How to Pack the Perfect Picnic

Julie Ryan Evans
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girls at picnic
Photo by AshBayGrammy
The weather is warming up, birds are singing, and flowers are blooming. All of which means: It's prime picnic time.  

I love picnics, but they aren't all created equal. Haven't we all been to one (or too many to count) where we're forced to eat water-logged sandwiches and sand-caked cake washed down with warm soda?

But a picnic done right is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a beautiful day and could even improve your children's eating habits. Somehow, food eaten outdoors just tastes better!

Here are some tips for packing the perfect picnic:

First you need the right gear. I love this well-equipped picnic pack from Crate and Barrel. Not only does it come complete with a cooler, wine glasses, and a corkscrew (essential parts of any picnic I attend), it also comes with two wine glass holders that you can stick in the ground to keep your wine from spilling -- genius!

When it comes to the food to pack, the options are endless. I like to put in an assortment of cheeses, some cured meat, hummus, crudités, and bread, plus at least one good main dish like this Smoked Mozzarella and Penne Salad, which I have made countless times.

Wraps are also a good item for a picnic and tend to hold up better than sandwiches made on bread. Here's a recipe for Smoked Turkey Wraps With Mango and Curried Mayonnaise that's screaming for a spot in a picnic basket.

And don't forget dessert. Cakes are a nice thought, but too much work in my opinion with all the cutting and serving. I prefer items you can cut ahead of time and are easy to grab, like watermelon slices or these Butterscotch Bars.

As for what to spread your spread out on, check out this portable picnic blanket. Not only does it have a waterproof backing, but it comes with stakes that can be inserted through the sewn-in loops on the blanket's four corners to prevent your feast from being upturned by a breeze.

What are your favorite picnic essentials?

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