Not only is summertime a great excuse to enjoy meals outdoors, but July is also National Picnic Month!
Picnics are a wonderful way to switch up our normal meal routines and spend more time outdoors while slowing down the hectic pace of life. You can enjoy a picnic in the park, next to a hiking trail, or even in your backyard. Picnics can be refreshing solo outings, romantic dates for you and a partner, fun for families with kids, or a reason to bring together extended groups of family and friends.
But no matter how you decide to have a picnic, there are creative ways that you can make the experience better for your body and greener for the environment. Here are some healthy and eco-friendly picnic tips to celebrate National Picnic Month this July.
Bring Reusable Dishes and Utensils
One of the worst things about traditional picnics is the waste they leave behind – just take a look at the garbage cans after a birthday party in a park pavilion. Instead of bringing throw-away plates, cups, napkins, and utensils, pack reusable versions of these items that you can take home, wash, and enjoy for a future picnic.
Yes, this takes a little extra effort, but it’s well worth it to help you reduce your landfill waste and save money on single-use items too. When your picnic is done, recycle as much as possible in the park’s recycling cans or by taking items back home to your own recycling bins.
Shop at Local Farmers’ Markets
When you’re planning a picnic, shop local and stay local. Enjoy your picnic close to home, and stop by a local farmers’ market to stock up on produce and prepared goods on the way to your picnic or the day before as an alternative to stocking up on chips and cookies at a grocery store. This is a way to get healthier options in your diet while supporting local businesses.
Focus on Healthy Recipes
For your picnic, skip the fried foods with over-processed ingredients and keep the meal as light and fresh as possible. Carrot sticks with hummus, fruit kebabs, apple slices with nut butter, and whole grain crackers with cheese are all good options. Also, make sure to practice good food safety by bringing coolers and ice packs so that nothing spoils out in the heat.
Incorporate a Lesson About Nature
If you are having a picnic with kids, it’s a fun idea to incorporate a little educational lesson into the experience. This could be a lesson about the types of trees around your picnic site, birds that are flying above you, or where the foods you are eating actually came from.
Use Natural Sunscreen and Insect Repellants
No one likes to think about bug bites or sunburns when planning a picnic, but these things are very common when you’re outdoors in the summertime. But instead of slathering your skin with potentially toxic chemicals, consider more natural approaches for protecting your skin from the sun and biting and stinging insects.
Here are a couple resources to check out to learn more and make your own natural products at home: