Are you waiting to run out and have a picnic? Here's how you can make it fun and healthy.
A PB&J-free Picnic
In recent weeks, I have begun to notice that the sun is shining brighter, the trees are starting to bud and the days are getting longer. Clearly, springtime is right around the corner and my entire family is elated. My children love nothing more than to be outdoors, so one of our favorite activities in the warmer months are family picnics.
Most weekends, we pack a lunch and head out to a local town park for our picnic. At this juncture in our lives, attempting a picnic at a larger state park is just not something we want to attempt. My kids are 10 months and 2 ½ years … well, let’s just say we don’t want to bite off more than we can chew. Maybe next summer will open the doors to more adventuresome locations.
Nonetheless, as soon as the weather permits, my family is in full picnic mode. Packing gear and toys for the kids is pretty easy. Typically, we have a large bag that we fill with a blanket, kite, inflatable beach ball, camera and any other little toy that might keep the kids busy. The part of the equation that sometimes proves more difficult is packing the picnic lunch. Toddlers can often times be particular about what they eat, so we try to incorporate healthful choices that my two year old will find fun and delicious.
A typical picnic menu of ours may include the following:
• organic, seedless grapes
• hormone-free cheese cubes
• bell pepper strips with a dipping sauce
• homemade hummus and pita chips
• chicken salad in lettuce cups
• minty melon balls
Notice that peanut butter and jelly sandwich is not in the list. While it’s simple, easy and sure to please my son, I try to avoid it in favor of more interesting options. My toddler really likes the melon balls. It’s quite easy to make, as it requires only a few ingredients. Here is how I throw it together:
Minty Melon Balls
2 cups each of watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew balls
3 tbs honey
3 tsp fresh lime juice
3 tbs finely chopped fresh mint
- Combine honey, lime juice and mint. Pour the liquid over the 6 cups of melon. Chill and serve.