Edit ModuleShow Tags
Published:

Take Your Meal Outside with Picnic Food Safety Tips



Take Your Meal Outside with Picnic Food Safety Tips | Food and Nutrition Magazine | Stone Soup Blog

Cindy Gay, RD, LD This featured post is by Cindy Gay, RD, LD. Follow her on Twitter @ScrappyRD.

We enjoy our meals when good food, good service and a beautiful setting converge. A clean dining space and attractive eating area — the environment — entices us to eat and enjoy. And, it's hard to imagine a dining space that's more inviting than a scenic picnic area!

Last year my husband and I started a tradition of taking weekly picnics. He plans the destination; I'm in charge of the food.

On Saturdays, I prepare our meal, so Sundays — our picnic day — is work-free and ever so enjoyable. Just like at home, our meals include lots of vegetables, fruit, lean protein and whole grains.

Keep Cold Foods Cold

Protein foods (meats, eggs and dairy) and cut melons are potential food poisoning threats and must be kept cold. Here are my tips on how to do so:

  • Pack foods in insulated containers with ice packs.
  • When preparing, chill foods quickly in shallow containers. Glass and metal chill quicker than plastic.
  • Pack cold plate ingredients separately and arrange the plates at the table.
  • Slice meats thinly after preparation and pack in zipper bags. Store directly between ice packs.
  • Freeze individual parfaits for an hour before departing.
  • Pack fruit crisps and parfaits in shallow mason jars. 

Keep Hot Foods Hot

In cooler months, we add soup to our picnic menu. I make the soup the day before and chill it quickly in shallow containers. Then, on the day of the picnic, I preheat the thermos by filling it with boiling water. Then, I heat the soup to a simmer, empty the thermos of water and add the soup.

We always take a thermos of coffee to enjoy after our meal. The coffee thermos is preheated with boiling water prior to adding the fresh brewed coffee.

Considering Timing and Setting

There are many state and local parks and wildlife restoration areas within a 100-mile radius of our home. This is important because you should consume all foods within two hours after packing. And we only pack what we plan to eat, so there are no leftovers! 

Also, pack hand sanitizer and use it frequently.

A big part of the fun of picnics is setting the table with cloth napkins, cutlery and small plates. I cover the eating area with a cloth prior to set up. Many parks have running water where I can rinse the dishes after eating. Then, I give them a more thorough washing when I get home.

My final step: pick a flower from our yard and take a mini-bottle for a centerpiece.


Cindy Gay, RD, LD, recently retired from her job in health care. She serves as historian for the West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and blogs at Cindy's Health Meals. Connect with her on Twitter and Pinterest.
 

Edit Module

More Stone Soup

Apple-Quinoa Meatballs

Apple-Quinoa Meatballs

For this recipe, I decided to have a little fun with my love for meatballs in this sweet and savory mix of apple, beef and quinoa.
National Junk Food Day: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body

National Junk Food Day: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body

In most Westernized countries we have developed a very strong narrative about what eating “should” look like.
Massaged Kale Salad with Variations

Massaged Kale Salad with Variations

There are many different ways to prepare kale, from adding it to soups and stews to making kale chips, but the easiest cooking method is giving it a special treatment by preparing a massaged kale salad. Young tender kale and the "dinosaur kale" variety work especially well for this simple-yet-delicious recipe. Making a massaged kale salad can be a fun cooking activity for your children too. Getting their hands dirty in the kitchen is always fun for the little ones.
Farro Stars in Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Slices

Farro Stars in Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Slices

Farro is a favorite in my household. And, most of the time I have leftover farro or lentils lying around, waiting to be eaten — or turned into these upgraded stuffed peppers.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Advertise with Food & Nutrition
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags


Stone Soup

Guest bloggers from around the world share with Food & Nutrition Magazine.

About This Blog

Stone Soup is a guest blog written by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Content — including information, recipes and views expressed — is that of the authors and does not reflect the positions or policies of Food & Nutrition Magazine or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Bloggers are required to pledge they will not write for Stone Soup on topics, companies or trade organization they currently represent or have represented at any time.

Learn about our guest blogs!

Comments Policy

Food & Nutrition Magazine provides this forum to exchange ideas, opinions and contributions within a positive community. Diverse viewpoints and constructive, respectful dialogue are welcome. Rudeness, misinformation, self-promotion and abuse are not. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate this policy or our Terms & Conditions. You must include your name or be logged into a personal account on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to comment.

Archives

Edit Module

Get Stone Soup in Your RSS

Use your RSS reader's instructions to add Stone Soup to your list:

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Stone Soup Feed »

Get Our Blogs in Your Email

Stone Soup
Student Scoop