It’s the summer and for me that means it is picnic season. I don’t know if it is a British thing or not but picnics are the cornerstone of our summers and always have been. If I want to get my daughters excited about anything I simply have to mention the possibility of a picnic and they are there with bells and whistles on. It is also safe to say that not all picnics are made equal. Of course, the basic sandwich and crisp picnic has it’s place and there is nothing wrong with that at all. But what about when you try to take your picnic to the next level! To give it an exciting edge? And not just by buying that Fortnum and Mason picnic hamper you have always wanted! Just me? Here is how to have the best waste free picnic with your kids and to keep it completely plastic, cutlery free and environmentally friendly.
Whilst my kids are more worried about the food I am more worried about the location. One of the best picnics we ever had was in our back garden so don’t underestimate the value of keeping it simple. When out and about I look for a nice grassy spot, flat and with a bit of shade.
I avoid picnic benches when possible as they take the magic out of sitting on the floor to eat your food. I also avoid sandy beaches. The notion of having a picnic as the beach, overlooking the sea, is so romantic. But the reality is quite different. Especially when kids are involved. Plus, if you are picnicking at peak times the chances are you will be battling the flying wildlife for your food too.
Only the basics are required. A hamper or bag and a blanket. We use a blanket with a waterproof underneath so that even when there has been recent rainfall (a common issue in the UK) then your blanket won’t get too wet to sit on.
As for the picnic hamper, use what you have if you don’t want to buy new. I have always wanted a proper wicker hamper and now that the girls are older and our picnics are getting bigger I fully intend on buying one. The great thing about these is that they come with everything but the food included. And as they are not made with nylon or plastic they hold quite the appeal for me on my anti plastic rampage.
“You can’t possibly have a picnic waste free”, I hear you cry. “What about all the cling film, the cutlery?” Well it can be done. Instead of cling film use wax wraps or stainless steel lunch boxes. Even Tupperware is ok if you have it. And my picnic below doesn’t require any cutlery at all. By using metal skewers and lolly sticks there is no waste as you take it all home with you to reuse. If you don’t have metal ones then bamboo is fine. This isn’t waste free of course, but it is environmentally friendly as they are biodegradable and highly sustainable.
This is where things can get really special, and this is hopefully the part of the post you have come to read. The food. Like I said before, there is nothing wrong with a sandwich and packet of crisps picnic. But, you could always do this instead:
Oh yes! Sandwiches on a stick. How much more fun does that sound? And so much easier to prepare in many ways. No need to individually wrap them. You could make them all up and wrap them in one great big beeswax wrap. Simply get some bread, crispy rolls or baguettes work best and cut into cubes. Then alternate the fillings you want, such as cucumber, tomatoes, olives, ham, cheese, deli meats. You can even butter the bread cubes if you want or spread them with some cream cheese or pesto. You imagination is the only limitation.
Check out this amazing post with more ideas on sandwich skewers by My Fussy Eater HERE.
If you are out and about for the whole day then you probably don’t want to be carrying ice cream around with you. Even the coolest of cool boxes won’t be able to stop them melting. Instead treat yourselves to some watermelon lollies. Cut a flat section through the watermelon and then cut this into triangles. Using a small sharp knife cut a small hole in the skin of the triangle segments. Then push in a metal or bamboo ice lolly stick, et voila!
We would all like to get more fruit into our little ones. But they have other ideas. One way I get lots of fruit into my kids is with smoothies. But the other is by putting the fruit on a stick. Yep more skewers. Again, your imagination is the only limitation, or maybe what you have in your fruit bowl at the time.
This is one of my favourite no bake treats. It is soooo easy to make and even the kids can get involved. Ok, so it isn’t exactly healthy and I don’t believe in adding raisins to my one, that defeats the point of rocky road. But with the fruit and watermelon from above a sugary treat won’t matter too much. To keep the picnic as waste free as possible wrap these in wax wraps or take a small container for them.
A drink can make or break a picnic for me. Water is fine if you like it. I don’t very much. So I like to go one step further and make my own lemonade. Oh yes! Homemade lemonade. There is nothing like it…. Until you discover watermelon lemonade. Oh my tastebuds! Calm down.
Make it up and put it in a large flask or individual reusable water bottles. You can even take some reusable straws with you to drink from if you have a hamper with cups included.
Check out this delicious recipe by Cooking Classy HERE.