The allure of a picnic is in it's simplicity. Pack what food you want into a basket or bag, throw a blanket into a backpack and go. It's the perfect, affordable date and a way to get away from the hustle and bustle with friends. Pack your lunch and go.
Due to their simplicity, these starters are easy to take anywhere. Cheese and crackers, hardboiled eggs, and a fruit salad can be put together in a snap. For a variation on hardboiled eggs, try deviled eggs: halve the hardboiled eggs, remove the yolk, mix the yolk with mayo and cayenne pepper, and plop it right back into the egg. Other snacks include: hummus and veggies, granola bars and potato salad. Get them ready-made or make your own.
The world of salads only starts with lettuce, so look for something beyond the scope of the traditional, iceberg salad. Cucumber salads are simple: including just cucumbers, red onion, and oil and vinegar, they are as healthy as a salad can get. Chop up the ingredients, add oil and vineagar to taste, and eat it with a fork or put it on a nice French bread.
For a more robust taste, try tomato salad. Cut tomatoes into wedges, chop onions, add some fresh basil and pour in enough oil to suit your bread-dipping needs. This salad is best when it sits overnight, so planning ahead will be to your benefit. Bring extra bread! This salad is addictive.
But what would a picnic be without sandwiches? Peanutbutter and jelly is the classic picnic sandwich; twist it up with some tomato, sliced apples and almonds, or blueberry preserves. Craving something exciting? Try making a tofu sandwich spread. Prepared just as you would make egg salad, (another wonderful lunch possibility) tofu spread is simple and healthy. The basic spread is made with tofu, mayo, chopped onions and celery, and touches of soy sauce and lemon juice. However, you can make variations with difference spices, vegetables, and even peanutbutter if you are feeling ambitious. Just remember: tofu is easier to work with if it's strained and frozen overnight, so plan ahead when possible.
Finally, for dessert, cookies is one of the most portable options, untensil-free; they're easy to bag, light, and very easy to eat. Make them with chocolate chips, oatmeal, sugar, ginger, peanutbutter, or just buy them in a box from the nearest grocery store. Other dessert options: homemade rice krispies, banana bread, and brownies.