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

Lunch Ideas: Let's have some fun

Lunch. Everybody eats it. Somebody needs to make it.  Some of us enjoy it. Some of us really don't want to make lunch. Ever. Again. But, the reality is that we all need to eat to survive. Our kids surely need to eat to survive. But, we don't want our kids just surviving, right? We want them thriving on healthy, nutritious food. In an ideal world, right? Here are some ideas to make lunch more fun + more nutritious for your kids + you!

Kids food art

Strawberry Sunflower Plate

Ingredients: 5 strawberries, 1 banana, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/4 watermelon 

Directions: Wash and slice strawberries lengthwise. Slice banana, Rinse + dry shredded carrots. (I buy pre-shredded carrots, my kids like the texture of thin carrots the best). Slice watermelon lengthwise into thin pieces. Arrange banana slices into a circle in the center of the plate. Pile them as high + thick as you'd like. Arrange strawberries in a flower petal pattern surrounding the bananas. Overlap the layers of strawberries + continue with as many rows as you'd like. Arrange carrot slices in a stem shape, add loos pieces for grass + create two leaves by connecting two carrot slices together. Finally, use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the watermelon + place surrounding your flower. Get as creative as you'd like + add or subtract anything you see here.

Kids lunch allergy friendly

Fruit Cabobs

Ingredients: 1 small Watermelon + 3 Bananas

Directions: Slice bananas lengthwise + set on a plate. Slice watermelon down the center, then cut into slices, next cut into cubes. Place watermelon slices on a plate + set aside. Work together with your kids to create a pattern of pink, yellow, pink yellow on your cabob sticks Enjoy!

kids food art

Apple Slice Heart

Ingredients: 1 Apple or 1 bag pre-sliced apples

Directions: Wash + slice an apple, or open your bag of pre-sliced apples. Arrange in a heart shape on your table. You can arrange one + ask your child to create one of their own.

yogurt bowl kids lunch

Animal Dairy-Free Yogurt Bowl

Ingredients: Dairy-free yogurt + hemp seeds + blueberries: fresh or frozen.

Directions: Pour your yogurt into the bowl, sprinkle hemp seeds for a smile, add blueberries for eyes.

solar system food art

Fruit + Veggie Solar System

Ingredients: 1 lemon, 1 kiwi, 1 clementine, a handful of: green grapes, red grapes, blueberries, raspberries, cherry tomatoes. And, 1/4 cup heriloom pepper.

Directions: Print out a photo of the Solar System from the internet. Or, open a book with a photo of the Solar System. Next, slice the lemon into thin slices + halve the red + green grapes. Next, Peel the skin off the kiwi + cut into thin slices. Then, cut your clementine into thin slices + cut a sliver of the peel off to create Saturn's rings. Next, use a small circle cookie cutter to cut circle shapes out of the heirloom pepper. Wash + dry your blueberries + raspberries. Next, arrange your fruit into the order of the Solar System. 

Just like Dr. Seuss says in There's No Place Like Space: Mallory - Valerie - Emily Mickels - just - saved - up - nine hundred ninety-nine nickels! Sun: lemon - Mercury: green grape - Venus: cherry tomato - Earth: kiwi - Mars: purple grape - Jupiter: heirloom pepper - Saturn: clementine - Uranus: blueberry - Neptune: raspberry. 

kids rice cake lunch ideas

Rice Cake Friends

Ingredients: Small rice cakes (I used the Happy Family brand), blueberries, SunButter, grapes, apples, heirloom carrots, Enjoy Life mini chips chocolate chips.

Directions: Spread SunButter onto some of the rice cakes. Slice up carrots + apples. Create the fun faces with the above ingredients.

allergy friendly snack

SunButter Stick People

Ingredients: SunButter, celery + strawberries

Directions: Wash + cut celery stalks into equal sizes for arms + legs. Cut one long stalk for the body. Spread with SunButter. Place stick figure on plate. Wash strawberries + add for the head.

Melon food art

Melon Friend

Ingredients: Cantaloupe, kiwi + clementines.

Directions: Wash the kiwi, cantaloupe + clementines. Cut the skin off the kiwi, then slice. Cut the cantaloupe in half, then fourths. Cut out the seeds. Trim into smaller slices that look like a little smile. Peel the clementines. Place the fruit in the shape of a face on the plate.

garbage truck lunch

Edible Garbage Trucks

Ingredients: Apples, colby jack cheese (or-dairy-free cheese), celery, strawberries + blueberries.

Directions: Wash the fruit. Cut the cheese into squares. Cut the celery into small rectangles. Cut the top of the strawberries off + slice the rest. Cut the sides of the apples off, then cut into slices. Place the large apple slices on the plate with the cheese squares slightly overlapping in front. Place the celery rectangle on the cheese + the strawberry tops under the cheese + apple for tires. Add the small apple slice for the back hopper. Cut up additional fruits + cheese for "trash" to throw into the hopper before eating.

Bento box lunch

Dairy-Free Bento Box

Ingredients: 1 container dairy-free raspberry yogurt, 2 tbsp mini chips, 2 tbsp hemp seeds, 2 tbsp sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup banana slices, 1/4 cup strawberry slices, 1/4 cup cucumber slices, 2 tbsp dairy-free cream cheese, 1 tsp dill, small lettuce pieces.

Directions: Dairy-Free Yogurt Bowl: Pour the dairy-free raspberry yogurt into your bento box. In a pattern, sprinkle sunflower seeds + mini chips + hemp seeds over the top. Create any pattern you'd love!

Fruit + Veggie Bento Box: Place the strawberry + banana slices in a pattern on one side of your bento box. Create sandwiches with your cucumber slices by spreading one slice with dairy-free cream cheese, then sprinkle with dill. top with a cucumber slice. Place a small piece of lettuce between your cucumber sandwiches. Enjoy!

Allergy friendly Lunch food art

Strawberry + Blueberry Patterned Plate

Ingredients: 1 cup fresh strawberries + 1/4 cup frozen blueberries. 

Directions: Wash strawberries. Cut the tops off of two strawberries + place in the center of the plate. Create a circle of frozen blueberries around the 2 large strawberries. Next, Cut the tops off of the remaining strawberries. Slice strawberries lengthwise. Then, cut the tops of the strawberries into a "V shape" to create a heart. Place in a circle around the plate. Enjoy!

What do you do to make lunch more enjoyable for you + your kids? Let me know in the comments.

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co.

Fun & Easy food art for kids. Easy lunches. Toddler Snacks