Southern Mom Loves: 8 of the Most Important Tips to Have an Easy-Breezy Picnic!

8 of the Most Important Tips to Have an Easy-Breezy Picnic!

Monday, April 18, 2016

One of our family's favorite outdoor activities are picnics! I like picnics because it's an easy way to go out and have fun while getting everyone fed. There is no "Mom, I'm hungry!" on a picnic!

When you're packing for a picnic, smarter is better. Opt for packing items with multiple uses and items that will clean up easily. There are lots of options when picnicking, and I'll give you my 8 most important tips for having an easy-breezy picnic!

#1. Ban soggy bread

If you'll be packing sandwiches for your picnic, keep them from getting soggy by packing them dry. Make sure lettuce is completely dried and remove the seeds and membrane from tomato slices;  Let them dry a bit on paper towels before adding to sandwich bread. Bring your condiments separately. Everyone can add what they like best, and it will save you some trouble too. 

#2. Paper, plastic, or...paper?

Deciding what everyone will eat off of depends on you. If you have a set of reusable plastic dishes for picnicking, use those. You can also take paper plates and disposable plastic cutlery. Another idea is to wrap sandwiches in parchment paper, wax paper, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil; Those can all double as plates if you have a table to eat at, so pile on the potato salad and toss the mess in the trash!

#3. Easy-peasy does it. 

What's one of the biggest deterrents from planning a picnic? For me it's imagining making all of the food from scratch. Potato salad takes so much time to make, and it's just a side! Instead of focusing on making everything from scratch, focus on getting out there. Some time-saving tips:

  • Grab your sides from the Deli section of the grocery store. There's usually a large selection, and that will save you a ton of prep time. 
  • Pack leftovers. They'll taste so much better outdoors after a long day playing. Foods like leftover fried chicken, sandwich spreads, fruit salads, and desserts make great additions.
  • Pack easy sides: Potato chips, portable fruits like apples and bananas, granola bars, cereal bars, or nuts are some things that you might already have in your kitchen, ready to go.
The point is to feed everyone while having fun, so while I have been known to get all-martha-stewart with my picnics, I have also been known to pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with apples and jump in the car with the kids. A spontaneous picnic is the best picnic! Just do it!

#4. Too many snacks. 

Have you ever cooked out at a picnic and turned around to find that your family has eaten all the snack foods like ravenous wolves while waiting for lunch and now they're not hungry? Is it just my family? No? Save yourself a headache by packing small, snack-sized bags of chips or snacks, or only packing enough for a serving each. They're not enough to fill up on and once they're gone, they're gone. You can serve these out in small snack cups or bags ahead of time.

#5. "Honey, did you grab the ______?" 

How many times have you gotten to your destination only to realize that you've forgotten a crucial element for your outing? To help combat this, I've found two great solutions:

  • If you're a list maker, make a detailed list of your picnic timeline, including cooking, eating, and games. Visualize doing each activity while listing its elements, then check them off while packing. Mustard, check. Tongs, check. Football, check.
  • If you're a visual person, you can lay everything out before packing it up. Pick a large surface like a dining room table and visualize each activity, then gather up its elements in a group. If cooking first, gather everything you need for that in the first area, then clean-up, then play, and so on. That way you can run it through your head and see what you're missing from the group in an instant without digging through bags.

#6. I didn't need that spatula anyway

If you're taking cooking utensils or reusable plates and cutlery (and being eco-friendly, yay!), bring along a few of those plastic grocery bags (I know, but they're recyclable) to pack up your dirty, food-encrusted plates and utensils before bringing them home. Or wipe them down with tip #8!

#7. Lenny the Reformed Litterbug says "Don't do it!" 

If your picnic spot doesn't have trash cans, or you'll be picnicking in an out-of-the-way spot, bring a trash bag! You want to leave your mark in life, not in trash.

#8. You put your hand in what?!?!

PACK CLEANSING CLOTHS! Let's face it, when picnicking, the odds of finding somewhere convenient to wash up are pretty bad. A package of cleansing cloths can take care of so many problems before they start, and also after they've happened. Yuck.

Cleansing cloths can be used to clean hands and faces before and after eating, can help you clean up before packing up, and will help you leave germs where you found them. They can also be used to cool off hot, sweaty faces after playing (or flower-gathering. Girls, y'all.)


I hope you use these tips to pack up and get out there! 


Do you like to picnic? What was your favorite tip? Do you have a tip to add? I love to read your comments!

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