Picnic season is right around the corner—which is very exciting. However, picnics can be a bit of a challenge without the proper preparation. Everything you need for the meal needs to be packed and ready, but you don’t want your picnic basket to be too heavy. And there is no guarantee that you’ll have easy access to a sink so you don’t want the food to be too messy. What should you put in your picnic basket? Discover our tips, tricks, and recipes for the perfect picnic.
How Longoes Perishable Food Last in the Heat?
How long will perishable food last in the heat? This might be one of the biggest concerns for picnic goers. Once the perishable food has been removed from its cool enclosure and has been served, it can be left out safely for an hour if the temperature is 90 degrees or more. If the temperature is cooler the food may be left out for two hours.
The Two Coolers Trick
If this is possible, we recommend you bring two coolers to your picnic destination. Put any perishable food in one cooler and surround it all with ice packs to keep it cold. Open this first cooler as infrequently as possible until the meal is over and you have no perishable food left. The second cooler will be home for the drinks. You can open and close this one as much as you need without worrying about letting the perishable food get warm.
Wash Your Hands!
It is always important for children to wash their hands before eating. However, this is especially true if they have been playing outdoors on playground equipment, interacting with museum exhibits, or playing in the sand. Ideally, your picnic location will have washrooms complete with soap and water. If not, pack antibacterial lotion and/or moist towelettes just in case.
Bring water! You’ll want to pack a water bottle for the kids to drink from. Encourage them to use the water fountain for refills.
Bring trash bags! You’ll want to bring at least two empty bags to the park for your trash. In one bag, dispose of food that has been out of the cooler, and other such items. In the other bag, collect your recycling—especially if the park doesn’t have a special bin.
Bring sunscreen! No one wants to get a sun burn! Remember to reapply sunscreen. We like to do this when the kids are having a snack or lunch so they are less inclined to wiggle away.
Picnic Menu Ideas
- Fresh Fruit! It doesn’t spoil quickly in the heat and kids love fruit! Try these Rainbow Fruit Skewers from raininghotcoupons.com!
- Pasta salad is a picnic favorite—especially if the dressing does not contain any dairy (which includes mayonnaise) Try this ratatouille pasta salad from Two Peas and Their Pod.
- Hand pies are a great picnic food. Savory hand pies such as these Ham and Pea Hand Pies from Bonappetit are a fabulous main course whereas sweet hand pies such as these Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies from SugarDishMe.