This summer we went on a lot of days out in the UK.
Each week saw us try somewhere new during our 12 weeks away from home. Partly to show the kids some of the England from our childhood that they are missing out on being expat kids, partly to fill the long summer days away from Daddy to make them more bearable on our behalf.
The problem is, it gets a little bit pricey doing all these trips. As we discovered heading to Chatsworth House Adventure Farm.
£6 for entry to the Farmyard and Playground was, I thought, reasonable. The extra £80 we ended up spending on food and drink was not.
More than that, the cost limited the number of days out we were able to do as they were SO costly.
Enter the humble picnic
The humble picnic. A much over looked tool in making days out with the kids more affordable.
In fact the picnic offers more than just making days out with the kids more affordable, it opens up the range of food available to you other than limiting yourself to the children’s menu. And the chicken nuggets and chips that my pair immediately gravitate too.
After our day at Chatsworth, everywhere we went we took a picnic.
Even on walks down the seafront, though they were supplemented by chips….
This has continued on now we are back in Qatar, with the weather cooling down it is beach season. And the beach that we choose to go to has no facilities other than the sand and the sea.
So we have to take a picnic, or not eat.
But picnics are so boring?!
This is my husbands mantra.
And my boys.
And, after what felt like our seventy-billionth picnic this summer, mine too.
How do you make picnics less boring? More exciting than the soggy sandwiches and crushed bags of crisps?
You get inventive with what you take…
Sandwiches – with a twist
From inventive fillings to cutting shapes in the bread, sandwiches no longer need to be blah.
If you’re stuck for filling ideas that incorporate more than just a slab of cheese, or slice of ham, this post has over 140 different ideas! Which was great for my mum and I to go through and choose.
The boys? Fussy. White bread. Ham. Done. But that didn’t stop them whining (what does?) that they didn’t want BORING sandwiches.
So we made dino-wiches.
A simply sandwich cutter takes the most blah of picnic sandwich and takes it to a new level.
We use the Let’s Make Dinosaur Shaped Sandwich Cutter.
Other tricks included changing the type of bread used from sandwich bread to rolls, or pitas, or wraps.
Posh Nosh Salads
Salads and picnics never seemed to work for us. Then my best friend brought over the most delicious Quinoa and roasted vegetable salad and I’ve never looked back.
It’s simple, cook quinoa (or cheat and use a microwave pouch), roast whatever veggies you like, chuck over desired salad dressing, eat.
Well. I ate. Everyone else watched.
I’m not talking your bashed up apples here. Oh no no no.
Exotic fruit salads, delicious fruit kebabs, whole fruits, chopped up fruits, fresh fruits, dried fruits.
Fruit crisps, dehydrated and ready to go.
As my boys call them “smoothie” pouches, which in reality are the fruit and veg purees, such as the Googly Fruit brand, that they slurp up happily.
The key here is that they are READY TO EAT.
And their overlooked counter part – the veggie.
Veggie sticks, often left languishing in the bottom of the bag.
Celery, cucumber, carrot, broccoli, pepper. All discarded in favour of the more exotic in the picnic basket.
That needn’t be the case – take dips with you and they will have a new lease of life. Hummus, Garlic, moutabel. They will gobble it up.
A treat (or two)
Sweet or savoury it isn’t a picnic without a treat or two.
Maybe you’re all about the Wotsit.
Or maybe you’re trying to cut down on crisps but still fancy something along those lines, such as the Innate baked veggie crisps.
Or maybe you’re a chocolate person. Rocky’s, Mars bars, Kit Kats, those giant cookies from the supermarket. It’s fine, calories consumed outside don’t count.
Maybe you’re a baker and make your own treats to take like chocolate banana bread.
And just maybe, you fancy popcorn. Or crackers.
Whatever it is – a picnic just doesn’t have to be boring.
What is your favourite picnic food?