Healthy and fun picnic ideas

Picnics were voted number 1 by Explore Learning tutors in our poll of favourite free things to do with your family this summer. However it can sometimes be a challenge to think of different foods that make the picnic experience fun and varied. Here’s a few to try while you’re out and about in the sunshine (we hope) this holiday. 

Salad sticks - Skewers definitely add a bit of excitement to bite-sized food. Thread some peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella balls and olives on to wooden skewers for a perfect pre-portioned salad.

Veggie crisps - Make your own vegetable chips. Kale crisps are surprisingly popular with my children and very easy to make. Wash and remove any woody stalks, dry, season with salt and pepper and scrunch in a little olive oil. Cook on a baking tray or crisper tray at 150 degrees for 7-10 minutes until they are dry and crispy but not too brown. 

Rice balls - Sticky sushi rice is perfect for picnics. Instead of rolling into elegant sushi which can take some skill, chop and combine ingredients with the rice and roll into balls. You could use avocado and smoked salmon or tinned tuna and sweetcorn, mix with some spicy mayonnaise.

Salad jars - Layer your favourite salad ingredients in a jar for a portable, healthy salad. This is a fun one for your kids to make themselves. Start with their favourite dressing on the bottom, then add protein e.g. egg, chicken, ham, cheese, tofu, top with veggies e.g. sweetcorn, cucumber, soya beans, lettuce. Shake the jar to mix everything together when you're ready to eat.

Omelette wraps - Love eggs but not the smell of egg sandwiches then omelette wraps are a great solution. Spread some salad cream on your wrap, whisk up an egg - add some cheese, ham, veg etc (make sure it’s finely chopped and only add a little so it doesn’t fall apart) and cook in the frying pan. Add to the wrap and roll.

Mini calzone - Make a simple pizza dough with 400g plain flour, 1 x 7g sachet of fast action yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp olive oil and 225ml of water. Mix together and knead for a minute. Rest for 10-15 minutes then split into 4 small balls. Roll out and fill with tomato sauce, cheese, your favourite pizza toppings. You could even go sweet with nutella, marshmallows and strawberries. Fold over so your ingredients are in the middle and pinch together the edges of the dough. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 190 degrees until the dough has turned golden and crisp.

Cheese cracker sandwiches - A square of cheese between two crackers makes for a simple easy-to-transport snack, there’s lots of different crackers to choose from to make it varied and why not include a slice of apple or some grapes to add a little juiciness. 

Snack cones or cups - instead of crisps and chocolate bars, fill small paper bags or cups with some of these ingredients to make the ultimate picnic snack. You could include a mixture of dried cereal, nuts and seeds for a protein and healthy fat boost, dried fruit such as raisins and cranberries, pretzels and popcorn for a salty crunch and finish off with some chocolate chips or M&Ms for a fun treat.

Frozen yoghurt bark - Okay this might not make it all the way to the picnic but it’s a great one to make if you’re picnicking in the garden at home. Pick up our activity booklet which includes the recipe and a whole lot more from your local Explore Learning centre or download online for more ideas to grow healthy bodies and minds this summer.

We hope you have fun wherever your picnics take you and please share any of your favourite picnic foods with us so we can try when we’re out and about too.

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