Thanks to No Packet November ambassador Kate from Healthy Fit Kids for this post about creating a memorable picnic for your family.
I am a massive fan of having picnics at our meal times. Over the week we would have more "picnic style" meals than sitting around the dinner table. It may not be for everyone but for afternoon tea and on the weekends for lunch and snack time, give it a go. I guarantee that if you do this in a fun and regular way this will be one of your child's favourite childhood memories. My children ask daily to have a picnic and they get so much more out of this time than just getting fed.
We have two old cotton doona covers that I kept for our picnic mats and then we choose where our picnic will be; the veranda, the lounge floor, the grass in our backyard or our cubby house.
I am not here to suggest the obvious foods like carrot sticks and hommus, although they are a great option. I like to spice it up, involve the kids and make it lots of fun and most importantly yummy.
A pick platter and finger food is the best and easiest foods to have at your picnic. Saying this, I often cook up potato and sweet potato chips, asparagus spears and sausage rolls to enjoy.
Below you can see some of things we regularly have and they are always a big hit with the kids, but I completely admit that just because one time they love asparagus, the next time they can reject it like I have given them the most disgusting thing ever. For this reason I will always offer things repeatedly because it can take more than a dozen attempts for kids to like a food.
Potato cubes and sweet potato chips with olive oil / coconut oil and sea salt (Himalayan salt).
Home-made muesli bars - throw a bunch of nuts/seeds, shredded coconut, chia seeds into a blender and add some coconut oil and honey to get a good consistency. Push into a pan about the thickness of a basic muesli bar and bake on medium heat for about half hour. Please use these details as approximates as quantities will differ with your child's likes and oven times will vary also.
Fruit & Vegetable pick platter - cherry tomatoes, pineapple, bananas, broccoli, cheese, cucumber, cherries, capsicum, strawberries, carrots, grapes, spinach leaves - as pictured, add some tooth picks (age appropriately) so the kids can use their amazing imaginations and create a masterpiece of food.
A dip made by the kids - we love cottage cheese with avocados and lemon juice (we add shallots to the adults version). The kids can easily make this as you are only mashing it all together. 1 tub of cottage cheese, 1-2 avocados and the juice of 1 lemon. We use the avocado skin as the bowl for the dip.
Wraps torn or cut into small shapes (as pictured below) and then baked lightly in the oven for about 15 minutes. We use these for our dip and they are so yummy. You can also drizzle them with a little olive oil and sprinkle on some salt before baking for an added flavour boost.
Asparagus spears - cooked on high in a fry pan with loads of butter and salt & pepper, cook until soft.
Sausage Rolls - I use mince meat and then add grated carrot, zucchini, chia seeds, tamari, himalayan salt, 2 eggs and some herbs and spices (whatever takes your fancy). Then roll in puff pastry, glaze over with egg and sprinkle with sesame and/or poppy seeds.
We LOVE my home-made banana cake. (recipe attached below).
My favourite - energy / bliss / chocolate / coconut balls, so many names, so many varieties of ingredients and so much goodness. I usually have a base of desiccated coconut, dates, chia seeds and a nut (almond or cashew for me) then go crazy on extras each time I make them. I love adding pure peppermint oil (food grade) to give them a minty hit. You can also add seeds, goji berries, dark chocolate, apricots, protein powder and LSA (linseed, sunflower seed & almond - you can get this mix from your local supermarket).
Now if you are wondering why the spiky lemons are pictured, that's because these will keep those annoying flies away. Pop some cloves into lemons and leave them in the middle of your picnic mat as a centrepiece. Flies dislike both cloves and lemons so the combination combined act as a great deterrent to keep the pests away.
I think the biggest thing I try to do with our picnics is have fun! I am really big on making wonderful memories for our children because the positive ones can make such a big impact on their future and how they relate with their own children and the world around them. So relax, get the kids involved, enjoy the whole process of setting it all up and get creative as a family with ideas of what foods and settings will suit you own unique situation.
Banana Bread / Cake
- 3 ripe bananas. - 2 tablespoons of fresh apple juice (I use "nudie apple juice" which is pure apples from the local supermarket). - 125g of unsalted butter (I use grass fed butter). - 2 eggs (I have my own chook eggs, otherwise buy organic free range eggs). - 250g self raising flour (I use wholemeal or spelt flour). - 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. - 2 tablespoons of honey (I use raw only as it hasn't been processed/heated which destroys all the nutrients). - 2 tablespoons of white chia seeds. - 50-100g pecan nuts chopped.
1) Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease a loaf tin with oil then dust with flour shaking out the excess. 2) Mash bananas with a fork so they are smooth and chunky then add apple juice mixing through. 3) In another bowl cream the butter then add one egg at a time until thoroughly combined. 4) Fold in flour, cinnamon, honey, chia seeds, pecans and banana mixture. Don't over mix this. 5) Pour into loaf pan and cook for about 40 minutes or until cooked through. You can check it's cooked by placing a skewer into middle and if it comes out clean your banana bread/cake is done.
Cool in pan for about 15 minutes then carefully tip out onto a wire rack.
Eating your banana bread/cake warm is definitely the best or you can even toast it and have with butter.