If you’ve been dreaming about eating lunch outside, summer weather and sunshine are essential ingredients for an afternoon picnic with your family.
Picnics are a way to create beautiful memories and are an excellent way for busy families to reconnect with each other.
Planning a picnic doesn’t have to be difficult, either. A quick stop at the grocery store can provide everything you need ready-made. You can even create a fun outing with last night’s leftovers. Simply pack a picnic basket and cooler to prevent food from melting or spoiling, and you’re all set.
Regardless of your favorite picnic spot — the park, beach or right in your backyard — here are six perfect treats for you and your family.
Summer delivers an abundance of delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables to choose from, including bananas, avocados, cantaloupe, berries, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and mangos.
If you’re looking for a quick dish to throw together, a balsamic tomato and cucumber salad is crunchy, cool and easy to whip together. Chop or slice a seedless cucumber, tomatoes and green onions. For this recipe, you’ll need to stir the chopped veggies, lemon juice, fresh Italian herbs, balsamic vinegar and olive oil together in a bowl.
Another fresh salad you can make in minutes is a mango salsa with red bell pepper and cilantro. Dice your mango, red bell pepper and pepperoncini peppers. This recipe also calls for scallions, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt, cumin and hot sauce. Of course, if you want a milder salad, leave out the hot sauce and pepperoncini peppers. The mango will pack all the right flavors on its own.
You can prepare your salads in advance and refrigerate them before taking them on your picnic.
Families short on time will love the convenience of pre-made sandwiches and wraps at the deli counter. Many grocery stores are also happy to make fresh sandwiches for you right on the spot.
If you have a few minutes to spare, you can assemble sandwiches at home — a better idea for picky eaters who’d prefer to add their favorite fixings according to their taste buds.
While a soggy sandwich is not at all enjoyable, there are a few tricks you can try to prevent this, such as the following:
*Toast your bread before assembling your sandwich.
*Add a small amount of olive oil to your bread to prevent other liquids from soaking into the pieces.
*Add your condiments between your protein and cheese.
*Add dry lettuce to the bottom and top layer of your sandwich.
*Wrap your sandwich in parchment paper or plastic wrap to keep moisture out.
Active kids may find it impossible to sit in one place during a picnic, especially if there’s a playground nearby — but packing a few protein-rich snacks can help keep your kids healthy during outdoor play.
Hummus and sliced vegetables are healthy treats to bring on a picnic and you’re bound to enjoy snacking on them, too. Hummus also contains a lot of protein — 7.35 grams per serving, to be exact.
Pack small plastic containers with hummus — either condiment size or something slightly bigger — as well as sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, carrot sticks, broccoli florets and bell peppers.
It’s also a good idea to bring hand sanitizer to wash away germs your kids may pick up on the playground. Catching a nasty cold is a surefire way to ruin any great memory of a family outing.
While picking up sandwiches and wraps at the grocery deli counter for your family picnic, check out their pre-made sides and appetizers.
Many stores sell pre-packaged potato and macaroni salads, olives, antipasto, coleslaw and broccoli salads in refrigerators. From pickled to sweet to spicy, there’s a salad for everyone.
Deli-prepped side salads are budget-friendly, meaning you can buy more than one and split them. Remember to pack a cooler to keep your salads cold if heading directly from the store to your lunch outing.
A fun family picnic can only be so tasty without a delicious, cold drink to go with it. Why not make a strawberry basil-infused iced tea to wash it all down?
Brew a pitcher of black tea using 7.5 cups of water. In a small pan, boil one cup of water with sliced strawberries, basil leaves and sugar. Using a strainer, pour the strawberry basil blend into the pitcher and cool in the refrigerator.
Consider pouring the iced tea into mason jars for your picnic. That way, you can rest assured that your drinks will stay sealed and cold until you arrive at your location. Also, keep your family outing environmentally friendly by opting for reusable metal straws.
Of all the perfect picnic treats you can bring on your family picnic, nothing beats a dump cake. Dump cakes are incredibly easy to make and best prepared the day before.
Although dump cake recipes are rather versatile, a strawberry lemonade-flavored dump cake is delicious on a hot summer day.
Strawberry pie filling, lemon cake mix and a half stick of butter are all you need. Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and dump the cans of pie filling, spreading it evenly. Then, stir the unprepared lemon cake mix and melted butter in a bowl and sprinkle on top. Bake the dump cake at 350° Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
If you’re picnicking in the backyard, feel free to add a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream, as well.
With so many delicious foods available, choosing the perfect treats to bring to your family picnic may seem difficult. Enjoy the best summertime flavors the season offers while creating beautiful memories with your family and friends.