The Perfect Picnic Checklist

Do you like food and the beautiful outdoors? If so, I think I hear a picnic calling your name. Picnics are a great way to enjoy the fresh air while eating delicious food. You can set up a picnic with your friends, your family, or make it a date with your significant other. The following is a short checklist to help you prepare for the perfect picnic.

1. Pick Your Favorite Location

There are so many great places to have your picnic at. Here are a few ideas.

  • A scenic nature spot – You could set up your picnic next to a large tree in a state park with a beautiful view to be in the shade while you’re eating. Find a park bench or a picnic table in the park to sit at if you’d rather not sit on the ground. If you are having a stressful day, being outside surrounded by nature can help you de-stress.
  • A beach – Finding a spot near a body of water can be perfect for a nice, relaxing picnic. This could be an option for a romantic date or a family outing because the kids can play on the beach.
  • An urban area – You could head to the closest downtown area and find a park to eat in. Maybe set up at a picnic table or find a park bench to sit on. If you’re feeling adventurous you could set up your picnic on a rooftop (with permission of course).
  • For specific Michigan picnic locations, check out this post.

2. Pack Foods that Are Fairly Easy to Make

It can be tricky to find foods that are easy to throw together and pack up to bring outdoors.

3. Food Preparation Safety Tips

  • Cleanliness check – If you plan on grilling at a park, be sure to clean the grill before use. If you plan on preparing your food at your picnic site, clean the space you’re working in first. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands before and after preparing food and before eating.
  • The temperature danger zone – If the temperature of your food is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it is considered to be in the temperature danger zone. Hot foods after being cooked are considered safe if they stay above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Keep food hot using hot pads or slow cookers for a larger family picnic.
    • Pack a cooler with bags of ice or frozen water bottles to keep things chilled.
  • Safe meat temperatures – Pack a digital thermometer to check the temperature of the food you are cooking.

4. Don’t Forget to Pack These Essentials

  • Sunscreen – SPF 15 blocks out about 93% of UV-B rays, where-as SPF 30 is more effective and blocks about 97% of UV-B rays.
  • Sunglasses – Protect your eyes by finding sunglasses that block out UV-A and UV-B rays.
  • Hat – A wide brim hat will better protect your head, neck, ears, and face from the beaming sunlight.
  • Outdoor Blanket – The location you choose for your picnic could be grassy, sandy, wet, or potentially all dirt, so go prepared with a blanket to sit on.
  • Utensils – Don’t forget to bring plates, silverware, cups and napkins.
  • Water – Hydration is key, especially on nice summer days. Your body needs water to function at its best.
  • Bug Spray – Depending where you plan on eating your picnic, bug spray can help keep the mosquitoes away.
  • Toys and games – Your kids may get bored sitting still during your picnic, so bring a board game, an active game, a book, or other toys to keep them entertained.

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Photo credit: recep-bg

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