Food for a picnic laid out on a blanket

What to Bring on a Picnic

When it comes to picnics there are three essential ingredients: good weather, good company and good food. While fine weather and fun friends may be a little tricky at times, you can always rely on delicious food if you follow these simple rules on what to bring on a picnic.

Picnics are all about finger food and simple salads that can travel well and will not make too much of a mess. When thinking about what food to bring on a picnic try to keep it simple and take foods that you love to eat. A day out with a picnic should be a fun treat and not a traditional three-course meal, so try to stay relaxed during your preparation.

Ideal Picnic Foods

If you are looking for picnic food suggestions that will cater to all tastes, here are a few of the most popular items for you to add to your grocery list:

  • Sandwiches, but hold the tomatoes and cucumber as there is nothing worse than a soggy sandwich.
  • Pies and sausage rolls.
  • Jam jar salads, which are easy to carry and are very versatile (there are tons of recipes you can try).
  • Sliced fruit, such as watermelon or pineapple that won’t become too slushy in your picnic basket.
  • Cakes that do not have too much soft icing or buttercream, which could melt in the heat.
  • Dips, such as hummus or guacamole.
  • Potato salad.
  • Chips.
  • A large bottle of homemade lemonade or fruit-infused water (be careful if you are using glass).

Anything that can be easily packed and doesn't require constant refrigeration is ideal. You can always pack items in a cooler, but if you are staying outside for a long time, you don't want your food to melt or spoil.

Additional Picnic Essentials

We know picnics are all about the food, but there are a few other essentials that you won’t want to forget, including:

  • Wet wipes and a trash bag for cleaning up afterwards.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Bug spray or citronella candles to keep the midges and mosquitoes at bay.
  • Bottle opener or corkscrew.
  • Plates, cups and cutlery.
  • Cooler or ice packs.
  • Games (if you are planning a fun picnic with friends and family), such as a frisbee, soccer or footballs and kites.

Easy Picnic Food Suggestions for Everyone

If you are planning a day out with your family, then you will want easy picnic food that caters to all tastes. Picnic finger food is ideal for little hands, as eating with a knife and fork can be difficult at the best of times for children, never mind when they are resting their plate on the grass.

Great picnic foods for family outings include:

  • Vegetable platters and hummus, which are favorites for many families.
  • Large family pies that can be pre-sliced.
  • Pre-made fruit kebabs stored in a cool box.
  • Fun picnic sandwiches on a stick.
  • Pinwheels.
  • Old fashioned lemonade for a treat.
  • Hand pies.
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Romantic Picnic Ideas for Couples

Picnics are not just great for families — they can make for a romantic date too! Falling in love does not have to be expensive. All you need to do is pack your favorite foods and find a beautiful spot to relax. If you want to up your picnic game and add a little romance, these foods, in addition to our suggested staples, will do the trick:

  • A bottle of sparkling wine/champagne.
  • Strawberries.
  • Gourmet picnic loaf.
  • A selection of cheese and biscuits.
  • Antipasto skewers.
  • Olives.
  • Almonds.
  • Pickled vegetables.
  • Luxury chocolate brownies.

Whatever type of picnic you are planning, the key is to bring enough food to graze on over a few hours as the best picnics are the ones that are taken at a leisurely pace.

It's All About Presentation

Showing your food a little TLC will go a long way in making it look more presentable. Investing in a high-quality picnic basket will make your experience feel much more fun, and using parchment paper and recyclable boxes are more appetizing than old plastic tubs or wrap. Jam jars are great for mixing salads and cold pasta dishes, and enamel serving dishes look better than eating your food straight from the packet.

A great tip for berries and other delicate fruits is to store them in a thermos over some ice so that they do not spoil during travel. The ice can also be used to cool drinks and add some extra flavor.

If you plan on having lots of picnics, then investing in reusable enamel plates and bowls not only adds to the aesthetics of your alfresco meal, but it is kind to the environment too.

The most important thing to remember when having a picnic is to have fun! Once your food is planned, prepped and packed, all that is left is to enjoy your day and look forward to your delicious creations.