Great Picnic Foods and Picnic Ideas

Picnics can be fun and easy!


It will soon be picnic season again - that great American pastime with great American recipes! Picnics are an extremely popular pastime here in the United States, as I suppose they are all over the globe. There’s just something about dining in the great outdoors that makes everything taste better. Besides, picnics are a lot of fun, no matter where you go. By planning ahead, your picnic will go off without a hitch. The first thing you’ll need to decide is where you’ll have this outdoor repast. It doesn’t have to be anywhere special or exotic – you can take your own fun with you!

Below are some picnic ideas for foods, beverages, and other vital essentials:


Summer sausage is easy to transport.
Summer sausage is easy to transport.
American recipes like cold fried chicken are wonderful for picnics.
American recipes like cold fried chicken are wonderful for picnics.

Picnic ideas for meats

 

Meats that are eaten cold are best for picnics. You can make these into sandwiches, wraps, or pita pockets. If you don’t want sandwiches and such, consider chicken salad, shrimp salad, seafood salad, or ham salad. These are great when eaten with crackers. Other picnic ideas for meats are cold fried chicken, cold boiled shrimp, and summer sausage. Be sure to take along any condiments you want with the meats, including cocktail sauce, spicy mustard, and barbecue sauce.

Veggies and dips are great for picnics!
Veggies and dips are great for picnics!

Picnic ideas for veggies and sides

 

You’ll probably want to include some veggies on your picnic. The easiest vegetables for picnics are those that are served raw. Just slice cucumbers, yellow squash, or zucchini, and leave cherry or grape tomatoes and baby carrots whole. You might also want to include some broccoli and cauliflower florets. All of these can be placed in Ziploc bags so that they’re ready to eat once you arrive at your destination. Serve them with a chilled dip.

Another good vegetable dish for picnics is bean salad. This is easy to make, and it’s delicious. Just combine a can of cut green beans, a can of yellow wax beans, and a can of dark red kidney beans. Add some red onion, Italian dressing, vinegar, salt and pepper, and sugar to taste. This is better if it sits in the fridge overnight.

Other side dishes that are good picnic ideas are pasta salad, corn salad, potato salad, slaw, and black-eyed pea salad.

 

Don't forget the fruit!
Don't forget the fruit!

Fruits

 

Chilled fruits are a must on a picnic. If you choose fruits with a high water content, like watermelon or grapes, you won’t even have to pack drinks if you don’t want to. Eating such fruits will quench your thirst. Prepare any fruits before leaving home. Slice larger fruits and place them in Ziploc bags. Smaller fruits like grapes, fresh cherries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries can be washed and placed whole in plastic bags or containers.

Be careful not to let the fruits become frozen. This can happen if you place them directly in the ice in a cooler. Freezing often changes the taste, texture, and appearance of fruits.

Desserts for picnics

 

Angel food cake makes a nice picnic dessert. It travels well, and you can jazz it up with fresh fruit or fruit syrups. Pound cake works well, too. Any cake with icing is going to be messy to transport, unless you have a special carrier. The same goes for most pies. Other good desserts for picnics include cookies, brownies, chewy bread squares, and pre-packaged snack cakes. If you choose to include snack cakes, remember that if it’s warm outside, chocolate will melt into a big mess.

Another idea for picnic desserts is to make individual parfaits in paper or plastic cups. Instead of ice cream, use pudding or cheesecake filling. Separate the different layers with fruit, cookie crumbs. whipped cream, granola, small candies, or pie filling.

Parfaits make great picnic desserts. Just use pudding or cheesecake filling instead of ice cream.
Parfaits make great picnic desserts. Just use pudding or cheesecake filling instead of ice cream.

Other picnic foods

 

Dill pickles

Sweet pickles

Olives

Sliced cheeses

Crackers

Potato chips

Nuts

Cheese straws

Tortilla chips

Salsa

Queso dip in a jar

Drink boxes are great picnic ideas if you have kids along.
Drink boxes are great picnic ideas if you have kids along.

Beverages for picnics

Be careful with beverages you take on a picnic. A lot of people like to take a big jug of iced tea to a picnic here in the South. The problem is that if you add ice to keep the tea or other beverage cold, the taste will be diluted as the ice melts. To solve the problem, make ice cubes with tea. If you’re taking a fruit drink like Kool-ade, make ice cubes with ginger ale. As the ice melts, the flavor of your drink will improve instead of becoming weaker!

If kids are joining in on the picnic, consider purchasing drink boxes or juice boxes. These can be left in the fridge overnight and then popped in the freezer for an hour or so. By the time the kids are ready to drink them, the drink boxes will be frosty cold but not frozen. Of course, some picnic baskets and picnic sets have insulated compartments for keeping drinks cold.

 

Picnic ideas

· If you have a ways to drive for your picnic, freeze non-carbonated beverages the night before. These can serve a dual purpose. They can keep your other foods cold and provide ice-cold drinks for your meal.

· Carry along some sort of wet wipes with you. Baby wipes work well for this purpose.

· Bring along a large jug of plain water.

· Don’t forget the insect repellant - stick some in your picnic basket. Remember – ants love a good picnic!

· If you have young children in your group, toss a blankie and a couple of pillows in your vehicle in case they need a nap.

· Don’t forget the music.

· Take a plastic trash bag for the proper disposal of plates, cups, and any paper and wrappers.

· Carry more food than you think you’ll need. Something about eating outdoors really stimulates the appetite!

· Bring along a ball, a Frisbee, a board game, a bat, and/or a butterfly net.

· If you’re planning some activities that involve exercise, be sure to have PLENTY of cold liquids available.

· If you’re including foods other than finger foods, don’t forget to pack knives and forks in your picnic basket. Some picnic baskets and picnic sets include their own knives, forks, and spoons.

· Take plenty of napkins or paper towels.

· Don’t make sandwiches and wraps too far in advance. The bread or wrapper will get soggy.

· Remember to take a good knife along if you’ll have to be slicing anything.

· Don’t forget the salt and pepper.

· Camp chairs make picnics more comfortable.

· Include a basic first-aid kit on your picnic, including antiseptic spray and band-aids.

These are just a few picnic ideas to get you started. You’ll think of lots more on your own, based on your family’s likes and dislikes. The main purpose of a picnic is to get outside and spend some quality time with friends and family. You don’t need a specific recipe for that. You’ll come up with all kinds of picnic ideas for yourself!

 

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Comments 17 comments

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

It's been a long time since I went on a picnic any further than my deck. Some great ideas here.


susansisk profile image

susansisk 5 years ago from Georgia, USA

Great ideas! Makes me want to pack a basket, and head to the beach.


Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

This makes me want to go on a picnic.. thank goodness spring is on the way :) Great hub!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

How I would love to have a marvelous picnic! Unfortunately, I haven't seen grass in months!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

"Be careful with beverages you take on a picnic. A lot of people like to take a big jug of iced tea to a picnic here in the South. The problem is that if you add ice to keep the tea or other beverage cold, the taste will be diluted as the ice melts. To solve the problem, make ice cubes with tea. If you’re taking a fruit drink like Kool-ade, make ice cubes with ginger ale."

I never thought of this...good idea! Great hub, and thank you for sharing.


Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

A picnic sounds wonderful right now, especially since we have had so much snow lately and are expecting more. Your hub transported my thoughts to a warm, sun shining and pleasant place. The idea of freezing tea to use as cubes to cool the tea is an excellent idea. Thanks for all the tips and ideas. Awesome Hub!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

I admit it, Holle, I copied your hub. Well, not the entire article - just the Picnic ideas part. It makes a wonderful to-do list for anyone planning a picnic. Hard to forget needed items when the list is right there in front of you. Thanks for the tips. :)


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Wonderful hub with tastefully chosen picnic basket but in England I still have goosebumbs on top of my goosebumps.


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Suzie, we have a lot of deck picnics, too!


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Me, too, Susan! I'll use any excuse to go to the beach! lol


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Jamie, I'm sooooo tired of winter!


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Bpop, we have grass, but it's brown! lol


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Genna, glad you liked my picnic ideas!


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Becky, I appreciate your feedback on my picnic ideas!


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Drbj, that's cool. Always good to see you here!


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

HH, hopefully, those goosebumps will soon be gone, and you can drag out your picnic baskets and have a day in the warm sunshine!


WhydThatHappen 4 years ago

Voted up and shared. I'm thinking a picnic would be great for the fourth

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