7 Tips for a Healthy Green Picnic
Picnics are my favorite way to spend a sunny summer day with good friends or family, especially when it is spontaneous!
It can be in a park, by the lake, sea or riverside, or even in a backyard.
It is more than† just fun; our bodies and whole beings are nourished from the earth, the sky, and the clean air.
7 tips to make it really work
1. Start with Great Healthy Recipes:
- Healthy Potato Salad: For some people a picnic is not a picnic without potato salad.† Here is a healthy vegan one: Potato Salad
- Avocado Vegetable Dip: Much fresher and† better than the grocery store dips: Avocado Vegetable Dip
2.† Donít Get Sick:
People can get food poisoning when they go on picnics.† There is no reason to suffer if you take a few simple precautions. Much food safety is related to meat so if you eliminate meat like I do then there is one less thing to think about.
Wash your hands before preparing food and right on site. You can set up a water container with a spigot and soap to wash with hands. As a very last resort, waterless hand sanitizers or disposable hand wipes can be used. I always carry a sanitizer made with safe natural ingredients so I donít pollute myself and the environment with chemicals.
Wash those filthy watermelons skins! The skins of thick, firm skin fruits and vegetables transport bacteria from all over the world.† Scrub them well before cutting so as not to transfer bacteria to the inside of the fruit or vegetable.
Keep food cold. Potato and pasta salads should be kept cold until serving.† Mayonnaise is not the main problem with these salads. Potatoes, eggs, and pasta can produce harmful bacteria; chill them before combining to make the salad. Keep the salads and all fresh foods cold until serving and after serving.
3.† Donít Get Stung (naturally):
It might be debatable whether DEET, the main ingredient in most mosquito repellents, is harmful to your health at suggested dosages BUT NO ONE would try to argue that it is GOOD for your health.
Why then should we be using valuable earth resources to manufacture and transport something that in the long run is questionable for individual health and negative to the environment?
The most common alternative to DEET formulas are those with citronella.† This doesnít last as long but may be more than adequate for a picnic.
Many people use essential oils as repellents. These generally are even less effective on the mosquito or fly side but are actually good for your health.
I just found a good one I like called Citronella Outdoor Lotion that has citronella, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil in it.
What is your favorite natural repellent?
4.†† Donít Get Burnt (naturally):
Many people are concerned that popular sunscreens have additives which when absorbed through the skin, have long term health consequences.
I donít use creams often myself.† Native cultures who deal with a LOT of sun like in the desert are not silly enough to run around in muscle shirts and bikinis.† I follow their example and wear a hat or long sleeves. Iím interested, though, in what sunscreens YOU have found that work and are natural.
5. Green Clean Up!
Acting green means thinking about everyone long term, not just yourself. Take your rubbish home or throw it in covered garbage and recycle bins to prevent attracting yellow jackets, rodents, or other wildlife. Keep our nature beautiful.
If you used a grill to grill your vegetables then clean it before you leave and place trash in a covered bin so the animals and bugs donít get in.
6. Have a Backup Plan:
Some parks have covered buildings with picnic tables. We have sometimes had to picnic from an open-door car.† If the worst happens, a picnic indoors is still fun.
7. Keep it simple Öand casual:
You donít need much for a great picnic. A basket, a blanket and a loaf of bread is traditional. Sometimes I just throw a few snacky things into a bag and go for a walk and picnic when the time comes. Picnics need to stay in the laid-back category.
Pretend you are French. They know how to have fun! The word picnic comes from the French word piquenique. Originally at these piqueniques, everyone would bring food to the event in a way similar to what we call potlucks today and they were indoors. After the French Revolution, royal parks were opened to the public and “picnicking,” a popular activity.
My Own Experiences of Picnics:
I remember my father coming home from work and singing ďWeíre going on a picnic, picnic picnicÖ..weíre going on a picnic!Ē At that point we would start getting ready to go; within half an hour we were all piled into the back of our pickup truck and off we went to a secluded wild spot near Edmonton where there were no other people, just our family. We would gather twigs and wood; our father would build a fire. After it was going; potatoes and onions were put straight into the fire without foil as we did not use it in those days. Yes, they came out black so we would cut into them and eat what was in the middle with butter and it was so yummy.
Have you been on any picnics lately? What do you put in your picnic basket?
Co-authored with Randy Fritz who made this post more fun.