Recently, on one of the first truly warm days of spring, my toddler suggested a picnic in the park. How could I resist? That Sunday evening, in lieu of dinner around the table, we packed up and walked to our neighborhood park. She was ecstatic about “eating outside!”, while my husband and I enjoyed the warm setting sun, cool breeze, and exhilarating feeling that winter was finally over.
I invite you to take a picnic this weekend, or soon. Whether it’s just you and your significant other, with the kids, or a group of friends, it’s a fun way to connect with one another and enjoy the outdoors. I also invite you to do it in a healthy way and take care of the environment while you’re at it.
Walk Don’t Drive. We loaded up the stroller and enjoyed a casual walk to our neighborhood park, and left the car in the garage. You could bike as well, or ride your skateboard, or any other transportation that keeps your keys out of the ignition.
Reuse Your Containers. I put all of our food in reusable containers instead of tossing a bunch of baggies after our meal. It meant carrying dirty dishes home with us, but it also meant a lot less waste. I even poured our homemade blackberry lemonade in an empty wine bottle!
Eat Lightly. A picnic is best with finger foods, which are generally healthy. Finger foods also don’t require forks or spoons, so one less thing to toss in the trash. Keep your menu light instead of trying to load up on a big meal. It’s far less mess to deal with when you’re far from the kitchen sink and makes it more likely to have wholesome foods. We noshed on watermelon, grilled chicken (sliced at home), fresh guacamole, havarti cheese, whole grain crackers, bell pepper strips, strawberries, and cocoa-dusted almonds.
Play. Since you’re not eating a heavy meal and you’re not restricted to your dining room chair, get up and play before, after, and even during the meal if you like! Feel the grass in your toes, explore the trees, throw a frisbee, toss a ball, or roll down a hill, especially if you’re with the kids.
Keep it Fun. Make your picnic as fun as possible. We took some of my daughter’s tea party dishes, plastic appetizer plates shaped like flip-flops (not paper!), her doll joined us, and we all sat barefoot on the blanket. You’re eating outside, after all, so it’s OK to completely break the norm of your usual dinner manners.
Need another reason your picnic is green? It’s solar powered! With all the lights off at home, and dining by sunlight, you’re not burning any electricity while you eat.