Pack the perfect picnic

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The countdown to summer has begun and there's no better way to celebrate the mercury rising than sharing a picnic with the special people in your life. Sounds easy, right? Picnics can be simple to pull together if you make the most of these eight tips.
8 Tips for making the most of your moveable feast

The countdown to summer has begun and there's no better way to celebrate the mercury rising than sharing a picnic with the special people in your life. Sounds easy, right? Picnics can be simple to pull together if you make the most of these eight tips.

Packing the right picnic gear is almost as important as bringing along the right foods.

1. Basket or backpack?
Everyone loves a traditional picnic basket, but if you're planning to picnic during a bike ride or a trip to the zoo, packing your meal in a backpack will be a more convenient option.

2. Don't forget the essentials
Remember to bring along bottle openers and cork screws to pop the tops on your beverages. There's nothing worse than staring at a delicious, unopened bottle of wine while you dine.

3. Keep it clean
Hand sanitizer and moist towelettes are a must for dirty hands when eating outdoors. Don't forget to bring a small disposable bag to collect any trash.

4. Pack carefully
Make sure liquids are stored in leak-proof containers and pack them tightly so they'll stay upright. Bring along reusable plastic plates. They're usually heavier than paper and the extra weight will make it a little harder for them to blow away. Pack crushable items like potato chips in ziptop plastic baggies. Make sure there's enough air in the bag when you zip it to cushion the chips and protect them from being crushed.

Planning a picnic menu can be tricky. Many of your favorite foods may not be easily transported or safe to eat after a few hours in a picnic basket. Fortunately, you have lots of picnic-friendly foods to pack.

5. Think about it
Before you plan your menu, think about the time of day you're planning to picnic. You'll likely want to pack heartier fare for a picnic closer to dinner time.

6. Temperature matters
It's always a good idea to choose foods that are best served either chilled or at room temperature. If you can't live without your sushi or other foods that need to remain cold, tuck a small ice pack in your basket to keep them cold.

7. Hold the mayo
Even though store-bought mayonnaise is made from pasteurized eggs, which are far less likely to make you sick, keep food poisoning fears at bay by replacing the mayo in your salads with oil and vinegar dressings or pesto.

8. Shaken not stirred
You don't have to forfeit your favorite mixed drink on a picnic. Premix your martinis or mojitos at home. Pour them into a thermos and you've got a drink carrier and built-in shaker all in one.



Veggie Wraps
Serves 2

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup your favorite hummus
2 8-inch flour tortillas
¾ cup fresh baby spinach, rinsed and patted dry
1 small cucumber, cut into strips
1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips

Directions:
1. Stir yogurt and garlic together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Spread hummus evenly on both flour tortillas. Top with spinach, cucumber and red bell peppers.

3. Top vegetables with yogurt. Roll tortillas up tightly and wrap each tortilla snugly with plastic wrap.


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