Summer is finally here and after long months of surprise blizzards and below-freezing temps, nothing sounds better than lazy days spent lounging in the sunshine and more importantly, indulging in delicious summer foods. The best way to combine the two is to grab a blanket, sunglasses and a good book, and head to the park for a picnic with friends. Stuck on what to bring in your basket? Here’s some inspiration:
1. Pick up a baguette.
When you buy an entire baguette and bring it home, eating the whole thing seems almost a little too indulgent. But when you polish off a baguette coupled with cheese in between rounds of ultimate frisbee in the park? That’s just good picnicking.
Need a gluten-free option? You could pick up a loaf of gluten-free bread, but other great things to pair with your cheese are fresh veggies or rice cakes.
2. Select a cheese.
If you’re one of those people who attends wine and cheese conferences almost entirely for the cheese platters, then you can’t forget to pick up some Brie or Camembert for your outing. Bring along a plastic knife for easy slicing, and try not to eat the entire wedge by yourself!
If you need something to eat with your bread that’s vegan-friendly but still has that creamy texture that Brie does, bring along a container of hummus—try a roasted pepper, garlic or even peanut butter variety to keep things interesting. Even better, make it yourself and then pack it to go.
3. Bring some cured meats.
To round out your charcuterie-esque picnic basket you have going on so far, add in some salami or prosciutto. Don’t forget to slice them up beforehand, and enjoy each salty, delicious piece before it’s all gone.
Vegetarians/vegans, need something salty to take its place? Try some salted nuts—almonds, pistachios or cashews. They’ll go great with number 4. Here’s a guide to which nuts are the healthiest.
4. Wash and cut fresh fruits.
With all the great fruits that are finally in-season, don’t be afraid to take advantage of as many types as possible. Slice up a watermelon, wash a bunch of grapes and bring along some fresh strawberries.
5. Chop up some veggies.
This isn’t even just to balance out the fact that you’ve splurged on a wheel of cheese or an entire baguette. Just like the fresh fruits, carrots, celery and bell peppers are refreshing and perfectly crunchy for your picnic meal.
Here are some recipes for dips to dunk those veggies in (and they’ll help you keep your bikini bod).
6. Pack a thermos of something to drink (Adult beverages optional).
Brew a huge batch of iced tea or whip up some lemonade—even if it’s from the powdered mix. Being out in the sun all day will be dehydrating, and besides your usual bottles of water, an entire pitcher’s worth of iced tea will be a relief to have with you.
Want to upgrade for something a little more 21+? Try mixing a summer drink or use one of these creative ways to sneak your drink into a park/beach.