin D and make memories with loved ones. One of my favorite summer activities is packing up a delicious lunch and heading out on a hike or to a local park for a picnic date!
This last weekend, I assembled a basket full of delicious eats to take on a picnic with my main squeeze. We lucked out with a day of perfect sunny weather and made a beeline for an old oak tree that shaded a soft grass patch. After laying down our picnic blanket, I unpacked our basket and we spent a few hours lazily munching away and enjoying the sunshine.
Here’s what went into my basket along with a few tips for packing the perfect picnic!
As a food blogger, my eats tend to be very seasonal and cycle with the local produce available. Colder weather calls for more hearty and comforting meals like stews, casseroles, and warm baked goods. Summer, however, is when my tastebuds gravitate to foods that are filling and satisfying, but don’t leave you feeling heavy or in a post-meal food coma. Instead of a big one-pot meal, I want to be able to sample a variety of different flavors and textures! I kept the foodie vibes of summer in mind as I prepped my picnic basket and chose to include a rustic bread plate that included dates, jam, cheese, and prosciutto, plenty of perfectly ripened and chilled fresh fruit, a vegetarian pasta salad with a light olive oil dressing, and freshly baked cookies from a local bakery for dessert. A bottle of wine also made an appearance and was sipped on lightly between bites of the big spread in front of us.
One of the best parts about planning a picnic is that it can be completely personalized. Regardless of your dietary needs and preferences, a little planning and forethought can make any packed basket a huge success! Here are a few of my general tips to keep in mind:
- Think about what types of food transport well. If you’re planning on having your picnic at a location that’s a significant distance away, make sure to pack foods that hold together well/won’t get soggy overtime. Nothing kills a picnic mood more than mushy sandwich or crumbly bag of crackers. Instead, pack the components to your sandwich separately to assemble at your picnic location or use food containers that won’t get crushed in the packing process.
- To make your already hectic life easier, pack a combination of homemade food as well as store-bought items. I chose to whip up an easy chilled pasta salad, but knew that I didn’t want to use my oven in the summer heat to make a batch of cookies or bake a loaf of rustic bread. A quick trip to the local bakery when I was already out running errands saved me time while not compromising on taste!
- Reduce stress by prepping your food the night before. Before going to bed the night before a picnic, I make sure to cut up some fresh fruit and make any dishes that hold up well in the fridge. This pasta salad tastes even better if left to sit for a day or so (the flavors permeate through the noodles) and being able to fully chill the fruit left them refreshing cool! The next day, it’s as simple as throwing everything in my basket and heading out for the perfect day. It doesn’t get easier than that!
- Make sure to bring appropriate utensils. It’s easy to forget your utensils when all of your focus is placed on what you’re bringing to eat, but make sure to pack enough plates and cutlery to go around!
- Hand sanitizer is a must! Chances are you’ll be out in nature and might not have access to a sink and soap before digging into your meal. Keep germs at bay by bringing along a small container of hand sanitizer!
Summer is all about relaxing with friends and family and enjoying moments of slowing down between all the hustle and bustle of life. Packing the perfect picnic and heading out to enjoy the sunshine is a fantastic way to build memories, reduce stress, and increase overall happiness and doesn’t have to be difficult! Follow the tips in this blog post and you’re sure to have a successful picnic filled with delicious food and good cheer! Happy eating!