I love food. I love having fun with food and I love finding ways to make picnic food fun for my kids. When the nice weather rolls around where I live (finally!) I am all about getting the kids outside as much as possible. Let them burn off some of that pent-up energy! And why not eat lunch outside?
Whether we stay home, walk to the beach down the street, hop in the boat during the weekends or are visiting our favorite parks, I love packing treats with a spin on them. Today I’m going to share how you can make picnic food fun this summer.
Cut sandwiches into shapes
I don’t know why but my kids love when I make shapes out of their sandwiches. I have lots of different cookie cutters so I go straight to whatever holiday or time of the year it is and break out those fun shapes. My kids favorite sandwich these days is ham, cheese and butter. Yes, I said butter. Aren’t they adventurous? We graduated from just butter and cheese so we’ve come a long way! This is a great way to dress up any kind of sandwich.
The expression I see on my son’s face when he opens up his sandwich container and sees “the fishy” I cut his sandwich into, makes my day. That smile is well worth the extra two minutes it takes me.
Add smiles and eyes and decorations
Use jellybeans, raisins, or chocolate chips to decorate the sandwiches! Buy good thick bread to stick them in. Even though your instinct may to use thin bread so the cookie cutter will cut through, the strength of the bread is more important. The bread needs to be firm and thick to keep its shape. When pressing down, gently slide the sandwich back and forth along a cutting board and you’ll see how easy it is to pop it through.
Put it on a stick!
Are my kids the only ones that love anything on a stick? Get creative and think of what your kids love to eat or even what you might like them to try. I don’t know why but my daughter reaches for fruits she normally doesn’t eat when they are put on a stick. Here are some creative combos for you:
Pepperoni & Cheese Pizza: Cube up bread into squares, cut up cheese sticks and start skewering with a piece of bread, cheese, pepperoni and end it with another cube of bread. Bring sauce for dipping!
Fruits: Strawberries, cantaloupe, melon, and watermelon are our favorites. Mix together fluff and whipped cream cheese for a fun fruit dip or bring along some Nutella.
Caprese: Skewer up some cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls and throw some basil on there. Don’t forget your balsamic dressing for dipping!
Hawaiian Style: Break out some leftover ham and cut it into chunks. Skewer it with some cut up pineapple. A good dipping sauce for this one would be some tangy or sweet BBQ sauce. You can check out my homemade recipe here.
Roll ’em, roll ’em, roll ’em
I love making these Low-Carb Turkey Club Bites. You can make whatever kind of wrap sandwich you want and slice it into fun-sized bites. Just add your favorite deli meats and condiments to a healthy wrap, roll it, chill it, skewer the rolls to keep them in place and slice! Simple as that. These are great for pool parties and cook-outs too. Again, see above, kids love food on a stick!
Tips: Chilling the wraps for at least an hour before slicing them helps them hold together once sliced. Insert the toothpicks first, then cut between the toothpicks using a serrated knife. Use pesto or hummus for a change from your usual condiments!
Pass the Sushi!
I know what you’re thinking! My kid will never eat sushi! Well, I know mine wouldn’t, but I’m talking about fruit sushi! I had fun with this at a picnic we had a few weeks ago. Both of my kids loved helping me make them too because they love using a rolling pin. Follow the instructions for my Fruit Sushi below and experiment with your family’s favorite fruit. Your kids will love them!
Tips: You want good quality bread for these too. You also want to make sure you buy whipped cream cheese because it’s easier to spread. If your rolling pin is too heavy for your kiddos and you happen to have a play-dough rolling pin (yes, we do!) that worked great for my little guy.
- 4 slices of thick white bread
- 2 tbsp of whipped cream cheese
- Strawberries, sliced thin
- Cantaloupe, sliced thin
- Melon, sliced thin
- Or any of your favorite fruits!
- Cut off the crust on each slice of bread.
- On a cutting board using a rolling pin and flatten the bread. (It takes maybe 3-4 rolls for each piece.)
- Spread a half tablespoon of whipped cream cheese evenly on each slice.
- Place the fruit on the bottom of the bread leaving the top half empty.
- Roll the bread starting with the bottom and secure by placing it seam side down.
- Chill for an hour before cutting with a serrated knife.
Now that the picnic food is ready, make sure you’ve got these other essentials.
Don’t forget to bring along:
1. Cold drinks and ice in a cooler. Everyone needs to stay hydrated!
2. Utensils and napkins. As crazy as it sounds I’m always so busy trying to remember the perfect snacks and drinks for my kids that a lot of the time I forget the easiest essentials. Keep a few in the pocket of your cooler or picnic basket!
3. Something to sit on. A blanket or folding chairs will come in handy.
4. Garbage bags. It took me a few times to remember to bring a garbage bag just in case there wasn’t a trash can where we were going.
5. Bat and ball. A pick up game is always fun at a family picnic.
6. Bicycles. We love throwing the kids’ bikes in the back when we hit our local park. Don’t forget the helmets!
7. Bubbles. It’s a kid thing but it’s my go-to when my son can’t quite do what his big sister is doing. I distract him with bubbles!
What is your favorite way to make picnic food fun for your family? What’s on your picnic essentials packing list? We would love some new ideas!