Rethink Picnic Lunch

Rethink Picnic Lunch

Shocking, I have some neurotic behaviors that will probably never die. In our early married years, Sam and I lived about 90 miles from Panama City Beach. Without children, 90 miles down the road was throw the towel and sunscreen in the car and lets go! Believe it or not, Sam was the one who really required more than a bowl of cereal before hitting the road. It was painfully annoying to me that he couldn’t get up before the sun, cram a bagel down his throat, put his swim trunks on and go. He wanted to wake up slowly (how ANNOYING), drink his coffee (UGH), eat a proper breakfast (THE NERVE), and then enjoy a leisurly Saturday drive on the country scenic road from Alabama to coastal Florida.

 Me and my love in the early days!

When I think back to those early days and my eating habits, it is not confusing while I always felt so crappy, annoyed, depressed for no reason, and bloated. On beach days this was a pretty typical run down of what we would eat. Sugary cereal for breakfast, wheat thins, fruit, fig newtons, and deli sandwich for lunch, and favorite dinner of pork chops, baked potatoes, and French bread for dinner. Thankfully, over time, a few things have changed. Sam still hasn’t recovered from the trauma of my frantic behavior to get to the beach as early as possible, so he gives me the side eye as I prepare a huge breakfast on an intended beach day. He is still surprised as he opens the cooler and sees the smorgasbord of fresh foods packed neatly into containers, but he is delighted that I’m MOSTLY even tempered and pleasant to be around morning to night. I do want to get to the beach well before lunch time, so I pack boxes with dividers full of fresh vegetables and some fruits.

A few ideas:

  • Avocado, sliced in half and cubed while still in tact in the skin
  • baby carrots, I slice in half because the kids eat them better that way, and the hummus stays on better
  • cucumbers and grape tomatoes, sliced: Hazel really likes balsamic vinegar, but Mabyl doesn’t
  • hummus
  • frozen pineapple or mango: I buy bags at Whole Foods, dump in glass containers and by the time we get to the beach they are still icey but easy to bite through
  • berries
  • popcorn: I pop my own, add about a tablespoon olive oil and then a little salt
  • seaweed
  • granola bars
  • cold legume and grain salad, so many different options to experiment with but I really like to pack salads with more sturdy vegetables, like kale or cabbage, as opposed to spinach or romaine.

We pack a few extra grocery bags to take away our trash/ recyclables, forks, spoons, and plastic plates. Everybody is happy for hours on the beach. No bloat, no crankiness, no problem.

 Avocado, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Plus little fingers and precious toes.