Heidi’s Hints: Plan the Perfect Picnic

Photo of a picnic basket

Cropped image. Jeremy Noble, CC License.

Summer is finally here, and it couldn’t come soon enough for our family! After a long winter, the kids and I couldn’t wait to get outside. We’ve been spending a lot of time at the park, the beach, and in our own backyard. One of Grayson’s favorite things to do is to have a picnic outside. Sometimes we sit on the deck or a blanket in the backyard, or sometimes we’ll bring a lunch when we go to the park or the beach. If you have a picky eater or a child that has trouble at mealtime, this is a great opportunity to switch up your meal routine. There’s just something about being outside with the nice weather and change of scenery that can make a usually mundane task like lunch seem so much more exciting to your children!

Here are a few picnic tips and tricks:

  • Don’t limit picnics to lunch or dinner. A pajama breakfast in the backyard is a really fun way to start the day!
  • Prepare in advance. Pack up your picnic the night before once the kids go to bed so that in the morning you can just grab and go. I also pack a small bag that has wipes, paper towel, a bib for Ellie, and a blanket (if necessary). Since Gray and Ellie are still pretty little, I find that a picnic location with a table works best for us so that they aren’t trying to balance their food on a blanket—especially since there is a lot of up and down and running around that usually takes place during our picnic .
  • Keep It Simple. Finger foods are key. I like to bring only items that we can eat with our hands or a straw such as veggies, fruit, crackers, sliced meats, squeeze yogurts, string cheese, smoothies, water bottles, etc. Keep in mind that if something needs a fork or a spoon it probably will also need a serving spoon and a container to put it in, which are just more items that you need to bring with you and take home.
  • Don’t forget the ice packs to keep your food cold and fresh. I recently saw a great idea for a homemade ice pack—wet a sponge, pop it in a sandwich bag, and toss it in the freezer until ready to use. Bonus: the sponge will keep the water absorbed as it starts to melt so you won’t have a leaky lunch.
  • Plan for the cleanup. I always bring wipes, paper towel (in case we have a bigger spill), and a plastic grocery bag to use for garbage.

Hopefully, you can use some of these tips to help plan a fun picnic with your family. Just remember that you are creating memories not a postcard so keep it simple and have fun!

Questions? Recipes? Resources? Meal Planning Advice? Feel free to call me at (248) 259-9634.

– Heidi Wilson, Heidi’s Hints: Meal Planning Made Easy

1 Response to “Heidi’s Hints: Plan the Perfect Picnic”


  1. 1 Anonymous July 17, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Fun tips! A pajama breakfast in the backyard…totally going to do this.


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