Happy International Picnic Day! In honor of this holiday, it’s time to plan a lovely outdoor picnic for your next weekend or day off of work. The weather is getting warmer, after all, so take advantage of the natural beauty and spend a meal outdoors. It’s always nice to set out a blanket or park yourself at a picnic bench and take in your food along with the fresh air and a view of green grass and trees. Celebrate International Picnic Day with these 5 steps:

1. Skip the Paper and Plastic

Whenever people gather to enjoy food together outdoors, it’s usually a guaranteed fact that someone will pick up a package of paper plates or plastic forks at the grocery store. But in the interest of helping the environment and making better, greener choices as a consumer, don’t be careless with the materials you buy. When planing a picnic, skip purchasing plastic utensils, styrofoam cups, paper napkins, and disposable plates. Skip storing your snacks in plastic baggies or wrapping your sandwiches in foil or plastic wrap. Opt for more eco- friendly choices such as BPA-free containers to store food, and eating with reusable plates, knives, forks, and spoons instead of disposable ones. You’ll be helping the environment and your health! Check out these tips for planning an eco-picnic.

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2. Pack Ingredients for DIY, Gourmet PB&J

DIY nut butter and fruit spread sandwiches are a great choice to bring to a picnic. Bake some gluten-free sandwich bread and go beyond peanut butter; try making your own cashew butter, hazelnut butter, and almond butter. Inside the sandwiches, you can place some items to make them more gourmet and exciting and less like a sad lunch box. Choose coconut, cacao nibs, goji berries, and banana chips. See what else you can come up with.

3. Transform Veggies Into Chips

For an outdoor meal such as a picnic, it can be tempting to just run to the store and purchase a bag of chips. But for a more eco-friendly approach, try making your own healthy chips out of vegetables. Try these lotus chips and check out this guide for How to Turn Any Vegetable Into Chips.

4. Opt for Healthy Wraps

Wraps are easy to make, easy to transport, and easy to hold, which all makes them go-to food ideas for picnics. Take some sprouted grain tortillas, spread some hummus, then layer whatever veggies you choose. Try these Avocado and Hummus Picnic Wraps.

5. Make Better Versions of Classic Picnic Salads

Tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad — many picnic favorites involve meat or dairy. Luckily, these items are very easy to make using all plant-based items, no meat or dairy. Tempeh, tofu, seitan, and jackfruit are just some of the plants that can help you achieve a tough, meaty texture in your meals. Instead of using mayonnaise as the base for your sauce, try tahini, hummus, cashew cream, or veganaise. To mimic chicken salad, try this Mock Chicken Salad. For tuna salad, try this Mock Tuna Salad or this Tempeh Tuna Salad. To mimic egg salad, try these ‘Egg’ Salad Sandwiches. And remember, to store and transport your picnic salads, don’t choose plastic containers that contain BPA. Instead, opt for glass containers.

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For more recipe ideas, check out our picnic recipe section here at One Green Planet.

Image source: Planning an Eco-Picnic

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