Forget the sandwiches – here’s what’s in my picnic basket


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We had our first picnic of the year on Saturday just gone. The weather was gorgeous so we went to Bristol Zoo with sister-in-law and her family.

It was our first al fresco meal for about eight months and quite last minute – but great fun nonetheless. Why does everything taste so much better outdoors?

S-I-L and I were chatting about ideal picnic foods. We get bored of the usual squashed sandwiches so here are some alternative suggestions.

1. Baked beans
Seriously! One of my mum friends says her children don’t like sandwiches, so she warms up a tin of Heinz’s finest, puts it in a Thermos flask and dishes them up in plastic bowls. It’s probably a bit too messy for the youngest of picnic-goers but it’s cheap, cheerful and full of protein.

2. Oatcakes
Cover them with Philadelphia, Dairylea triangles or hummus. Great if you are watching your weight or your cholesterol and fun for little ones who love dipping food.

3. Carrot, pepper, celery and cucumber sticks
Dip them in hummus, Philadelphia, wholefood peanut butter… Healthy, crunchy fun.

4. Muffins and scones
Not the sweet, sugar-laden variety but healthy alternatives to sandwiches. I found a great recipe online for sundried tomato and basil muffins. They’re lovely with Philadelphia on top. You can even make up a big batch and freeze them until needed. Annabel Karmel has a great recipe for pineapple and raisin muffins (I reduce the sugar to make it even healthier, while a friend replaced pineapple with apple and it worked just as well).

5. Falafel. Delightful little balls of protein and iron, low in fat and very filling. You can make your own, make up a packet mix or just buy shop bought.

Don’t forget a good cool bag and ice blocks! I just hope we have plenty more picnic weather this summer.

What are your favourite picnic foods? I’m always looking for inspiration.

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