How to Pack a Perfect Picnic | a2 Milk® USA
How to Pack a Perfect Picnic | a2 Milk® USA

How to Pack a Perfect Picnic

Posted on May 15, 2019

Delicious food is the cherry on top for most picnics. Whether you’re noshing on grilled burgers or a buffet of cold salads, digging into your favorite picnic food while spending time outdoors with the ones you love is a guaranteed recipe for happiness. Now, let’s make it safe and simple!

Prepping a portable outdoor meal

Family enjoying a perfectly packed picnic - a2 Milk


As you brainstorm what to put in your picnic basket, keep in mind how you will transport, prepare and serve the food. Does it need to stay cold? Does it need to be heated?


The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ website suggests traveling with frozen meat packed in a cooler with ice. Plan for the meat to take approximately 50 percent longer to cook than thawed options. This approach reduces the risk of food poisoning, an unwelcome guest at any picnic!


Any perishable foods should also be packed in a cooler (not touching raw meat) to keep them chilled. This includes egg-salad sandwiches, mayonnaise-based salads and homemade puddings or smoothies made with milk. After serving, place leftovers in the cooler until someone wants a second helping.


If you’re taking something hot a short distance, like Potato Beer Soup with Sausage, put it in a hot beverage thermos. Before enjoying, check the temperature with a thermometer to be sure it’s at least 165 F. Or, transport it chilled, then warm it up over a fire pit or grill at the picnic location.


Finally, bring hand sanitizing wet wipes to use as you prepare and serve the food. If you’re cooking raw meats, two sets of utensils are a must — one for moving raw meat to the grill, and the other for serving cooked meat.

Packing the best picnic food

Ingredients for sandwiches - cream cheese, grilled bread, avocado, etc. for packing a picnic


So, what’s best to tuck into a picnic basket? We love a balanced meal featuring all of your favorite dishes! Think of including a protein, a vegetable, a fruit, a grain and of course dessert. That’s a food group, right?


Sometimes it’s fun to run with a theme. You could opt for classic picnic fare featuring brats and potato salad, an Italian inspired meal with antipasti and a noodle salad or even a play on colors, choosing a variety of produce that represents each color of the rainbow. Here are a few ideas:


  • Proteins: Classic picnic meats include cold cut sandwiches and grilled hot dogs or burgers. Or, go vegetarian with a chickpea salad or slices of marinated tempeh. We think deviled eggs and mixed roasted nuts are perfect protein-filled appetizers to include too!


  • Vegetables: A simple tray of chilled celery sticks, carrots, broccoli, sliced peppers and cauliflower to dip in hummus or ranch dressing is a great way to eat lots of fresh garden produce. Cold cucumber and tomato salad topped with a light vinaigrette and grilled squash or marinated portobello mushrooms are delicious.


  • Fruit: Keep it fresh and put together a fruit kebab with chunks of strawberries, melon, and grapes. Or, go tropical with a mixed bowl of pineapple, mandarin oranges, and kiwi. Fruit smoothies are another way to indulge! We love citrus on a warm day.


  • Grains: The number one picnic grain is grilled corn-on-the-cob, of course! But, if you’re packing a quick ready-to-eat picnic, a dish of cold wild rice salad from your favorite deli or a soft whole wheat baguette to pair with homemade ricotta cheese will hit the spot.


  • Dessert: Finally, no picnic is complete with a sweet treat. We love chocolate-covered strawberries, Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Bites or a handful of homemade Double Chocolate Granola that’s easy to eat on a short nature hike after the meal.

As you plan your outdoor meal, keep it simple and delicious. Think lighter fare made with fresh seasonal ingredients and you simply can’t go wrong. As you prepare, be sure to stock up on a2 Milk® to use in your recipes — from soup to salad dressing — creamy goodness awaits! Bon appétit!

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