Fun in the sun: planning a picnic to please everyone

Picnic at the Allotment Together

Top ideas for delicious picnic food – no soggy sandwiches – plus a checklist of what to pack for the perfect day of al fresco family fun

With warmer weather and school holidays here, it’s the perfect time to plan an exciting day out with family or friends. You don’t have to break the bank, though. Why not embrace the joy of a picnic and the freedom to explore nature?

Easy picnic recipes

Salmon, bean and pea fishcake bites

We’ve got a selection of delicious nibbles and refreshing drinks you can prepare in advance.

For snacks, pack chopped fresh fruit and vegetables such as apples, strawberries, carrots, peppers or cucumbers, instead of crisps. Get creative by whipping up a red lentil or pineapple dip to add a burst of flavour to your fresh nibbles.

For larger bites, try our mouth-watering hummus and beetroot salsa wraps, coronation chicken sandwiches or salmon, bean and fishcake bites.

For healthier sweet options, give our banana and peanut butter flapjacks or raspberry choc mini muffins a go. They can be prepared in advance and frozen for your convenience.

For more inspiration, download our Alfresco dining cookbook.

Lastly, don’t forget to keep hydrated while enjoying the warm weather. Keep a supply of water with you and avoid sugary drinks. If you’re craving something more exciting, why not jazz up your water by adding a squeeze of lemon, lime or some mint? Or try sugar-free squash for a burst of flavour.

> Browse all our picnic recipes

What to take on a picnic

Being outside can mean lots of sun exposure. Take care of yourself when the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm. Find shade during that time and use at least 30 SPF sunscreen. Wear a hat, sunglasses or a long-sleeve shirt or trousers to protect your skin.

Don’t forget to pack a few essentials for your adventure:

  • Picnic blanket
  • Cool box, bag or basket to keep food and drinks chilled
  • Plates, glasses and utensils as needed
  • Napkins, wipes or sanitiser to keep things clean
  • Bin bag or carrier bag for easy clean-up and to keep the picnic area tidy

Where to go for your picnic

By venturing outside, children get a break from screens and sedentary routines, and spending time outdoors as a family is a great way to get everyone more active. Being physically active as part of everyday life can protect you from cancer, and that’s why it’s one of our Cancer Prevention Recommendations.

Family in park throwing frisbee

  1. Don’t feel like going far? Set up a cosy picnic spot in your garden if you have one. Decorate with cushions and blankets, and enjoy a picnic at home. Get crafty outdoors by making a spinner and playing the wiggle, hop or creep game.
  2. Team up with family, friends or a community group and head to your local park with a basket full of picnic food. Everyone can contribute something delicious!
  3. Find a nature or hiking trail and picnic amid trees and wildlife. Make it even more exciting for children by going on a scavenger hunt, exploring the sights and sounds of the outdoors.
  4. If you can reach a beach, lake, river or pond, relax by the soothing waters. Enjoy outdoor games with children such as flying a rainbow fish windsock.
  5. Visit a farm or orchard that allows picnicking and eat surrounded by countryside. Encourage your children to bring their favourite activities along: pack a football, card games to challenge each other, or a colouring book or scrapbook to bring out their artistic side.

With these tips in mind, you can enjoy being in nature, savouring delicious food and drinks, and creating wonderful memories. Happy picnicking!

Read more

> Making healthy eating fun for children
> How to make healthy bao buns at home

Eat Move Learn is our healthy living programme for children aged 7–11. Our team – Flower, Mixer, Searcher and Pedal – teach children about healthy eating, food and being active.