A Parent’s guide to…. healthy picnics

Did you know that July is National Picnic Month? We love a good picnic with friends and family, it’s a lovely opportunity to spend some time in the great outdoors and eat some delicious food – and you can even get the kids involved in the food prep too.  

What’s more, during these strange times, picnics are a safe way to have lunch with members from other households in line with current social distancing guidelines.  

But while a leisurely picnic should be a relaxing, fun experience – there’s quite a lot to plan before you set off; from social distancing rules to preparing healthy and balanced food. But no need to stress, here’s our guide to having a safe and healthy picnic.  

Check the guidelines

Before you head out on your picnic, check the latest government guidelines as they’re changing frequently. At the time of writing this post, you are allowed to picnic outdoors in a group of up to six people from different households, or you can meet in larger groups if everyone is exclusively from two households. You must remain 2 meters away from anybody you do not live with. 

The perfect picnic spot

Finding a great spot for your picnic could be in your garden (if you’re lucky enough to have one), the park, the beach, a local nature reserve or woodland. Some National Trust gardens even welcome picnickers – just check it’s somewhere with lots of space to remain socially distanced from anybody from a different household!  

Don't forget the essentials

As well as the yummy food, you’ll need some essentials – here are some we have thought of: 

  • Hand sanitiser  
  • Water  
  • A picnic blanket 
  • Plates  
  • Cutlery  
  • Cups 
  • A bin bag for all your rubbish (please make sure you put it in a bin at the venue or take it home with you 😁 
  • Sun cream /hats
  • A football – or some other (socially distanced!) outdoor games you can play 
Glorious food!

The food is arguably the best and most important part of a picnic, but making a healthy picnic can be a struggle with firm favourites like the high fat sausage roll in play. Here’s a list of healthy foods you can take along, with some recipe links to try as well: 

 

  • Carrot sticks, Cucumber sticks  sliced peppers, celery and bread sticks  
  • Low fat hummus, tzatziki, taramasalata  
  • Sandwiches and/or wraps, our favourites are: ham and cheese, soft cheese and cucumber, tuna sweetcorn, chicken salad, egg and cress, humous salad wrap but there’s so many more delicious combination to try! 
  • Fruit kebabs  
  • Homemade popcorn (or the low salt and sugar varieties)   
  • Malt loaf  
  • Dried fruit 
  • Sugar free jelly (you can buy this in pots or make your own, why not try adding some tinned fruit when making it!)  
  • Cherry tomatoes  
  • Fruit salad  
  • Tuna and potato salad find the recipe here  
  • Crustless mini quiche, why not try adding your favourite vegetables, find the recipe here 

 

Sharing is NOT caring right now!

Whilst we stay alert to the virus, make sure you do not share plates, cutlery, food or drink amongst households. If you are meeting up with people that you do not live with, ensure everybody brings their own picnic and essential items!  

Portion size

An important thing to remember when planning for a picnic is portion size. With so much lovely food to pick at, it can be easy to have a large portions and keep going back for second helpings! Try to limit this by only taking as much food as you need. 

Try new things

A picnic is a great way of getting children to try new foods. Get them involved in the preparation of the food and ask them which new food(s) they would like to try at the picnic. If you start the discussion ahead of the time at which they have to eat it and broach it in a conversational way – they are more likely to give something new a try. 

So what are you waiting for – probably a sunny day, we do live in England after all – get planning and get out there for your fun, healthy and safely socially distanced picnic!  

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