Thanks to Fruit Shoot for sponsoring this fun picnic and post! Recipes and opinions are my own.
With the endless polar vortex winter finally coming to a close, picnic season has arrived! I packed my boys and some homemade foods and a new drink for the boys to try: Robinson’s Fruit Shoot. With Darth Vader napkins, of course.
One class you should definitely have to take before becoming a parent is How to Create a Packed Lunch for Kids. With three kids and a variety of activities and preschool schedules, this is a constant challenge for me. I love to eat well and feed our kids well, but I’m also overwhelmed with life so I love things that are grab-and-go. If I prep ahead of time, I can be both quick AND healthy. It’s all in the planning. My boys love lunches with a little excitement and diversity, so here are some suggestions to keep things interesting.
Here’s what went into this picnic lunch for my boys:
-pita pockets with homemade pimento cheese
-homemade trail mix with fruits and nuts
-fresh fruit kebabs
-n0-bake energy bites
-Robinson’s Fruit Shoot
If I’m having a good week, I plan ahead and have things ready in the fridge so getting school lunches or a picnic ready is a breeze. (I’ll stress that I’m NOT ALWAYS that organized.) Chopping the fruit, making trail mix, pimento cheese and the energy bites can all be done ahead of time—usually when all the kids are asleep and I can get my chop on in the kitchen without tiny hands grabbing at my ankles.
We are big water drinkers in our house, but the boys always love when I changes things up with fruit juice or boxed drinks. There are tons of choices, but not all of them good. Fruit Shoot is a new fruit drink made without high fructose corn syrup (and available in no sugar added) that comes with a no-spill drink top—a huge improvement over boxed drinks that my kids always manage to squirt on themselves. Win-win!
We may have eaten around a table rather than the ground for this picnic, but food always tastes better in the open air, doesn’t it? My boys loved the fruit kebabs (and today refrained from sword-fighting with them) and were only so-so on the pimento cheese. You win some, you lose some. This actually became a win-win because I got to eat the pimento cheese and the boys were still full from all the other items in the packed lunches.
One consistent hit in lunches? The no-bake energy bites. There are a ton of ways to make these, but the basic idea is to pack as many tasty, protein-filled things as possible. I’ve made these a few different ways in the past, but for this week I added crisped rice cereal for a great crunch. There isn’t a strict measurement for these, but you want enough peanut butter and honey to keep them in shape. Personally I like them heavy on the peanut butter (I use the natural kind with only nuts) and light on the honey (always better if it’s local). Chocolate or dried fruit are a great addition along with chia seeds or flax seed if you have them. They taste like dessert, but are a fabulous food on the go that pack a punch of protein.
Again, whether it’s a school lunch or a picnic lunch, I do my best when things are made ahead and ready to pop into place, drinks included! As my dad always says, Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance, known in our family as the 5 P’s.
Do you have any secrets to a great picnic or packing an easy to-go lunch? Or even good meal or lunch planning recommendations? Share your ideas in the comments!