Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a picnic lunch or supper at the playground, a town concert, or wherever your day takes you.
The last thing I want to do after daycare pickup on a beautiful day is get stuck inside cooking dinner. So I’ve been on the hunt for easy, portable foods my kids enjoy. And foods that are reasonable to keep stocked in the fridge for impromptu picnics.
Here are a few of our go-to meals, packing tips, and items to keep stocked in the fridge during summer picnic season.
Summer picnic tips
First, I find it easiest to pack food in divided containers. Bento boxes are great if you have them, but regular divided containers with lids work just as well. This makes packing so much easier, and it eliminates the need for things like plastic baggies and paper plates, which often blow away in the summer breeze!
I also sometimes prep food in ways that feel fun or exciting to my kids — it takes a few extra minutes, but anything served on a stick is picnic magic! I use bamboo skewers that aren’t too sharp and are just the right size for little fingers.
What to pack
When using skewers, I’ll prep things like fruit, tiny pieces of PB&J sandwiches, or cheese and deli meat (most anything sandwich-like works quite well). When skewering tiny food isn’t in the timeline, tortillas similarly filled also pack and carry easily. And they’re adaptable for kids and adults. Think chicken Caesar wraps — rotisserie chicken, croutons, parmesan cheese, romaine, and dressing. You may need to hold the lettuce and the dressing for the kids, but a meal like this makes both the grown ups and the little ones happy. Even a plain cheese quesadilla wrapped in foil cooks up quickly, travels well, and pleases most. Add some fruits and veggies, and you’re off!
What to keep in the fridge
Stocking your fridge with a few summer-picnic-friendly items makes last-minute park trips more doable. Buy pre-made — or prep ahead — picnic-friendly salads, like pasta, macaroni, chicken, or whatever your family’s go-to is. Add some cheese and crackers or kid-friendly chicken nuggets, and you’re all set!
There will always be those evenings when there just isn’t enough time or ingredients to throw something together before the “hangry” meltdown. When all else fails, pick up a pizza or subs, and picnic away! Because summer in New England is too short to waste.