As the weather gets warmer, picnics are a great way to bring together family and friends to enjoy the outdoors. Picnics aren’t limited to the traditional ones we’ve seen at the park – they can happen anywhere! By planning the details of your picnic ahead of time, you will have nothing to worry about except savouring the moment.
Make sure to keep these tips and tricks in mind while organizing a picnic:
Explore our beautiful province
Nova Scotians are fortunate for the countless beaches, lakes and rivers that inhabit our province. Why not take advantage of them? Some of the most picnic-friendly places in Nova Scotia are Dollar Lake, a large lake not far from the Musquodoboit Valley; The Halifax Common, a park in the heart of the city; Bayswater Beach, located in Lunenburg Country; and Oakfield Provincial Park, right on the Shubenacadie Grand Lake. Finding a picnic table at any of these parks is no difficult task and is the perfect setting for a picnic.
Having a picnic is also a great opportunity to discover somewhere new. It’s easy to find a place and have it become your regular go-to spot, but it’s more fun to explore other areas of the province. Each region of the province has unique features that are waiting to be admired! This map is useful in locating and describing the different provincial parks throughout Nova Scotia.
Indulge in healthier options
Make sure to avoid unhealthy snacks while packing your picnic. Although a case of soft drinks, chips and hot dogs seems convenient, it is definitely not the way to go! Nourishing the body with proper hydration and nutrition is important in order to stay healthy and steer clear of future health complications.
Aside from nutritious sandwiches and lightly-dressed salads, veggie-filled pasta salads are a great hassle-free food to bring along to any picnic. Unsalted tortilla chips with homemade salsa, deviled eggs, some of those super foods we told you about or grilled vegetables such as zucchini or bell peppers would be excellent too. For dessert, trade in the cookies and brownies for some fruit kabobs or fruit salad. Don’t forget to bring lots of water!
Handle your food safely
Although warm weather is ideal for enjoying the outdoors, warm weather also presents opportunities for food-borne bacteria to thrive. To protect yourself, your family, and friends from food-borne illness ensure that all hands and surfaces are clean before eating and plan ahead by bringing hand sanitizer in case there is no access to running water near your picnic site. It’s also a good idea to bring a tablecloth to cover the picnic table.
All of your perishable foods should be packed in a cooler kept below 4°C with ice or frozen gel packs. Any raw meats should be stored on the bottom of the cooler to reduce the risk of them dripping on other foods. Use a separate cooler for drinks so the cooler containing the food won’t constantly be opened and closed.
If you are driving to the picnic site, place the cooler inside an air-conditioned vehicle – not in the trunk. Enforce the two hour rule and don’t leave perishable food un-refrigerated for more than two hours. As soon as you finish eating, put any leftovers away and don’t leave them out to be nibbled on. If the ice in the cooler has melted, the food should be discarded.
By following these simple tips, all you need for a perfect picnic is good weather and good company.
What are some of your go-to picnic foods and places?