The great thing about picnics is that they are just as fun to have inside as they are in the great outdoors! Whether you set up a blanket in your living room or a local park, picnics are a nice change from eating at the table.
The next time you pack for a picnic, try kicking the nutrition factor up a notch. It’s easy to reach for prepackaged snacks to throw into a basket as you’re running out the door, but planning and executing a healthy meal can make your picnic even tastier and give little bodies more energy as they run around and enjoy the fresh air.
Here are some ideas!
Cookie-cutter sandwiches were always eaten in their entirety in my house. Not only because they were cut into fun shapes but because they were also missing the crusts!
My kids used to eat grilled cheese sandwiches warm or cold, and I found that the toasted bread was easier to work with when using cookie cutters. Also, the denser the bread (multigrain, seeded or oat), the easier they were to cut.
Not only can you cut your child’s favourite filled sandwiches into fun shapes, you can cut the bread and decorate the top for a more open faced sandwich, too.
Pre-cut the bread before you head out on your picnic and bring an assortment of toppings and let the kids get creative.
Flavoured cream cheese or hummus makes a nice base and slices of cucumber, different coloured peppers (for mouths or eyebrows), halved cherry tomatoes (for eyes), shredded carrot and lettuce (for hair) are all good ingredients to make their masterpieces with.
Crunchy sides don’t always mean greasy potato chips, they can be healthy too. Kids love having a bag of snacks to themselves so looked for baked versions of their favourite treats.
Veggie or baked chips, individual packages of their must-have cookies limits overdoing the sugar, flavoured almonds and roasted chickpeas still provide a satisfying crunch.
Melon balls on a stick, grape and kiwi skewers and mini fruit salads served in small, festive paper cups make eating fruit fun!
Sometimes the anticipation of doing something fun is more exciting than the activity itself. The day before your picnic, bake a couple of healthy, family-favourite cookies or bars to take along with you.
Having the kids participate in the preparation and learning what goes into nutritious, homemade food, will let them appreciate their efforts.
You can’t bring ice cream or frozen yogurt with you, so why not bake cakes in cones?
The day before your picnic, mix a cake batter, spoon into ice cream cones and bake (great recipes can be found on Pinterest). Decorate with icing and sprinkles and you have a no melt, but ice cream-like dessert.
These are easy to prepare and bring, especially if your kids already have a favourite low-sugar juice box.
Freeze individual juice boxes and use them as ice packs. They’ll be thawed enough (or even slushy!) by the time they drink them. You can also bring a large container of water infused with berries and lemon or lime slices for extra flavour or MagPop! for a healthy alternative to pop.
Having a picnic inside or out, the fun of preparing and packing healthy food to eat in a different environment is always fun – sunshine or not.