Some of the best memories I have are from when the kiddos were 4 &5 and we would grab a picnic basket and head to the park. I always loved the idea of a picnic, but laying down the blanket and setting up our meal was never quite as perfect as I envisioned it to be. Kids run around. They suddenly lose their appetite when they spot the swing set or a hiking trail. Let’s not forget someone ALWAYS has to use the bathroom even though you made sure they went before leaving. Ha! A lot of the time the foods I packed would go bad or not taste right because of how I packaged them. I lugged around so much food that no one ever ate! So, over the years I’ve tweaked what I packed in the basket/ how I packaged it/ and made sure to bring just enough goodies to make it worth our while and not have it go to waste.
What’s in our basket…
Fruit & Cheese
All the fruit! My kiddos are really into fruit and I’m thankful, I rather a natural sugar snack any day.
Slicing/peeling fruit at a park is not the most fun process, am I right? This is why it’s convenient to have it all ready to go. I like to fill up mason jars for each kid to snack on. I precut the strawberries, pull the grapes off the vine, and have orange slices all nice and packaged. That way it’s easy to distribute and snack on without worry.
Mason jars are the greatest aren’t they? I prefer them over plastic baggies any day. Another fun option for the mason jar is to fill it up with individually wrapped cheese sticks. I like to freeze the cheese sticks an hour before our picnic, that way they’re nice and cold when the kids are ready to eat.
The main course, ha! Sandwiches are a picnics best friend.
I’ve made all kinds of them throughout the years for the kids and while a good pb&j is always a winner, it’s not ideal for picnics. They’re quite sticky and messy. I’m trying to live a messy free life over here you guys. Three kids. Enough said!
So, I make yummy and savory (medium sized sandwiches) for lunch. I start off with a nice sourdough loaf. Slice 1-2 inches in thickness and load them up with their favorite deli meats and cheeses.
One “picnic hack” I’ve learned (from bad experiences) is to line things with parchment paper! Soggy sandwiches are THE worst and that was my issue every time. I used to place our sandwiches in plastic baggies; seemed the most logical to me. The thing is- moisture seeps through and that’s when you’re stuck with a soggy sandwich. The solution to that is to wrap individually wrap them with parchment paper. Twine rope/ butchers string works well to secure it, and it happens to look pretty too. Win/win!
I also go a step further and line the picnic basket with parchment paper to make sure the sandwiches stay nice and fresh.
By the time we get to the park, everything is tasting fresh and delicious!! Easy to hand out and mess free.
Next time you plan your picnic, don’t forget about the mason jars + parchment paper! They’re a game changer 🙂