There's no better way to enjoy a sunny day than to pack lunch with the kids and head outdoors for a picnic! Here are some ways to spruce up healthy snacks and add twists on traditional favorites.
Perfect Picnic Menu
Easy-to-Make Veggie Packs
Homemade Trail Mix
Turkey Sandwiches With a Twist
Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches
Get the Pack Together
Gather the kids to prepare some easy-to-eat veggie snack packs before the big event. As you chop green peppers, celery and cucumbers, the kids can toss them into baggies along with cherry tomatoes and baby carrots. For extra oomph, kids can sprinkle a bit of shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese into the packs. Don't forget to wash the veggies, then pat them dry so they stay crispy and fresh!
Trail mix is not only a healthy snack, but it's a great way to get the family together. Put out bowls of fun ingredients like dried bananas, milk and white chocolate chips, almonds, shredded coconut, raisins, popcorn, pecans, peanuts, pretzels, pistachios, cashews and cereal for an easy and fun way for each member of the family to make their own customized trail mix. Make sure to store each family member's custom concoction in its own airtight, hard-sided container (labeled with their name!) so the ingredients remain fresh and intact.
A Zesty Spread
Turkey sandwiches are an all-time favorite, but with a spiced-up dressing, they go from same-old, same-old to something new. The night before the picnic, combine one tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese, two teaspoons of lemon juice and two tablespoons of light mayonnaise into a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and use this as your spread along with sliced turkey and lettuce for a simple sandwich that tastes far beyond basic. If storing your sandwiches overnight, be sure to top bread with lettuce first to avoid soggy sandwiches!
The best fix-it for a hot day, sore throat -- or even just a case of the blues -- has always been ice cream. Inspired by chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry ice cream cookie sandwiches combine sophisticated taste with kid-friendly basics for a special dessert. Using store-bought or homemade double-chocolate cookies, scoop 1/3 cup of strawberry ice cream on top of six cookies. Top each with another cookie to form a strawberry-chocolate cookie sandwich that's sure to be a hit with your entire family.
Water bottles can play a double-duty role as both refreshing drinks and ice packs to keep your food cold. Before freezing the bottles, pour out an inch of water to give the ice space to expand. On the day of the picnic, lay frozen water bottles along the bottoms and sides of your cooler for a convenient way to keep foods fresh. Heavier items should be packed first while lighter foods -- especially those that can get crushed -- can go on top. Don't forget to bring extra condiments like salt, pepper and mustard, as well as extra napkins, utensils and a large sheet upon which to spread your feast.