Take dinner outdoors: how to pack a well-balanced picnic
Picnics are a great way to mix up your dining experience, enjoy the outdoors and spend time with friends and family. Whether you plan a picnic in the park, travel to an idyllic lake or simply set one up in your backyard, dining al fresco is a great change of scenery, a chance to slow down and catch up with friends and loved ones.
While your picnic guest list can be as intimate as a couple of people or as large as the whole neighborhood, for young and older adults alike, it’s important to pack a balanced picnic that isn’t missing any key nutritional elements. The essence of a picnic is its laid-back, effortless nature, and that mindset should be adopted when planning and packing.
Discover our tips for packing a balanced picnic, and you’ll be set to move your next meal to the great outdoors.
Keep it simple
In the initial planning stages of your picnic, consider dishes that travel well, can be served at room temperature and don’t require a lot of sauces that could make them soggy during transport. Rule out anything that only tastes good fresh out of the oven, chilled or right after being prepared.
Before getting to the food, be sure to pack the essentials of a successful picnic. Make sure you pack foods in sealable containers to avoid spills. Don’t forget napkins, plates, utensils and glasses. Lastly, bring an ice pack to keep drinks nice and cool.
Don’t skimp on beverages
Ample water is vital to a successful picnic—particularly for seniors who need to make hydration a priority. Water not only keeps everyone hydrated but also can be used to clean sticky hands or any spills. Pack canteens of additional beverage options to please everyone. Juice concoctions are refreshing options for an outdoor beverage.
Load up on appetizers
Bite-sized and easy-to-transport, don’t be afraid to go heavy on the appetizers. They’re tasty to consume and provide a relaxed, effortless vibe. To maintain a well-balanced meal overall, pack an array of nuts, cheese and crackers, pretzels, vegetables and fruits for a wide selection of salty and sweet treats. Pack skewers or toothpicks for guests to use instead of utensils.
Get creative with the main dish
When it comes to the main dish, providing a meal that doesn’t require a lot of utensils, if any, is key at a picnic. Sandwiches are a great option. Reach for a hardy, nutrient-rich bread, such as a baguette or seven-grain wheat, to keep the sandwich sturdy and intact. Choose an array of other healthy ingredients, such as rotisserie chicken, turkey breast, lettuce, peppers and cucumbers. Consider cutting sandwiches into smaller portions to allow guests to sample a variety. Explore a variety of picnic sandwich recipes for ideas.
Don’t forget dessert
While a picnic is no setting for a soufflé, bringing a little something sweet, whether homemade or store bought, is a nice touch. Opt for portable desserts like cookies and brownies, or, for a healthier option that helps to hydrate, sliced watermelon is a refreshing end-of-meal treat.
Sneak a peek “Inside the Kitchen” for delectable (and simple!) recipes from Holiday Retirement residents and community chefs. Hungry for more? Get in touch with us to learn more about the three chef-prepared meals Holiday residents are treated to daily.