Packing a Safe and Healthy Picnic Basket
06.14.12 Packing a Safe and Healthy Picnic Basket
Eating outside is glorious, especially after a long winter indoors. Are you in the mode of routinely packing up a picnic bag to bring to the beach or off to an outdoor concert or even to a friend's backyard? Food packaging materials have come a long way, (even if full circle!) and we're better equipped to keep food stored in healthier containers. While we once packed everything in plastic, set to roast in the hot summer sun...we now know more about the dangers of plastic.
Now that times have changed, our picnic baskets have an updated look. Luckily, there are manufacturers who are thinking about the convenience (and safety!) of baking a dish and then transporting it easily. For packing pasta, veggie and fruit salads, Anchor Hocking and Duralex both make fabulous and easily transportable glass containers. Since they're made from tempered glass (5x as strong), I'm not worried about the glass breaking. Plus, they have leak-proof BPA free lids so any dressing stays inside the container and not over everything else.
I must admit, drinking a glass of wine outside is a luxury, but I reserve delicate glasses for inside. When we found stainless steel wine glasses made with high grade 18/10 stainless steel, I imagined how easy it would be taking these along for an evening picnic at the beach. And civilized! Pleasantly cool to the touch and ideal on a warm summer night, the stainless steel keeps beverages cooler for longer. Sturdy and dishwasher safe too!
If you haven't ventured into the world of reusable on-the-go utensils, you may be pleasantly surprised at the ease of packing a Bamboo repeat utensil set for daily outings. The bamboo utensils are made from a single sheet of bamboo, so no need for glues of any kind. They're also lightweight and strong, heat and stain resistant and finished with natural food-safe wood oil. The fork, spoon, knife and chopsticks(!) all fit snugly into a cloth carrying case made from recycled plastic. Attached is a carabiner so you can also clip this unit to a backpack as well. And you also avoid the newly minted carcinogen styrene, found in plastic utensils.
At the top of my list for picnic plates are Sanctus Mundo's stainless steel plates. Made from high quality 18/8 stainless steel, they won't react with food or rust. These plates are a great alternative to paper ones and with the added quality of lasting for many years. Another useful basket addition are the stainless steel cups. Again, no need to fill the landfill with paper cups (bleached paper sprayed with a polyethylene coating!) but rather drink in cool, clean style for use again and again. Also made from 18/8 stainless steel.
For a really civilized picnic, I love using a stainless steel tiffin. Made with high quality 18/8 stainless steel (#304) this 3-tiered tiffin allows for some creative food packing. Load it up with a variety of picnic foods and snap close with a handy carrying handle. I've had great luck keeping salad dressings in a separate Lunchbots leak-proof stainless steel container until ready to eat.
Always important to stay hydrated too! Be sure to bring along a BPA-free reusable water bottle.
Lastly, it's always lovely to pack some CleanWell hand-sanitizing wipes to wipe away any harmful germs before digging in. This is the only hand sanitizer that is all-natural and alcohol-free. A great, non-toxic choice for kids and parents.
Happy Picnicking! What do you like to pack for picnics?