It's almost always more appealing for my kids to eat outside vs. inside. It's a simple way to step up a basic lunchtime routine and get them moving.
Because of all the picnicking we've done lately, I've learned a few lessons about what works and what doesn't work. Here are my tips to picnicking with little ones:
- Fair Weather Fans-- Too chilly out? Postpone the picnic! Just do it. Maybe I'm actually just talking to myself, because ahhh, I've pushed the envelope on weather, and I've lost too many times. Spring has this way of looking so gorgeous from the window in our warm home, and then turning the tables when we walk to a park as if in a tundra. Wind is not a picnic's friend.
- Kids can Help-- I find that when I let the kids help pack the food and choose the food, they take ownership of what is in front of them. We always fill our bags and plates with plenty of fruit and some Columbus Salame. Always. If we have some good cheese on hand, that goes in there too, as well as some crusty breads.
- Keep it Simple-- I'll be honest: I will plan gorgeous platters overflowing with goodies and set in a pretty way, but really, I need to save that effort for the grown-ups. When we hiked Angel Island on a sweltering hot day, nothing felt better than grabbing directly out of the packaging. No need to set things beautifully.
Here's a picture of what I set when I was trying to impress the kids. They love setting fancy tables, so I assumed they'd be into it, but when my children are outside, they want to just be OUTSIDE. i.e. not just sitting to eat... They weren't even into the animal sticks! They just grabbed the salame and cheddar and ran to climb trees until they got more hungry. ;)
This picnic style went WAY better. They grabbed the salame straight from the package, cut the cheese using the one fork we brought, added a cracker to the mix, and straight in their mouths. They were blissfully happy about helping themselves, combining the cheese and salami flavors and deciding combo worked best (their winner was the Crespone with the brie. My winner was the Hot Sopressata with the brie. I wish I knew about that one sooner. I lovvve it and can eat a full package by myself in just a couple days. ;)
My last tip is: if you're picnicking as much as us this summer, don't forget to pack the salame! There are flavors for all the taste buds-- make sure you try Crespone, Hot Sopressata, and Finocchiona (our favs!) that are antibiotic and added-hormone free!
Good is good and Columbus is the good stuff. Bonus? It's a San Francisco brand. Love the local factor!
*Post is sponsored by Columbus Craft Meats. All opinions are my own.