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By Charlotte Stirling-Reed, The Baby & Child Nutritionist
Summer time means one thing when you’ve got kids! Lots of trips out and about, right?! I absolutely love day trips with my two, it's so nice to get outside and just let them ROAM free, however, it can be a challenge sometimes when it comes to foods on offer. But never fear, as the traditional English picnic can be a perfect way to enjoy mealtimes outside with young children.
If you’re thinking about having a picnic with kids this year, this blog will give all the inspo and practical tips you need to make your next picnic an enjoyable one!
What equipment to take?
When it comes to picnics, here are a few of the essentials to pack:
- A decent sized cool bag for all your food!
- Cool packs/freezer packs to ensure the food stays cool or cold all day.
- Water bottles for everyone – if you freeze these the night before, they can be used as ice packs!
- Napkins and wipes to clean up those messy kids after.
- Bag for the rubbish so you can make sure you take home your litter!
- Lunchboxes/tins and tubs for foods.
- A picnic blanket for everyone to sit on.
- Some simple, easy cutlery.
What food to take?
And some of my fav picnic food ideas, broken down into food groups so you can still make sure they are balanced for your little ones!
- Filled sandwiches, wraps, bagels
- Pin wheels
- Mini pitta pizzas
- Muffins also make a great easy to eat snack on the go.
- Fishcakes are great too, as long as you can keep them cool.
- Flapjacks also work too and are easy to eat and something that kids tend to love. If they’re made with oats they are also going to provide plenty of energy.
- Oat bars and energy balls will work well for this too and can be some good ones to tap into throughout the day, when needed.
- Cold pasta salads can work well too – I love pesto pasta as an out and about snack, but tuna pasta salad with sweetcorn can work too – just remember to keep it nice and cold.
Fruits and Veg
- Veg sticks such as celery, pepper and cucumber work well.
- Little pots of peas and sweetcorn.
- Whole fruits such as apples, pears, plums and bananas work well and are normally a bit more sturdy than softer fruits for carrying about.
- Little pots of chopped apple, blueberries, grapes or raisins can also go well (serve raisins with other foods to avoid them sticking to the teeth).
- Watermelon can be a great option for hydration too, as it has such a high water content.
Protein and Iron foods
- Fill sandwiches with hummus, egg, fish or meat (just remember to keep these ones cool).
- Take a pot of hummus as a dip for veggies or even for some nice crusty bread to tear and share.
- Hard boiled eggs sliced into quarters can work well as a snack too (keep these cool).
- Add some beans or lentils to a pasta salad.
- Hard, waxed cheeses work well, or grate cheese into sandwiches.
- Little cartons of milk can work well for picnics too.
Don’t forget to pack plenty of drinks for everyone too. You can always freeze water bottles on hot days and take them out with you. This way they help to keep the food cool until lunchtime too.
A few extra picnic tips:
- Check the space around you.
- Find a bench if you can too.
- Find somewhere near toilets for your picnic.
- Bring some music or games to make it fun!
- Take a picnic blanket bag.
- Pack light as much as you can.
- Have a “helper” who can run things to the bin or help you set up/pack up at the end.
- Try to encourage at least 15-20 mins where they stop playing and focus on eating so you know they get some food in.
- Be a little more relaxed on days out with “snacking” and don’t worry too much about their normal routine.
- Avoid letting them run around with food though, this can be a choking hazard.
I hope you find this helpful, feel free to send in your own picnic ideas to us here at Zebedees too, we’d love to hear them. And for some of Charlotte’s favourite meal ideas, check out her blog on picnic ideas for the family.
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