Friday, July 02, 2010
Pack a Picnic in Minutes | Family Economics
In the summer, my family likes to take spontaneous day trips and pack a picnic to take along with us. I’ve learned to pack picnic lunches in record time. Last summer we hosted three of my daughter’s friends for a few days. When they woke up at about 10:00 a.m. (teenage girls can sleep late!), we decided to go to a state park for a hike. I didn’t have any picnic food in the house, so I had to run to the store. Even so, all nine of us were packed and out the door in less than an hour.
Here are some tips for making a quick picnic lunch:
• Keep your picnic menu the same. Unless you picnic often, the foods won’t get boring. It’s so much faster to pack when you don’t have to think up what to eat. The standard fare for my family is turkey sandwiches, cheese crackers, grapes and sandwich cookies. Depending on the circumstances, I’ll add other items like carrot sticks or chips.
• Have each person make their own sandwich, if they are old enough. On the other hand, I’ve also found it quick to make everyone’s sandwich myself using the assembly line method. Either way, be sure to write names on the sandwich bags with a permanent marker. This is important if the sandwiches aren’t all the same.
• Often, I remove crackers, chips and cookies from the store packaging and put them in a zip top bag. I find zip top bags more convenient for packing because they seal tight.
• Keep the ice pack for your cooler in the freezer so it’s always ready to go.
• Don’t forget the drinks. I pack water bottles and juice bags. Sometimes I’ll fill a gallon size thermos with ice water and bring it along with cups.
• Re-useable grocery bags are handy to pack your picnic in. You don’t have to have a picnic basket.
• I also throw in a roll of paper towels to use for napkins and clean up and some plastic shopping bags to gather trash.
All that’s left is where to go! I’d like a day at the zoo. What about you?