It’s spring. The kids are out of school for the week. And, depending on where you live, there may be some sunny days in your future.
If you’re not heading off on vacay — and even if you are — why not take advantage of the warmer weather with a little beach or backyard picnic? (You wouldn’t want that adorable fluf lunchbox to go unused, would you?!)
As most parents have learned, when packing a picnic with kids you have to keep things simple. This isn’t the time to bust out your best glassware or fancy wine. (But more power to you, if you do).
Easily prepped finger foods, simple fruits and things in jars are all suitable picnic-y things to pack with the kids. Sandwiches, of course, are a no-brainer staple. But there are ways to make the standard picnic fare a little more healthy and definitely more exciting for you. Here are three ideas:
Ham and cheese collard green wraps
Wraps are great because a) Your kids can help you make them and b) They make for awesome finger foods that aren’t sandwiches. Replacing the tortilla wrap with blanched collard greens simply makes it a much healthier option — and one that your kids might not even notice.
This recipe calls for slathering the collards with cream cheese and layering them with ham and provolone. Cream cheese keeps better than mayo and acts as the perfect binder to keep the ham and cheese intact between the collards. While ham and cheese is a delicious combo, you can use any meat and cheese pairing you’d like.
4 large collard green leaves
4 to 8 tablespoons cream cheese
4 slices ham
4 slices provolone cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, quickly blanch each collard leaves for 20 to 30 seconds to soften the leaf and make it pliable. Let cool and pat dry.
Spread the cream cheese evenly between each leaf. Layer on the ham and cheese. Starting at one end, carefully roll up the leaves. Pack whole or cut into bite-sized pieces.
Mason jar quinoa salad with green goddess dressing
Grain salads in a jar are the way to go to keep things fresh and interesting.
For kids, it’s fun to build the layers. For adults, it’s an opportunity to have salad at a picnic. You can layer the jars with anything you want (or any veggies your kids will eat). Just remember — dressing goes on the bottom and dry ingredients go on top.
For the dressing
1 garlic clove
1 avocado flesh
½ cup water
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil.
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves.
½ cup packed fresh parsley
for the salad
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cucumber, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
4 radishes, sliced
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup cooked quinoa
3 to 4 cups spring greens
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together in a blender until smooth. Season with salt, to taste. Evenly divide the dressing between four mason jars. Then evenly divide the remaining ingredients. Seal with a lid and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Fresh fruit-infused water
Fruit-infused water serves three purposes: It makes water taste better, it gets more fruit into your diet, and it can make you look fancy. All good things.
This is a fun picnic-worthy beverage that takes no time to make and will keep everyone excited about staying hydrated. This recipe calls for strawberries and lemon, but you can use whatever fruit you have laying around
4 to 6 strawberries, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
4 to 6 mint leaves
1 gallon water
Combine all ingredients in a water jug. Add ice, if you’d like.