The Perfect Picnic Prep for Parents This Summer Holidays
School is out for summer, and now we have six weeks of quality time to spend with our children. But with all this time comes the need to find more meals and a wider variety daily.
Whether sitting in the house on a rainy day or spending some time in the sun travelling this summer, finding nourishing meals and snacks that keep your children interested in their food is essential over the holidays. And with the worry about the cost being on all our minds, keeping in the budget is essential. Here at SUSO, we believe in delicious and nutritious meals for all. So here are some of our top tips when it comes to everything from picnic prepping to mid-day lunches which are easy, fun, and good for you!
Preparation makes perfect
You’re not going to get it right whenever it comes to feeding your kids – from finding new dislikes to changing taste buds, what one child liked a month ago, they might not now. But practice and preparation can help you perfect those picnics, saving on waste, money, and unhappy children. Early mornings can be difficult, especially with little ones, so preparing and packing your food the night before can help you be off to the best start.
And to help keep spills at bay while also providing a sustainable option, you should use reusable containers for your food. Extra protection, such as reusable food bags wrapped around the containers, can stop even the most liquid meals from dripping into your bag. To keep your food cool all day, remember the all-important cool blocks!
Reusable plates and cutlery can also help keep your picnic as comfortable as possible, especially if you eat more than just sandwiches! Don’t forget the picnic blanket, either. Kitchen roll or biodegradable baby wipes are also essential for your picnic. Packing these ahead of time can ensure you have all you need for silly spills and sticky fingers without having to sacrifice your favourite top!
Fun healthy foods with flavour
It is easy for us and our children to reach for the unhealthier snacks before aiming for the fruit in our lunch boxes! One way to persuade your children to reach for their apples and more is by adding stickers to the fruit and healthier snacks – who could resist? Extra parenting points if it is one of their favourite cartoon characters, as this will help them associate the positivity of watching their favourite shows with healthier snacks.
Children love variety too, so mixing up the shapes and adding some creativity to the lunchboxes could help them get through their food. Instead of the usual carrot batons, why not try rabbit-shaped peppers, spaceship sandwiches, or heart-shaped cucumber slices, for example?
The perfect meal prep menu
If you want to save yourself some of the rush in the morning, as well as use up the food you have left over from last night, then leftovers could be the answer to packing your kid’s lunches.
Leftover meats are a great basis for a packed lunch. Why not create chicken wraps or sandwiches from the leftover Sunday roast? This way, you can use up some of your leftovers while also adding a healthy balance of protein, vegetables, and fibre. Or for vegetarians, you can use the leftover vegetables to make a delicious pasta salad which can be good either hot or cold.
Easy reheat recipes such as batches of chilli, Bolognese, and more can be great for larger families or if you are looking to freeze some pre-prepared meals for later in the month. Granola bars, healthy flapjack recipes, and muffins can be a great way to give your children a balanced snack throughout the week – and they can be cooked in a batch, too, making them perfect time-saving recipes.
Adding different toppings such as nuts, fruits, and seeds can help add variety to them while also giving your children new tastes and textures to explore. And obviously, sweet treats should be allowed in moderation. Pancake tacos are an exciting way to bring a bit of sugar into your meal times while also letting your children top them with their own choices – they might even choose strawberries for an additional fruit boost!
Keeping your kids hydrated on the go
Warmer weather can mean hydration is more important than ever. To avoid dehydration, focusing on snack and drink options which your children both enjoy and boost their water intake is crucial.
Soft drinks such as ours can be a great way to let your children take a sip of fruity flavours without worrying about how much added sugar or artificial colours/preservatives they are consuming. Fruit cups and squeezable yoghurts are also a great option, being small enough to fit into any bag without weighing you down.
Freezing the yoghurts and then packing them with cooling blocks can be a great way of cooling down under the sun, and it can help keep some of the mess at bay.
Fruit itself is also a great way of rehydrating – think orange slices during the school sports day. Fruit skewers can be a delicious and nutritious snack for your little ones, and with a variety of shapes to cut them into and bright colours, fruit can be a fun snack too. So, with a little bit of thought the day before, packing for a picnic or your summer days out don’t have to be complicated. Simply focus on colours, textures, shapes, and a little bit of meal prep.