Six Tips For Packing a Nourishing Picnic
Who doesn’t love a good picnic sitting outdoors, munching on goodies with the family? However no matter what you pack, dining outdoors can pose certain health risks. To be healthy means to think mindfully about considering the high summer temperatures and what you stow in your picnic basket.
I suggest paying attention to these six tips before packing your basket of goodies. Also, check out my recipe below on making Homemade Spelt Flatbread- great for making simple sandwiches or hummus snacks.
1. Always keep your hands clean before, during and after handling food
Always pack a bottle of hand sanitizer even if there is a restroom nearby. Although I would suggest that hand washing is the best method towards fighting germs, hand sanitizer works effectively. I would use natural sanitizer free of dyes and additives. I enjoy the brands, Dr. Bronner’s and E.O. Botanicals for their refreshing feeling and wonderful scent.
2. Pack plenty of utensils
Always use the same utensils for the meats and a separate one for the produce. Should you need to reach for an avocado slice for a burger, be sure to use a separate utensil for it and not the same one you used for the burger. Being mindful of something as simple as avoiding cross contamination can prevent a potential food poisoning.
3. If you are unsure, toss it!
Speaking of food poisoning, it is always a serious concern especially among summer picnics. Foods are left out under the scorching sun and spoiling can happen a lot faster than expected. Along with packing extra utensils, be sure to throw in a thermometer to monitor safe internal food temperatures. Take a look at this chart courtesy of the USDA; maybe print one out to keep as a handy reference guide for your basket.
On the other end of the temperature spectrum, keep cold food cold, preferably at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degree Celsius) or below. Pack raw food like poultry and meat in a separate container and produce in another separate container to avert cross-contamination. The last thing you want to do is let food hang out for more than one to two hours in the extreme heat. Be sure to pack cold packs or ice in a cooler if needed.
4. Do not take these
Raw meats, smooth cheeses, moist foods, melons, and mayonnaise creamy based salads. These foods are all susceptible to bacteria growth in the rising hot summer heat. You are better off leaving these things home.
5. Take portable foods that don’t require refrigeration
Pack a picnic mainly based on foods that are safe to eat at room temperature. Try the following: dairy-free, grain-free robust salads, fruit bowls, crudités, hummus, and whole grain crackers with sunflower or almond butter.
As far as desserts go, skip the heavyweights like cakes which can weigh you down and go for frozen berries. These babies are delicious and keep you cool.
It is always favorable to eat your food before it sits out too long, planning a picnic is crucial for safety concerns.
6. Use reusable BPA-free bottles and freeze your water in them
These can double up as cold packs for food that requires a colder temperature. Once they defrost, you can stay adequately hydrated even in the heat and the humidity.
Now, that you’re prepped on the picnic tips, be sure to check out my flatbread recipe below! The recipe makes about 4-6 servings of deliciousness. It took me about 20 minutes to make and can be use for mini pizzas, sandwiches, & wraps. I used it to add some hummus and greens for a filling vegan sandwich!
Homemade Spelt Flatbread
* 2 cups Spelt Flour
* 2 tbsp. Avocado Oil
* 3/4 cup Spring Water (I used Evian water)
* 1 tbsp. Sea Salt
* 2 tsp. Onion Powder
* 2 tsp. Oregano
* 1/4 tsp. Cayenne
* 2 tsp. Basil
* Mix together flour and seasonings until well blended.
* Blend in oil and about 1/2 cup of water into the mix. Slowly mix in water until it forms into a ball.
* Add flour to workspace and knead dough for about 5 minutes, then separate dough into 6 equal parts.
* Roll out each ball into about 4-inch circles.
* Place in a ungreased skillet on medium-high heat, flipping every 2-3 minutes until done. Takes about 5-7 minutes in total.
Are you planning a picnic soon? What are you bringing or making to your next picnic? Share + Comment below!