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Pack the perfect family picnic

Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...

How to plan a family picnic

Picnics are a perfect way to make fun memories with the kids (that are totally Facebook worthy). There is something special about sitting on a blanket under the sun while nibbling on a pita sandwich that puts you in a relaxed, vacation mode. Not sure what to pack? Let us help you plan the perfect family picnic.

Family outing

Photo credit: Jupiterimages / Stockbyte / Getty images

Planning the perfect picnic can be fun, especially if you get the family involved. Depending on their ages, the kids can be responsible for carrying a backpack with the picnic blanket, toys (such as balls and a Frisbee for after lunch), wet wipes for sticky hands and extra sacks for trash.

Picnic packing tips

The best picnic food is portable and low-maintenance, which means save the sloppy joes for home! Wondering how much food to pack? In general, plan on bringing one sandwich or main entrée per person and several snacks to share, as well as several drinks for each person.

Food poisoning is always an uninvited guest at a picnic! The USDA states that perishable food cannot sit out longer than two hours. If it is 90 degrees F or hotter outside, cut that time down to one hour. For this reason, it is important that you have a well-insulated cooler, as well as ice packs or ice to pack around the food, especially if you are going on a picnic far from your home.

Plan on packing two separate coolers — one with your perishable items and another with your beverages. Only open the cooler with the perishable items when it is time to eat to keep the food fresh.

Perfect picnic food

Getting hungry? Here are some fun and easy picnic food ideas:

  • Turkey or tuna pita sandwich
  • Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich (or substitute almond butter or Nutella)
  • Pastrami and swiss sandwich kebabs
  • Cream cheese and veggie bagel
  • Ham and cream cheese tortilla wrap
  • Bean salad
  • Fried chicken (must be eaten within two hours)
  • Veggie and fruit kebabs
  • Pasta salad
  • Chopped watermelon
  • Trail mix
  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Chocolate chip cookies
Pack your sandwiches in individual baggies or place layers of wax paper between each layer to prevent them from sticking or drying out. Store other snacks in BPA-free plastic containers.

Perfect picnic drinks

Motts fruit juice

Instead of lugging along extra cups, consider bringing beverages in lightweight plastic bottles, such as Mott’s Juice in the 8-ounce bottle or juice boxes. This 100 percent apple juice is the perfect drink to quench kids' thirst when playing outside.

Your kids and teens will also love the new Mott's Fruit Juice drinks with yummy flavors including Fruit Punch Rush, Wild Grape Surge and Strawberry Boom. These drinks contain 40 percent less sugar than fruit juices and no artificial sweeteners. Score!

Bringing your dog along to the picnic? Don’t forget a small container for his water!

More picnic ideas

Picnic recipes and packing tips
Backyard picnic how-to menu
Plan a healthy picnic

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