The summer vacation time is here, and we're filling our diaries with plans to create unforgettable memories with our toddlers. And by "unforgettable memories”, we don't necessarily mean big days out and vacations abroad; instead, we're talking about the humble family picnic.
Picnics are a brilliant way to let your imagination run wild with fun games, exciting food options, and a chance to explore nature with your little ones. Whether you're planning a family get-together in the park, a foodie feast in the back garden, or even an indoor picnic thanks to wet weather, it's a great way to spend your day.
Our friends at Pots For Tots know that a store-bought sandwich and a pack of potato chips won't cut it when it comes to a picnic spread. After all, they are a baby and toddler food delivery service, offering handmade, delicious and nutritious meals and snacks delivered to your door, so they know a thing or two about creating tasty and family-friendly dishes!
Here, Pots For Tots and their resident Children’s Dietitian - and doddl expert - Lucy Upton, share a whole host of tips to take your picnic to the next level!
“Picnics are a fabulous way of letting your little ones explore food in a relaxed and fun way. Lots of children, especially toddlers, love the novelty of eating in a new place and in a different way. Picnics are also a great way to offer a nutritionally diverse meal to kids ,across a range of different options. Incorporating big tastes and textures, alongside family favorites can be a great way to make the most of some fresh-aired eating (or even on the floor of your living room!).” - Lucy Upton, The Children's Dietitian.
Lucy's foodie top tips for creating a nutritionally diverse picnic…
- Combine hummus, which is a great source of fiber, protein and fats for kids with fresh vegetable sticks. Think the rainbow here; with green cucumber, red and yellow peppers and orange carrots. The doddl children’s plate can be really practical on a picnic with this kind of food, as the curved edges help keep food from sliding off onto the picnic blanket!
- Crackers are often firm toddler favorite, so why not combine these with some different dips. Guacamole brings the green from outdoors to their plate, salsa can be used to manage mini cracker pizzas with a sprinkle of cheese, and smooth nut butters mixed into yoghurt with some grated apple are a sweeter option too.
- Add some protein rich options to your picnic with some mini chicken skewers, tofu fingers, egg muffins or strips of halloumi cheese you've grilled beforehand.
- Add a splash more color with some different fruits chopped and ready to go; you can always add some jars of extras that can get your little one dipping and sprinkling their fruit too. Use their doddl toddler utensils to skewer their fruit of choice, then have different dipping options like yoghurt, nut butter, cream cheese mixed with a little cinnamon and sprinkles like ground seeds, crushed cereal pieces or even some rainbow colored sprinkles!
- The humble sandwich can be a great way to offer balanced options at picnics too - try the rule of three, combining your carbohydrate rich bread of choice (pitta, sliced bread, bagels, focaccia slices) with a protein rich option e.g. egg, cheese, ham, mashed coronation chickpea, cream cheese and then finally, a vegetable of choice e.g. sliced cucumber, grated carrot, lettuce leaves…etc!
Need more ideas? Here are some of Lucy's favorite picnic snacks for the whole family…
- Egg muffins or fritter slices - these transport so well, and what you add to the egg can be really varied. Cheese and tomato, peas and spinach, grated veggies, potato, chopped ham or chicken. Mix them with eggs and bake into muffins or a thinner slice.
- Throw together trail mix can be a fun option for kids and parents alike - combine options like dried cereal pieces, dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, roasted chickpeas, crushed crackers and maybe even a few chocolate buttons. Remember to make sure this is age appropriate, so avoid options like whole nuts or large dried fruit pieces for children < 4-5 years of age.
- Banana pancakes - the Pots For Tots Mini Banana Pancakes are such a versatile picnic option. Bring these along to eat on their own, or sandwich them together with nut butter, tahini or find a fun topping like yoghurt and sprinkles even a little ice cream or mashed fruit.
- A big container of pasta salad is such an easy picnic snack - and one you can vary each time. Combine your pasta of choice (you could even try a lentil or pea pasta), with your preferred sauce e.g. pesto, tomato, cheese and some extras like roasted vegetables, microwave veg, shredded chicken or a tin of beans or lentils. You can always bring along a little grated cheese to add on top too.
- The Pots For Tots Zucchini & Sweetcorn Bites are another ready to go, balanced picnic snack perfect for all the family. The perfect palm size for hungry and busy children, and packed full of vegetables and protein rich gram (chickpea) flour, this snack is as nutritious as it is transportable.
And let's not forget about the games! Here are five of our fave fuss-free, kid-friendly games you can play with your toddler during your picnic…
- I spy with my little eye - a classic kids' game that will let their imagination flow.
- Scavenger hunt - a brilliant way to encourage your little one to explore nature and discover the world around them.
- Mini races - on your marks, get set, GO! Set up mini races, even adding in obstacles or challenges (e.g when you get to the tree you have to do three star jumps, before running back!.
- Who can blow the biggest bubble - bubbles always go down a treat with kids, so challenge each other to see who can blow the biggest bubble possible.
- Musical chairs - or cushions if you're sitting on the floor!
We hope these ideas help make your next picnic a success!
Love, the Pots for Tots Team
Pots for Tots is a handmade baby and toddler meal delivery service in the UK, helping to make mealtimes easier for busy parents. They cook delicious and wholesome meals and snacks, so you don’t have to spend time shopping, chopping, cooking and washing up! Meals are delivered to your door in little pots, perfect for you to pop in the freezer, ready for you whenever you need a tasty meal or snack for your little ones.
Pots for Tots would like to offer doddl customers an exclusive discount! Use code DODDL to get an extra 10% off your first three Pots for Tots subscription boxes (on top of an automatic 10% off all subscriptions) at potsfortots.co.uk.
Find out what Lucy, and other experts, think of doddl here.