Instant Summer Picnics

Source: hoyasmeg
One thing I love doing in the summer is taking a picnic lunch to the park, the pool, the benches outside the library, a get the idea. My son absolutely loves doing this. Sometimes I'll go ahead and pack our lunch, then surprise him right before we leave for our picnic. Other times, I'll ask him where he'd like to eat our lunch, and he sometimes surprises me with a fun, different idea (i.e., the park where he had his birthday party a year ago). However, packing lunch for 3 would be a chore if I didn't have a few key items in place beforehand. 

First, I found an insulated lunch bag that's not too big and folds flat. Mine was $9.99 at Target (like this one): BYO Lunch Tote
I also have another one that's a little bigger: 9-Can Insulated Cooler

Ice packs: I usually don't need to keep things cold for very long, but I still always include an ice pack. I like my Thermos Ice Cube Mat:

Next, I make sure I'm always stocked with plenty of grab-and-go lunch foods. A few ideas: 

  • Milk drink boxes (no refrigeration required varieties)
  • Juice boxes
  • Mini water bottles with sport tops
  • Goldfish crackers, pre-portioned in small containers or snack-size bags
  • String cheese
  • Mini Babybel cheese
  • Applesauce cups (don't forget the spoon!)
  • Tubes of yogurt (or small containers of yogurt)
  • Baby carrots
  • Squeezable fruit purees
  • Crackers (the Ritz Fresh Stacks are the perfect grab-and-go size for us)
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Snack-size hummus and pita bread
  • Fruit strips (100% fruit, dehydrated; I like the Target Archer Farms brand)
  • ...and the list goes on and on! 

I toss an ice pack into the lunch bag, followed by however many other items we'll need, and we're ready to go!  We head to different parks on a regular basis, and when I'm well-stocked with pre-packed picnic foods, eating lunch somewhere fun and different isn't a hassle.

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