Next Level Picnic Baskets

Do you sometimes crave for something different in the way you dine? Try a little fresh air with your meal and go on a picnic! Our day-to-day routines can sometimes take a toll on our excitement in life, so it’s always a good idea to switch things up every once in a while. 

Picnics are a great way to combine having delicious, wholesome meals and some relaxation with your favourite people. Here are some ideas on how you can pack the perfect healthy picnic basket for your day out.

 

Great Benefits of Picnics

Before we get down to the details of making nutritious picnic baskets, let’s explore why picnics can make for a great way to enjoy meals.

It’s therapeutic

The cool breeze, the green views, and your skin soaking up some much needed vitamin D from the sun, sounds like just what we need to relax after a long week or month of work, right? It’s the perfect way to blow off steam and enjoy a meal with your friends or family.

Picnics are usually enjoyed with company, although there is no harm in having a picnic by yourself. Either way, picnics aim to give you a sense of joy and happiness. You can have a nice relaxing picnic accompanied by a good book or some music.

Being outdoors is a great way for us to get our mind off our worries too. We tend to focus on being at one with nature or enjoy the surroundings. Somehow, being outdoors helps make our problems or concerns seem less stressful.

Economical

Picnics are a great economic way to eat out. Meals are usually prepared by yourself in your own kitchen so you won’t have to spend as much. It saves more money than if you were to eat at restaurants. So even if you’re tight on budget, you can have a perfectly lovely meal with a picnic!

Furthermore, having picnics at the park or beach allows you to do so many activities that are essentially free! You can fly a kite, play badminton, swim and so much more instead of having to pay for other activities you might do on a day out.

It’s personal

Picnics allow you to have intimate moments with your family or significant other. More people are using picnics as a way to celebrate a special occasion like birthdays, anniversary, and engagements.

 

The way you enjoy picnics are also customisable to suit your preference. You can have a packed picnic lunch, a barbeque, or even a cook-out.

The setting of your picnic will also be a fun way to express your individuality. You can decorate the picnic area according to your taste and be as creative as you like. Take inspiration from the many picnic setups you can browse from online to make it more fun and instagrammable.

 

Packing a Wholesome Picnic Basket

As picnic meals are easy to personalise, why not go the beneficial direction and pack a wholesome, delicious, and easy-to-eat meal? Here are some ways you can make your picnic baskets more nutritious.

Keep it minimal

When packing for your picnic basket, it is always best to be mindful of how you prepare the meals you want to enjoy during the picnic. To keep it in the cleaner direction, let’s be more aware of what we put into meals, how much we use certain ingredients, and how they are prepared.

For example, using as little oil as possible will help make your picnic treats stay more wholesome. The right kinds of oil will also be beneficial like the more heart-friendly oils of sunflower, canola or olive oils. You can have more information on the benefits of these oils here. Extra virgin olive oil will be great to make salad dressings flavourful.

You can also make your dishes low-sodium to ensure they stay on the wholesome side. For example, unsalted butter for your toasts and sandwiches will be a great way to keep your sodium intake in check, or make a tasty pasta dish with low-sodium pasta sauce to pair with picnic-friendly pastas like macaroni, fusilli, or penne. These are some fuss-free pastas that will be easier to eat and cause minimal mess. Some pasta sauces like pesto will make great bases for sandwiches and pizzas too. You can try something like this pesto pinwheels recipe. This will give you more room to explore and create more menu.

Load up the veggies and fruits

 

Instead of packing chips and sugary drinks, take this time to amp up your family’s veggie and fruit intakes. When packaged in a fun meal, they’re less likely to refuse them.

Finger sandwiches filled with cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce will not only be delicious, they’re packed with nutrition too.

You can also prepare juicy fresh fruits such as frozen grapes or cut-up watermelon as snacks for whenever your family gets hungry, in-between playing in the sun. Another idea is to turn those fresh fruits into juices or smoothies. Sweeten things up by adding natural sweeteners like coconut nectar that is low in GI. The heat paired with the thirst they would get from playing will make juicy fruits or fruit juices more appealing to them.

Whole grains are the way to go

If you want to bring along more filling kinds of food like rice, opt for healthy carbohydrate options like brown rice or sweet potatoes. Discover the wonders of wholegrains here!

According to an article by Divyata Raut on sweet potatoes, “Turn the sweet flesh of this nutritious root (sweet potatoes) into mouth-watering savoury goodness by baking in the oven with salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic. Oven roast them at about 200 degree Celsius for 30 minutes before packing them in containers for a filling and yummy picnic treat.” This will be a great alternative to greasy chips.

For a more picnic-friendly rice dish, you can make sushi or onigiri which would be so much easier to enjoy outdoors. They are a breath of fresh air from your usual rice dishes, delicious, and will not make much of a mess. These are also great ways to slip in extra veggies and protein into our diets.

 

Things You Need

Before you plan your fun-filled day in the sun, let’s take a look at some things you might need and things you need to take note of.

Weather & surroundings

Our tropical climate is great for picnics and outdoor fun. However, the weather can be unpredictable. Be sure to check the local weather reports to be prepared with whatever the wind might bring. To be on the safe side, bring along an umbrella to always stay prepared for unforeseen downpours.

One of the best hacks you can follow is suggested in an article by Tan Hua Sze, “Instead of getting a thin plastic mat that tears easily, invest a little in a waterproof mat. It’ll come in handy when the grass is damp –  the last thing you want is to end up dirtying your pants.”

Another important thing to factor in is sun exposure. Let’s be safe and make sure to have everyone apply sunscreen or sunblock. If you plan to be out for a while or your picnic is set to be at the beach, do remember to reapply every now and then.

Keeping things cool

A portable fan will come in handy when everyone starts to sweat or your little ones complain about heat. A water mist spray will also work wonders to help you and your family stay cool throughout your picnic.

Another useful tip by Tan Hua Sze is, “Ice always comes in handy. However, if you don’t want to lug a bag to your picnic spot, freeze your plastic water bottles the night before. These will serve as coolers for your drinks and cold food.”

First-aid

Being outdoors means having to put up with natural living things. To be safe, bring along a safety kit that is filled with essentials like insect repellent and first-aid items.

The likelihood that someone gets injured while playing is always there so having a kit will help you be prepared.

 

With all the busy schedules and stress-inducing tasks that we have to face on a daily basis, a day out with friends and family might just be what the doctor ordered. Picnics are great for whenever you need something different as an activity or dining experience. You don’t have to look far to take a short break from your day-to-day, just look out your window!

While being outdoors is a great alternative to working out and helps you stay active, nutritious picnic food will take your picnic to a wholesome level.