Get out the picnic blanket. Get your significant other. Pick the perfect spot. Bring the picnic basket! If you're single, have some friends and take yourself out for some al fresco dining with a picnic at the park. Here's what to pack for a picnic date, and some dishes from the Slow Living Kitchen that will make for a great meal outdoors.
The best picnics are the ones you don't have to think about — a little bit of preparation goes a long way. If you're interested in some historical picnic inspiration check out this documentary from 1944!
Picnic Planning Basics
Plan your day ahead of time
Make sure you're prepared and bring everything you need. If you're planning a long day, it might be worth packing your picnic in advance, so all you have to do is unpack and enjoy.
Pack everything separately, so it's easy to find what you need when setting up your food and drinks. Use small containers and bags, so nothing spills or gets lost in the bottom of your basket or bag. And make sure everything is sturdy enough to survive being squashed under other things during transit!
Plan your menu carefully
Think about what foods will go together well in terms of taste and texture (e.g., meat with vegetables). This will help ensure everyone enjoys their meal without getting too full too quickly! Also, consider how easy each dish is to prepare — some take longer than others, so leave.
Best Picnic Foods
Regarding picnics, there are many options for great picnic date foods to bring along. Of course, you could go with sandwiches or salads, but that's all too ordinary. Here are some great foods on hand that'll make your picnic stand out.
Potato Salad: Potato salad is the quintessential picnic food. It's easy to pack and travels well even if you don't have a cooler. If you're concerned about keeping mayonnaise-based salads cool, why not off for a warm potato salad instead?
Fruit Salad: A fresh fruit salad is another healthy option for picnics. If you're going with tradition, try adding a few different fruits like strawberries, pineapple, and blueberries to your favorite Jell-O mix. Also, you can mix some grapes or melon to make it more interesting.
Charcuterie Board: A charcuterie board is great for a picnic because it gives people something interesting to snack on. You can find pre-made charcuterie boards at most grocery stores today, but if you're feeling ambitious, try making your own with meats like salami, prosciutto, capicola cheeses, Cheddar, and Gouda.
Flavorful vegetables like carrots and cucumbers make excellent picnic foods. You can bring them raw and eat them straight from the bag or box.
Egg salad is another delicious option for picnics. It's easy to make and will keep you full until your next meal.
Finger foods are fun for your guests to eat without utensils, so plan to bring some potato chips or other snacks that can be eaten without plates or bowls.
Hard-boiled eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are delicious and are a great picnic option because you can make them ahead, they travel well, and are great cold. You can also add mayo or mustard for extra flavor.
Cold pasta salad: Pasta salad is another great picnic food because it's easy to make ahead of time and can be served at room temperature. Try adding pesto dressing or sun-dried tomatoes to your pasta salad for an Italian twist. For extra flavor and texture, add olives, cucumber slices, and cherry tomatoes.
Best Picnic Drinks
From water bottles and juice boxes to wine bottles and beer cans, there are plenty of options for picnicking beverages!
Non-alcoholic beverage option: a spirit-free drink option is great because it will keep you hydrated but gives an option to not drink! Lemonade is a great option for picnics because it's easy to transport and serve in bottles or cups without worrying about spills. In warmer weather, fruit juice and seltzer are an easy refreshing option as well. . When the temps get cooler, some warm apple cider in a thermos will really hit the spot.
White wine is great for picnics because it goes well with various foods, including cheese and other creamy dishes.
Alcoholic drinks are great for picnics because they help keep everyone happy and relaxed while they enjoy the outdoors and each other's company! If you're serving alcohol, it's best to have plenty of glasses available for people to share
Bottle of Wine: A bottle of wine makes an excellent way to relax while enjoying your picnic. Make sure to bring a reusable container with you to keep your drinks cold.
Picnic Gear to Pack
The following items will be a good start on having the best time and a stress-free date.
Bottle opener. Have a bottle opener on hand if you plan on bringing any beer bottles! This will ensure that everyone can enjoy their drinks without worrying about manually opening them up.
Picnic blanket. A good picnic blanket is a must. Not only does it protect your clothes from getting dirty, but it also helps keep you warm in case it gets cold during your trip. You can find many different types of blankets online or at local stores like Target or Walmart.
Picnic basket or bag: You'll need something to carry all of your food in. You could go for a classic picnic basket, but if you're going on a long hike, you may want to bring a backpack instead of something that will weigh down your arms or shoulders too much.
Blanket or tablecloth: Depending on where you're going to have your picnic, this may not be necessary. But if you're planning on having it outside with no shelter from the sun or rain, bring one along so that you can cover yourself up when needed.
Plates and utensils: You don't want to eat with your hands at a picnic! Make sure everyone has their own knives and containers to enjoy their meal without getting their hands dirty.
A cutting board can be handy when preparing food or setting up the picnic area. A cutting board also helps keep everything organized and clean.
Ice packs help keep food cool longer, which means less time sitting around waiting for things to cool down before eating them! You can store these freezer packs in the cooler or wrap them around bottles of wine to keep them chilled.
Mason jars are perfect for storing drinks and condiments during the picnic because they're sturdy enough to hold up under pressure but still fit easily into a bag or basket when transporting them from home to the park! Mason jars can also double as drinking glasses if you don't have enough wine glasses for everyone attending!
A cozy blanket is essential for keeping warm when it gets chilly out! It's also helpful to spread some snacks across your blanket so that everyone isn't reaching.
Trash bags. Plastic bags can come in handy if you don't want things like cigarette butts and other debris littering your space.
Utensils and cutting tools, serving gear, a sharp knife, and even forks and knives are good to have on hand, even if you are planning the mean around finger foods.
There's more to packing a picnic than just throwing some food in a basket. Sometimes you have to plan for weather, diners with different kinds of dietary restrictions, or well...ants! Here are some tips for crafting a date night picnic menu.
- \What will the weather be like? If it's going to be warm, ensure you don't bring anything that can spoil easily (like meat or dairy products). If it's going to be cold, think about items that can be served at room temperature or even warm up quickly (such as soup).
- Are there any dietary restrictions? Consider making sure options are available for those who follow special diets such as vegetarianism or veganism. Or try bringing something everyone can enjoy together — like fruit salad or brownies!
- Decide on an activity before you go. For example, if you want something more active than just sitting on a blanket and eating food, consider going on a hike or even renting bikes and riding through the park together. Another option is to visit an art museum or zoo where there will be plenty of things to occupy your minds while also enjoying each other's company.
- Pick an exciting location with good views so you can take pictures together. If you want something more intimate and romantic, try going to a local park or walking along the beach at sunset (or sunrise). You'll be able to enjoy each other's company while still having plenty of fun activities at hand for when it gets too cold or hot outside.