Hosting a Safe Picnic to Bring in the Spring and Sweep Winter Away in 2021

The weather is warming up, and vaccinations on the rise! The best way to come out of hibernation and fight off the pandemic blues is with a delicious outdoor meal prepared at home and enjoyed outside.

There is no reason why family and friends need to remain locked away on your phone or stuck in your computer screen as long as the proper precautions are in place. This article will provide meal ideas along with packaging and serving tips that will allow you to enjoy delicious food and much-needed company outdoors this Spring!

Outdoor Guidelines

Before we dig into the food ideas, let’s quickly refresh the CDC’s suggested outdoor social distancing regulations. If you are inviting people who do not live with you, you should still maintain a six-foot distance. When sitting and eating, a mask is unnecessary, but a mask is still recommended when moving about.

Choosing the Right Spot

Try to avoid crowded outdoor spaces. Large parks should have ample room, but it might be best to choose a location off the beaten path to avoid unsafe conditions. National and state parks are a good choice because they are often quite large and have designated picnic areas and more secluded areas.

Try for wide, open areas like a beach or lakeshore. This will give you and the guests who aren’t from your home bubble ample room to spread out, set up, and relax! 

Picnic Blanket Alternatives

The classic image of the picnic brings to mind friends and family sharing a relatively small blanket. If you are picnicking with people from your household, the traditional style still works. However, we have to get creative for Spring 2021 when different house bubbles mingle.

If you are picnicking with people from outside of your living space, try using individual beach towels spaced at least 6 feet apart. If getting down on the ground and back up again is difficult for you or a member of your group, try bringing folding chairs and TV dinner trays, so each person has their own picnic table.

You can arrange the spots in a large circle and have a “buffet blanket” set up in the middle, where all the food, drink, and additional PPE are kept. Guests can take turns going up to the “buffet blanket” as needed.

Make it BYOF, B, and PPE

If you do not have the time to organize the party supplies, food, and protective gear, a straightforward workaround is to tell guests that the picnic is BYO. Therefore, each guest is responsible for their own food, drink, and PPE. But you should still bring extra PPE.

Bringing Ample PPE

You want to come prepared. Make sure there is enough hand sanitizer or antiseptic wipes to accommodate all guests. It is also a good idea to bring extra disposable masks in case some get soiled by food or the outdoors.

Introducing Napkin Packs

Think about bringing napkin packs – napkins tucked away in a Ziploc bag that also contain those little antibacterial hand wipe pouches. You can also store disposable forks and spoons in these napkin packs to reduce the spread of germs.

You can also make a jar or large Tupperware container of warm soapy water to wash your hands before and after eating. This works well for storing any used plastic, glass, or ceramic dishes when everyone is done eating.

Meals Preprepared in Tupperware  

Now we get to the fun stuff – the food! There are many ways to prepackage entire meals so that only the person who makes it and eats it ever touches it.

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats can be made both savory and sweet to taste and require minimal preparation. You simply need a fridge, a sealable container, and some time overnight to prepare them.

You want to mix all your wet and dry ingredients into the containers, making sure the meals are well mixed. Then you refrigerate overnight. The dishes can remain sealed until they are ready to be eaten.

This meal idea involves the slightest bit of preparation but also requires the longest time to set fully.

Individual Meals in Tupperware

If you like to cook, you can prepare whole meals and portion them out into individual containers for guests to enjoy. Like the overnight oats, only the person who prepares the food and the person who will eat it come in contact with it. Just be sure to pack some extra containers for guests who want seconds!

Meal ideas for this can include some type of protein and a whole grain garnished with a vegetable of some sort. The possibilities are endless, but the idea is to provide container-sized meals that people can enjoy without risking the contamination that the traditional buffet-basket picnic might harbor.

Individual meals packed up in Tupperware stack easily in coolers or hot food bags, ensuring that the meals keep and that the container space is used efficiently.

Soup in Mason Jars

Another delicious way to make safe and individually packaged meals for your COVID-proof picnic is to cook soup at home and package the soup fresh and hot into mason jars. It’s best to prepare the soup the same day as the picnic and package the jars into a hot food bag right away to preserve the warmth.

Usher in the Spring With a COVID-proof Picnic

By following the suggestions in this article, you can safely and confidently hold an outdoor picnic with friends and family. Remember to bring ample PPE and make sure the meals are individually packaged. Now shake off the winter blues and get outdoors!

About the Author

Veronica Baxter is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant working and living in the great city of Philadelphia. She frequently works with and writes on behalf of Lee A. Schwartz, a busy family law attorney in Philadelphia.

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