7 Foods Not to Take to a Picnic
Take your meal outdoors when the weather heats up and plan a picnic. But be careful: There are some foods that can sabotage your portable meal. Before packing your next picnic basket, make sure to avoid these foods.
Potato, pasta and tuna salad dressed in mayo and kept in warm temperatures can spoil the party. These salads need to be kept cold — at 41 degrees or below — otherwise they can make picnickers sick.
Once again, storage can be a problem, especially when it comes to raw fish. Also, if the seafood in your basket or cooler is less than fresh, the odor can seep into the other foods. Your best bet is to skip the fish; go for traditional hot dogs, hamburgers or grilled chicken.
Besides being high in sugar, sodas can burst and ruin your entire meal. Plus, insects (especially bees and ants) love the sweet stuff. Tote along half-frozen bottles of water and use them to keep your food cold.
Although you may be trying to satisfy the chocoholics in your group, chocolate easily melts when it’s warm outside. A better choice is an angel food cake topped with fresh fruit.
Skip cubes of cheese, which will get oily in the warm sun and become very unappetizing. Plus, cutting can be tricky, as paper plates and plastic knives aren’t an ideal combination. Instead, pack sliced fruit or chips and guacamole for easy-to-tote appetizers.
From ice cream to ice pops, frozen treats make a big mess even if you do store them in a cooler. They can get soft, messy and sticky. If you’re packing them for the youngsters, all you’ll end up with is a headache. Take some cash and visit the ice cream truck before heading home instead.
Messy is an understatement when you’re talking about fried food. Although your guests may be excited to see you pull out a vat of fried chicken, you’ll need a lot of napkins for the oily mess and a garbage bag for the leftover bones, which is just something else to attract animals and insects. Opt for grilled foods instead to minimize the mess.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.