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8 Tips for Packing the Perfect Picnic

S Caron By

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My picnic basket and cooler are calling to me.


And who am I to say no? Packing up a fabulous picnic for lunch or dinner is a great way to celebrate and enjoy summertime.

But how do you pack the perfect picnic? We asked some popular bloggers to help us make a list of 8 tips. Here’s their advice:

1. Plan ahead.


Make lists of what to make/bring to prevent junk food items. Have a “clean” kit packed: wipes, sanitizer, gallon of water that isn’t for drinking, etc…in case facilities aren’t convenient or available. – Chris Arpante, Mele Cotte

2. Pack items that do double duty.


For example, stick a few reusable filled water bottles in the freezer. While you're on the way to your picnic, the frozen water bottles will keep your food chilled, and once at your destination, you'll have cold water to drink. Same thing with fruit. – Cate O’Malley, Sweetnicks

3. Consider replacing creamy dressings with pestos or (mustard) vinaigrettes.


Oils hold up better than dairy in the heat. Or, if creaminess is necessary, use Veganaisse (found in the refrigerated vegan/vegetarian section of the grocer) because it does not contain eggs or dairy products. – Chris Arpante, Mele Cotte

4. Freeze bite size chunks of fruit.


This helps keep sandwiches and salads cold, and is a refreshing, healthy dessert. – Patsy, Family, Friends and Food

5. Create snack packs for those lil’ ones that want to “run and play” instead of sit and eat.


A snack pack of carrots, etc in the pocket can help with hunger and/or dehydration. – Chris Arpante, Mele Cotte

6. Finger Food Favorites.


There are a lot of ways you can reduce waste at your picnic, but if you opt for fun finger foods, you can skip the plastic forks, knives and spoons altogether.  Some of my favorites are fruit kabobs with fresh melon, pineapple and grapes --  a healthy, refreshing snack for a day outdoors . For main courses, you can assemble Quinoa and Turkey Lettuce Wraps - or another quick, easy to eat sandwich. - Maris Callahan, healthy culinary expert for DietsinReview.com

7. If grilling out, prepare the foods at home to prevent messy/inconvenient clean up, cross contamination, etc.


Then, use tongs to make contact with any bacteria-prone foods.  Premade/wrapped items make it easy for little helpers – Foil wrap the corn that has been dressed with butter. – Chris Arpante, Mele Cotte

8. Have a picnic tote bag ready to go at all times.


I keep a bag packed with our favorite picnic blanket, cups, utensils, plates, sunblock and a frisbee. All I need to do is add our food and we're ready for a spur-of-the-moment picnic any time the mood strikes. – Cate O’Malley, Sweetnicks

What are your great picnic tips?


Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron) is a food writer, editor and blogger who writes about family-friendly foods and raising a healthy family at Sarah’s Cucina Bella.


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