Our Guide To Packing The Perfect Summer Picnic
What have you been most looking forward to this summer?
While our summer bucket list is miles-long (not a bad problem to have), we can’t help but be most excited for sharing meals in-person once again. We’re celebrating the fact that we can dine with friends in our favorite restaurants, enjoy a drink or dinner from a sun-soaked patio or rooftop, and welcome loved ones into our homes for much-overdue food-filled gatherings. And though the novelty of these once-impossible activities will eventually fade, we’re prepped with ideas to shake up our summer entertaining and go-to ways of gathering.
Enter: the quintessential summer picnic. While taking part in the above list of summer dining options have our hearts aflutter, we’re still holding tight to this simple way of embracing the season in all its goodness that saved our summers last year. Whether it’s BBQing in your backyard, spreading out your beach blanket in the sand, or securing an enviable spot in your local park, there are endless ways to ensure your picnic is a summertime success. First step? Gather your friends and family—and read on for all you need to know about planning a delicious and easy meal.
A Packable And Cozy Picnic Blanket
If you’re going to be sitting on the ground for your meal, comfort is a must. While cushy terrycloth towels have long been a picnic staple, packing them up can be a problem. Opt for something more lightweight like this soft but sturdy cotton option with a waterproof back to keep wetness from ruining your outdoor fun. Searching for something with even more durability? Consider this polyester-canvas blend in a cheery summertime print a must-have.
Bonus? Selecting a blanket made in a lighter fabric makes it easier to pack away, so you have more room in your basket or bag for the main event: the food.
All. The. Sides.
Speaking of food, a picnic can’t happen without the proper provisions. Because of the mobile nature that’s inherent in every picnic, this isn’t the time or place for a main course show-stopper. Leave the roast for your at-home entertaining and opt instead for a medley of veggie-forward sides.
Let the rainbow inspire you and challenge yourself to incorporate all of its hues. This cucumber and watermelon salad pairs colorful ingredients with a flavor-packed sesame and lime dressing. An easy-to-prep tomato and avocado salad makes the most of peak-summer produce for a side that’s light but substantial and is perfect for packing into pita or just diving in fork-first. Preparing pre-sliced veggies with your favorite dip (hummus, a yogurt-based herb sauce, or a tangy tapenade) is also a picnic secret we’re happy to share.
For a cohesive meal, center your snacks and sides around a theme. Inspired by the Mediterranean? Try an olive and feta grain salad and round out the meal with dolma (also known as stuffed grape leaves that are oh-so addicting) and focaccia with a pesto spread. Looking to recreate the flavors of France? Supplement your rosé with a niçoise salad, this Artichoke, Kale and Ricotta Pie, and a crusty baguette (salted butter required).
When you focus on bringing in as many colors as possible into your picnic planning, not only are you guaranteed to have a visually-stunning meal that’ll be the highlight of your Instagram feed, but you’re also working in a diverse array of fruits and veggies into your diet, which is key for getting the nutrients you need.
When it comes to healthy eating, the old “everything in moderation” adage rings true—which is why we’d consider wrapping up your meal with a sweet treat non-negotiable. If you haven’t guessed yet, the best picnics are the simplest picnics, meaning that a five-layer cake is best saved for a more elaborate affair. Watermelon slices and chocolate chip cookies are the tried-and-true duo we’ll never stop loving, and individually-packed puddings (like this banana version) make for a quick-and-easy cleanup.
If you do want to get a little fancy, by all means, make it happen. With transport and packing up being our priorities, you’ll still want to tone things down a bit. Go for an unfrosted cake that’s delicious with whipped cream and berries on the side or try your hand at simpler-than-they-seem hand pies that’ll impress any crowd.
Drinks That’ll Keep You Cool
With summer fun comes summer heat, and you don’t want to be caught outside without proper options for staying hydrated. Water, of course, is a must-have, but you can also step things up by flavoring your H20 with fresh summer fruits, veggies, and herbs like strawberries, cucumbers, mint, and lemon. Head here for all the infused-water inspo you need.
Kombucha mocktails are also a fun way to sip on something bubbly if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic bev. Try this green and bright recipe that blends up pineapple, apple, spinach, and mint for a virtuous, but delicious drink, or whip up this lavender and lemon balm kombucha mocktail for a fresh and floral combo.
If we were ranking our picnic essentials by importance, sun protection would be at the top of our list. By now, we’re all well aware of the necessity of slathering on sunscreen before leaving the house for any outdoor activity (gray and rainy days, included).
Keep in mind too, that there are other ways to protect your skin against harmful UV rays that go beyond what you can find in a bottle or jar. Having a wide-brimmed hat handy provides a natural barrier between your scalp and the sun while also shading your face. Add to that a pair of quality sunglasses and perhaps even some sun-protective clothing and you’ve got yourself a well-designed wardrobe that’ll ensure a safe day out in the sun.
And if you happen to get the unfortunate burn that sometimes sneaks up on us, don’t worry. With its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, Conscious Coconut Oil is an effective solution for soothing sunburned skin. Coconut oil’s high concentration of saturated fats helps seal in moisture, treating dry, itchy and peeling skin while naturally renewing skin cells.
A Playlist For Rocking Out To
Sure, the wind in the trees and the background noise of other beachgoers are all welcome parts of an easygoing picnic, but if you want to add a little more intention to the ambience of your meal, a curated playlist is a must. Browse Spotify for picnic-specific mixes like this one that’s full of laid-back tunes or these breezy beats that basically beg you to lay outside for hours.
And of course, a playlist is nothing without a speaker to help establish the tone. We’re loving this cooler-speaker hybrid (in a shade of pink that we’ll never stop obsessing over), this minimalist option, and this convenient pick that doubles as a lantern. Conclusion? The options for on-the-go tunes that’ll set the perfect mood are truly endless.
Something To Pack It All Up In
Blankets, sunscreen, and your favorite summer foods are all picnic essentials, but you can’t create the outdoor meal of your dreams without something to put it in. A classic basket will never go out of style (and an insulated interior means no warm drinks or soggy salads). You can also go the all-in-one route and purchase a basket that comes fully-stocked with all the utensils, dishes, and glassware you need for a stylish setup. Whatever you choose, remember: life’s a picnic, and we might as well celebrate it with as many memorable meals as we can.
At Conscious Coconut, we love being a part of all your summer adventures. Taking us with you wherever you go and shop all our options for beauty, wellness, healthy living, and more.