10 Tips for a Stress-free Family Picnic

Love quality family time that is low-key, low-stress + filled with joy + happiness? Me, too. It seems like events with kids typically include some level of chaos. So, stress-free plus kids is kind of like a unicorn. Rather than waiting for a unicorn I try to plan ahead to curb as much stress + chaos as possible. I'm sharing 10 tips for a stress-free family picnic. 

lifestyle photography family picnic

1. Choose a location that is new or fresh for the kids. Maybe head somewhere with a great view of the mountains, trails, a lake, or river. A new place can give you lots to talk about with your kids. Maybe a geology or history lesson? Maybe clarity for mom? A new + beautiful place always helps for a clear head that can refresh mom + bring more patience + happiness to the day.

lifestyle photography picnic

2. Pack your lunch in a picnic basket that will keep your food cool. A picnic is best spent when some walking, hiking + exploring is done. That sure makes for hungry kids! Cold, cool food sure brings happiness to tired + hungry kids. Plus, it might give you all a little more energy to explore a little more before heading home. We love this adorable picnic basket from CarriEight + our food stays cool + cold. 

10 tips for a stress free family picnic

3. Pack healthy, nutritious food in your picnic basket. We all want our kids to eat healthy. When healthy food is the only option, the kids are more likely to eat it. No running to the pantry or fridge when we are on a picnic, the food that we brought is what our options are. Plus, if you hiked to your picnic spot, your kids will probably be hungry, maybe even hungry enough to try something new!

10 tips for a stress free family picnic

4. Pack re-usable cups + plates. We love our planet + we want to help keep in clean. Re-usable cups + plates are sturdy enough to not blow away in the wind. They are also perfect to pack out so you have less chance of trash blowing away out in nature. We love these adorable + re-usable cups from JJ Rabbit

family picnic food

5. Pack naturally snack-able foods. It's important to plan + prepare a fun picnic for our family, but it's most enjoyable when we aren't cooking up a storm for our picnic. Pack naturally stackable foods like: blueberries, tri-colored carrots, sliced melon, cherry tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, raisins, dried cranberries, celery, cucumber slices + pepper slices. The more variety of color the better! Plus, remember to sneak something new in there to see if they will try it! We love these stackable containers for travel. 

10 tips for a family picnic

6. Pack a bottle of cold juice. You'll thank me later! Don't forget the ice packs!

10 tips for a family picnic

7. Pack a blanket or mat for the picnic that will make the trip comfortable + easy to clean up. We love the Gathre mat because it is thick enough that sticks don't poke through. Happy little campers are the best kind of campers. Plus, it completely wipes clean. Hey, one less day that I'm not sweeping up crumbs in my kitchen is totally a win for me. 

10 tips for a stress free family picnic

8. Choose a shady spot for your picnic. Sometimes the top of the mountain or right on the beach seems like a fun spot for a picnic. But, staying out of the sun gives everyone a little refresher, helps to reduce the sunburns + gives a cozy feel to the day. 

Family picnic photography

9. Pack a first-aid kit. Bites, stings, pokes, slivers could all make an appearance at a picnic + it's better to be safe than sorry. We always carry band-aids + antihistamine cream with us because they are always in our EpiPen case + our EpiPens are always with us. But, the top of the CarriEight picnic basket has a small mesh pouch inside, the perfect place for some small first-aid supplies. Bowan got a sliver on this outing. Slivers are no fun! At least we had a band-aid on hand.  

10 tips for a stress free family picnic

10. Pack a treat for a surprise at the end of your picnic. We like to eat healthy, but I am all for treats, too. Plus, nothing makes a mom happier than seeing her kids excited about a fun surprise! Plus, if you hiked into your spot the surprise can be a fun motivator to hike out. Here Bridger is trying his first taste of a brownie bite. 

10 tips for a picnic
10 tips for a stress free picnic

I know, maybe it seems like a lot of things to think about + plan for a picnic. But, just repeat to yourself: I will not have to sweep my kitchen floor... I will not have to sweep my kitchen floor... I hope these ideas are helpful! Let me know your favorite idea I shared or your favorite thing you love to pack for a picnic below. 

food to bring on a picnic

SunButter Puppy Chow

Here's a quick allergy friendly recipe for the next time you're looking for something sweet. This SunButter puppy chow is free of the top 8 allergens, so it can be a great go-to for families with food allergies. Sometimes families without food allergies are looking for allergy friendly treats to bring to school, parties, or maybe even potlucks. This is a quick 15 minute recipe that can also be easily made with the help of your little ones.

SunButter Puppy Chow


10 cups gluten-free rice cereal

1 cup Enjoy Life semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup SunButter Sunflower Spread

1/4 cup margarine

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar

Quick SunButter recipe


1. Gather kitchen supplies: 1 large bowl, 1 large microwave safe bowl, mixing spoon, measuring cups + spoons, knife, wax paper.

2. Measure gluten free cereal, set aside in the large bowl.

3. Set out microwave safe bowl. Measure chocolate chips, SunButter + margarine. Pour each ingredient into the bowl.  Microwave for 1 minute on high, uncovered. Stir. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Or, until stirred smooth.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour the warm mixture over the cereal.  Stir until evenly coated. 

4. Slowly pour powdered sugar over the coated cereal. Continue mixing + pouring the powdered sugar until evenly coated. 

5. Lay out a sheet of wax paper.  Spread the SunButter puppy chow onto the wax paper to cool. 

6. Enjoy your allergy friendly treat! 

I hope you enjoy your allergy friendly treat.  If you make it + snap some pictures of your finished treat or your fun process with your kids, tag your photos on Instagram #beallergyfree to be a part of the conversation.

If you are making this treat to share with friends that have food allergies, please remember to not cross contaminate your ingredients or cooking utensils.  FARE, Food Allergy Research + Education, has great resources for avoiding cross-contact of allergens in the kitchen. Please feel free to read if you are looking for ways to help or include your friends with food allergies.