Recipes for your family picnic

Family picnic in summer
Find inspiration for an outdoor family feast! (Photo: WTML)

Food tastes so much better out of doors. So next time you head to the woods, why not take along a picnic? Even better, give it a woodland flavour with our nature-themed snacks – kids will love helping to prepare them.

Family friendly picnic food recipes

Summery sandwiches

Look out for cookie cutters in shapes such as flowers, leaves and butterflies. You can use them to cut mini versions of kids’ favourite sandwiches.

Nibbly hedgehog

You will need:

  • An orange
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Your favourite nibbles, such as cheese, pineapple, apple, grapes, cucumber, cocktail sausages etc...
  • Foil

Cut your nibbles into cubes, put them on the cocktail sticks and push them into the orange. Keep going until it looks like a hedgehog! You could use some black olives and a glacé cherry to make eyes and a nose. Wrap your hedgehog in foil so it doesn’t fall apart on the way to your picnic.

Cheesy tomato snails

(Makes 12-14)

You will need:

  • A sheet of ready-made puff pastry
  • A tube of tomato paste
  • 200g grated cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Roll out the pastry.
3. Spread it with tomato paste.
4. Sprinkle evenly with grated cheese.
5. Roll the pastry tightly into a long sausage, then cut it into slices about 1cm thick.
6. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and lay the snails on it.
7. Bake for 10-20 minutes until golden. Place on a rack to cool.

Butterfly snacks

For each butterfly, you will need:

  • A wooden clothes peg
  • A small, self-seal, clear plastic bag
  • Materials to decorate, such as pens, paints, glitter, googly eyes
  • A colourful pipe cleaner
  • Snacks, such as grapes, blueberries, cherries, nuts, dried fruit etc.

1. Get kids to decorate one side of the peg, and glue on the googly eyes near the gripping end. Let it dry.
2. Fill the bag to just over half full with a colourful snack mix. Seal it, scrunch up the middle and clip it with the peg.
3. Cut a 10cm length of pipe cleaner and bend it in half to make the antennae. Curl each end and clip it onto the peg.

Wormy apples

Punch a hole in a fun-sized apple and poke a juicy, jelly worm into it. Wait for the squeals of surprise!

Chocolate conkers

(Makes around 48 conkers)

You will need:

  • 450g Oreo cookies or chocolate bourbon biscuits
  • 225g full fat cream cheese
  • 450g chocolate (milk or dark)

1. Put the biscuits in a plastic food bag and smash to fine crumbs with a rolling pin (or use a food mixer).
2. Put the cream cheese in a bowl and mix in the biscuit crumbs.
3. Shape the mixture into small ‘conkers’.
4. Lay them on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and put them in the fridge for at least two hours.
5. Break the chocolate into bits and melt in a bowl placed in hot water. Dip the conkers in to coat them.
6. Place them in a tray lined with greaseproof paper and put them back in the fridge for the chocolate to set.

You could also make spiky green shells using marzipan dyed with food colour.

Our expert picnic tips

Hampers are lovely, but can be awkward to carry through the woods. It may be easier to use a picnic backpack.

Don’t leave food that would normally be refrigerated outside for more than two hours or it could grow bacteria that causes tummy upsets. If food’s not eaten all at once, cover with a cloth to keep flies off it.

Make sure you’re all set for the perfect picnic with our handy checklist:

  • Picnic blanket 
  • Paper plates and cups
  • Cutlery
  • Napkins
  • Kitchen roll (can double as napkins too)
  • Cloth to cover food
  • Sanitising wipes
  • Antihistamine cream for bites or stings
  • Sunscreen
  • A bag to collect your rubbish
  • Nature Detectives activities - why not try a spotter sheet?

Remember to take your rubbish home with you, and recycle as much as you can.

What are your favourite family picnic treats? We’d love to hear your fail-safe picnic recipes in the comments below!

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