Who doesn’t love a picnic? Sitting outside with family and friends and enjoying nature! Unless, like me, holidays were spent in the UK whilst growing up and due to the unpredictable weather, many a picnic ended up in the car shielding from the rain!
During this unprecedented time where we have all seen life turn upside down as we deal with an international pandemic; it has seemed even more special to be able to go outside and enjoy a picnic with loved ones as lockdown has eased. I feel as though I have really appreciated the “outdoors” so much more. We have discovered so many wonderful places to go and spend time as a family, from local woods to the seaside. Each time, we have brought a picnic box with us filled with easy to transport and easy to eat food. And that is what having a picnic to me is all about. Yes, we could be fancy and bring plates, cutlery, napkins, 3 course meals, but I love just having “picky” food which only needs the utensils which God intended – our hands!
There are so many options, from a good old sandwich, hard boiled eggs, houmous with crudité to fruit and muffins – the list is endless and all perfect for children from 6 months of age.
For those at the beginning of their weaning journey, having a picnic “al fresco” is great! It really helps being outside in terms of combating some of that mess! Who doesn’t love the choice of NOT cleaning your floors and tables – I certainly do! And, by eating outside, and sitting together we are together as a family! Our babies are clever beings. They love to mimic and so seeing how you eat, their siblings eat, their friends eat is a great way for them to learn this new skill of popping food into their mouth, moving it around their mouth and learning to swallow. Our busy lives mean we don’t always all sit together at mealtimes but by sharing food picnic style encourages us to sit together, engage with each other and learn from each other.
Another great thing about having a picnic is being in the outdoors and exposing ourselves to the wonder which is vitamin D. We all know that the best source of vitamin D is the sun so allowing our children and ourselves sometime in the sun is a great way of ensuring we are not becoming low in this vital vitamin. Vitamin D is essential for so many things including strong bones and teeth but it is also so important in all aspects of health. More and more research is being published about the benefits of ensuring an adequate vitamin D intake and scientists are now showing how low intakes of the vitamin are seen in many health outcomes from lung conditions through to gestational diabetes.
There is something about being outside and in the sun, which brings out our inner happiness! Personally, I find it helps my mental health as it gives you a feeling of being more carefree. We are away from the house, we don’t have to look at the dishes which are piling up, the toys which need putting away – we can simply just “be”!
Picnics don’t have to just be sitting on a blanket in an open space, they could be part of a nature walk, a bike ride, a boat ride, camping trip, a trip to the zoo or a theme park. We can incorporate a picnic into all sorts of fun activities which bring us together, help us stay active, make us feel happy and enable us to be surrounded by the people we love. During these strange and unsettling times which we are currently witnessing in 2020 – what more could we want?!