8 Great Reasons to Have a Picnic: Road Trip Diet

>> 8 Great Reasons to Have a Picnic: Road Trip Diet

Probably like most people, I am more likely to have picnics while traveling than at home.

I have had picnics on castle walls, beaches, and scenic train rides, in gorgeous European parks, and in countless hotel rooms and balconies (they count, right?).

Shopping and paying for picnic items is also much more memorable than simply eating in a restaurant. Some of my favorite travel memories are communicating with small shop owners, selecting and buying items from product stands, delis, bakeries, and butcheries around the world.

On the other hand, most restaurants cater to tourists. You might not even converse in the local language, try authentic food, or exchange native currency. After all, restaurants around the world hire workers who speak English, offer menu items familiar to Americans, and accept credit cards.

Why not have a picnic at home?

When my kids were younger, we frequently had picnics at home. I would get take out from a restaurant or, more likely, make a picnic-type meal at home. Then I would simply spread out a blanket on the front lawn or fold down the back seat of the SUV—instant picnic.

My kids enjoyed the novelty of not eating at the table, of being able to stroll around during the meal, of shooing away insects and birds.

Me, too!

Picnic spot in Riverside Park, Janesville WI
Picnic spot in Riverside Park, Janesville Wisconsin

Without further ado, here are 8 great reasons to have a picnic, while during your travels or even at home:

  1. Healthier. In true Road Trip Diet fashion, having a picnic puts you totally in charge. You select the food and beverage. You decide how to prepare everything. Restaurant items are higher in fat, oils, and calories. Even if you replicate typical restaurant dishes, your picnic items will be healthier.
  2. Cheaper. One of our common picnic meals in Europe was a roasted chicken, roasted peppers, loaf of bread, and bottle of wine. Together it was probably 25% of the price of similar restaurant meals. Same with sandwiches and probably every other picnic meal. Healthier, too. Yes, I already covered that but might even mention it again!
  3. Creative. Want a Nutella, cheese, prosciutto, and mustard sandwich? I am not saying I would do THAT, but picnics are a chance to try combinations that restaurants and other places would not attempt. Or you would pay them too much for such experiments and have to commit to larger portions?
  4. Fun. My kids recognized that picnics meant that they could run around during a meal time. When was the last time you heard of a picnic not being fun? OK, bad weather or insect invasions can and do happen. In general, though, most picnics are more fun than most meals. Did I mention that picnic meals are healthier?
  5. Better Views. The aforementioned chicken/peppers picnics were enjoyed on different occasions with views of the magnificent Firenze (Florence, Italy) skyline and Mont Blanc. It is a shame to be in magnificent settings and to eat in restaurants without spectacular views. Choose your picnic items and find your own unforgettable scenic view. Send me pictures!
  6. Relaxing. Admit it, during most restaurant meals you feel pressured to vacate at some point; especially in the United States. In European restaurants, the opposite occurs. You have to beg the waiter to bring the check so that you can please pay and leave. Well, neither is true at picnics. No pressure, no time constraints, no reservations necessary. Enjoy!
  7. Better Entertainment. Views are better for picnics (see above) and that may be all the entertainment you want. Picnics can also be excellent people watching opportunities and you do not have to pay cafe or restaurant surcharges. Having a picnic in the shadows of a music festival, religious procession, parade, or other event is inarguably preferred to dining inside a restaurant in the same location.
  8. No Dress Code. Kick off your shoes. Wear your bathing suit and whatever combination of clothing items (or not) you wish. Lie down and listen to the music, stare at the stars, or take a nap. You are at a picnic. Try that at a restaurant!

Today is a great day for a picnic, right?

Please share your favorite or desired future picnic memories. Is Road Trip Diet your favorite healthy lifestyle method?

Sharing is caring!