**This post is sponsored by Walmart. All content, ideas, and words are my own.
I’m back with another picnic. I realize picnics aren’t for everyone, but for me it’s been a family mainstay since I was a kid. Now as an adult I love that my kids like them as much as I do. Admittedly, there was a time when the kids were younger and it just seemed like more work than I could muster, but what I’ve learned over the years is a picnic should be above all else – simple and easy to assemble.
With that I’m sharing some of my tips for easy picnicking.
- Location: Know the general lay of the land. This helps when you are trying to decide between bringing chairs or throwing down a blanket. Also you want to make sure if the place is prone to bugs you have food covers of some sort.
- Weather condition: I’m not saying you need to look it up in advance, because often times picnics are spontaneous. But do be aware that if it’s topping 85-plus degree, things like mayonnaise dishes need to be on ice. If you are going near the beach, bring some blankets incase the ocean breeze picks up.
- Food: Keep it simple. Don’t bring anything that needs more than one final touch. You don’t want to be assembling any step-intensive dish, while everyone is running around having fun. Make sure whatever it is you are serving is “room-temperature” friendly. You don’t want worrying about food that wilts, congeals or spoils.
- Essentials: Bring some trays to place your bowls and dishes on, it helps if you are on the grass or on the beach and the ground is uneven. Grab a few trash bags, it makes cleaning up easy and an accessible trash can may not be near you. I always bring one or two kitchen towels, it’s nice for spills and invariably I always need one to wipe down my hands as I’m setting up food. Have a picnic tool bag that includes: scissors, a small paring knife, a small cutting board and hand sanitizer. When it comes to plates – I usually avoid paper plates because they blow over too easy and the flimsiness seems more prone to spills and plate flips. With that, I opt for melamine plates—still light enough to pack but sturdy enough to avoid the aforementioned accidents and you can easily cut on them if needed. For the flatware, I skip over plastic and grab for my everyday flatware. I like the extra weight for cutting into food if needed and I don’t have to worry about it blowing off my plate.
- Extras: While it’s not necessary to have flowers, I always bringing a few because it brightens every setting and gives it a nice touch. I find that the nicer I make the setting the longer everyone wants to stay. Pillows are nice touch for comfort –again, it keeps everyone lounging around.
- Games: Always have a few when kids are involved. Our game of choice is always wiffle ball, but between games, I also make sure there is a deck cards, a Frisbee and if space is limited there’s always zombie tags for the little ones. Having some books also helps too, while it’s not a game, it’s nice to have when the kids are exhausted from play and need a break.
- Electronics: We don’t do them. The idea of picnics is to get out, enjoy the outdoors and have fun with one another, so I usually just have everyone leave their phones in the car.
Now that the foundation for easy picnicking is laid out, let’s talk about how your next picnic can have a big impact and help reduce the 40 million Americans who are struggling with food insecurity. From now until May 20th Walmart is running their “Fight Hunger. Spark Change” campaign, a long-standing effort in which Walmart aims to end food insecurity, and that has Walmart partnering with many of their manufacturers to donate $0.10 to Feeding America for each of their select products that are purchased. Most of the select items are the types of food I already buy (i.e. Hidden Valley Ranch, Gold Peak Tea, Great Value Bow Tie Pasta, Pepsi Bubly Water, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, JIF Peanut Butter and more). The $0.10 is enough to secure at least 1 meal on behalf of local food banks – up to each manufacturer’s maximum donation. When you purchase a select item at a Walmart store at Walmart.com you’ll help secure a meal through Feeding America for families in need.
I love it when companies like Walmart make it easy and effortless to contribute and help with a cause that I deeply care about.