Don’t get sick at your next summer picnic

It’s one of the most unpleasant feelings you can imagine – getting a stomach bug.

Yet gastroenteritis is quite common and, more importantly, highly preventable. At a time of year when families and friends are gathering for potlucks and summer barbecues, thinking about food-borne illness is not a bad idea.

Each year in the United States, 48 million people get sick from food-borne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most of these are minor illnesses, 128,000 people are hospitalized, usually because of dehydration. Though not common, food-borne diseases kill 3,000 people per year.

Food-borne diseases often cause outbreaks when multiple people are exposed to contaminated foods. In the 10-year period from 1998 to 2008, the CDC investigated more than 13,000 food-related outbreaks.

The most common symptom of food-borne illness is diarrhea, of which there are two varieties. The first, usually resulting from a virus, is frequent, watery diarrhea. The second and more serious type of diarrheal illness is frequent small stools, which may be accompanied by pain and bleeding. This latter type is more commonly bacterial in origin and is more serious.

Other symptoms of food-borne gastrointestinal illness may include nausea and vomiting. When nausea and vomiting occur alone, and suddenly after consumption of contaminated food, it is usually because of a preformed toxin produced in the food by bacteria.

The most common cause of food-borne illness is a virus known as norovirus. This virus produces a self-limited illness consisting of nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Symptoms resolve without treatment in three to five days, if not sooner.

The most common bacterial causes include salmonella, campylobacter and shigella. While these may cause painful and even bloody diarrhea, they do not always require antibiotics in otherwise healthy people. More rare is a strain of E. coli known as H7:0157, which produces bloody diarrhea and can also cause more serious illness.

The types of foods associated with food-borne illness are varied. According to the CDC, in order of frequency they include produce, meat and poultry, dairy and eggs, and seafood.

So how do you reduce your risk of food-borne illness?

First, the CDC investigates large outbreaks and issues alerts when contaminated food enters the food supply. Recalled foods should be discarded.

Secondly, consuming foods outside your home may pose risk. Exercising good judgment about the safety of food preparation and storage is important. You may not want to eat that chicken salad that has been sitting out, unchilled, for several hours at the deck party.

Finally, when preparing food at home, it is recommended that you follow four simple steps, clean, separate, cook and chill. Wash your hands and surfaces often. Don’t cross contaminate foods such as meat and produce. Ensure food preparation to the correct temperature of internal heat. When a meal is done, promptly refrigerate perishable foods within two hours.

Picnic Food Ideas

Picnic food idea #1 Mediterranean Picnic Cob Loaf

You can stick anything in it if you don’t have fresh Mediterranean vegetables, just make sure there is some wet mixture like pickled peppers, sun dried tomatoes, cheddar…  The more you add to it better this picnic dish becomes.

Picnic food idea #2 Potato salad

This simple potato salad is truly popular picnic food idea. It comes in many varieties, whether you’re looking for light and healthy or thick and creamy it will surly make perfect picnic side dish

Picnic food idea #3 Grilled vegetables gazpacho soup

Appetizing chilled summer soup. Grilled vegetables give this picnic side dish distinctive smoky flavor and because it’s served chilled it will be great refreshment in the hot summer day for all your picnic folks.

Picnic food idea #4 No cook festival burrito

This vegan picnic wrap doesn’t require any cooking and is our favorite choice for vegan picnic food.

Picnic food idea #5 Beet feta dip

Heavenly dip served great with crackers or as a dip with vegetables. It is great solution to have something to snack with a glass of wine.

Picnic food idea # 6 Buttermilk-Soaked Bacon-Fried Chicken in Gravy

It is probably hard to get better combination than this, fried chicken with gravy and soaked in  bacon on top.

Picnic food idea #7 Roasted tomato & pancetta picnic quiches

These little quiches are very easy and quick to make. Are great for entertaing the kinds, picnic parties and more.

 

 

Beach Picnic

Beach picnics are great occasion for the whole family to have fun day together. The combination of sun, sand and the ocean are always promising for funny activities. All is fun and games until someone starts craving for food and everyone else also get hungry. Instead of leaving the beach and pack all your belongings and go to the expensive nearby restaurant you could as well organize your own picnic meal. While this idea might seem amazing at first you have some annoying things to worry about. The sand will get in your food, wind will move your things around and salty water can spoil your meal. There are also seagulls to keep in mind, they will try to steal your food at every chance they get. But don’t let that put you off, meals at the beach are easier to prepare than you think, all you have to do is plan in advance and arrive ready. This is why we prepared this guide for you to help you plan your next beach picnic.

  1. Basics First

Sunglasses, good supply of sun lotion and plenty of water. You can freeze water bottles at home so the water will stay cooler for longer.

  1. Bring your weather shield or umbrella

Eating your meal when the sun is hot in the afternoon is very unpleasant thing to do. This is why umbrella or weather shield is essential.

  1. Bring portable table that won’t fall over on the sand

You could rely on your picnic blanket and cooler tops to put your plates but investment in good portable picnic table will make your beach picnic experience so much more pleasant.

  1. Picnic blanket and beach chairs

Don’t just bring any blanket but find the biggest size that you have. This will prevent sand getting into your food. For more comfort you could also bring your beach chairs or sun lounger.

  1. Bring food that is easy to eat so you don’t have to bring too many plates and utensils.

Good choice for beach picnic are fruits like grapes, apples, oranges, raw vegetables like carrots that go great with dips like hummus, finger sandwiches, if you really have to eat cheese French Brie or Camembert will melt deliciously on the sun.

  1. Plenty of tissues and wipes, baby wipes work the best.

Because sand will get close to your food anyway wet wipes will be your best friend to rinse your hands. Rinsing hands in the sea will leave them sticky so use wipes.

  1. Prepare cocktails in advance

Because you are at the beach it doesn’t get legal to consume alcohol outdoors and some beaches are particularly strict on this policy. If you prepare your favorite cocktail at home in advance you could pack it in innocent looking bottle and no one would notice.

  1. Bring plastic utensils and rubbish bags so you can throw everything away at the end

Why bother bringing your regular utensils when you could just use plastic and throw everything away at the end. Also your dishwasher might get damaged from the sand when you do the washing after.

  1. Bring some fun games to play after the meal

It could make all the difference to your kids if you will plan some engaging activities for your day at the beach. Bring a ball or frisbee, badminton or playing cards are a good start.

  1. Have Fun

You are at the beach and the main point is that you have fun and hopefully after reading this post you will know how to have better beach picnic meal as well.

Top 10 Best Picnic Destinations In The USA

Everybody loves throwing their blankets down on a sunny ground of grass or sand, bringing their baskets full of goodies and quilted table cloth to mingle in the nature and enjoy some food with their family or friends. Summer is officially the most popular time to picnic when millions gather and go out to the seaside, mountain parks and lakeshores looking to have some satisfying time with each other in the natural habitat. There are numerous benefits of picnicking outside: it is so much more cheaper than eating in a restaurant especially for sizable families, there is plenty of space and its generally fun time for anyone to spent some time together. Some also stick it to that food tastes better when it’s eaten outdoors.

There are countless possibilities when comes to choosing the best location for your picnic and there are also specially designated areas for picnics across the country. With 392 national parks to choose from USA is among the most picturesque places for picnics. This is why we prepared a list for you with the most amazingly beautiful picnic spots around the country.

  1. Central Park, New York City

With 843 acres of green area central park has plenty of space for New Yorkers to escape the cement jungle of the urban area. It is very popular destination for all kinds of activities and many like to shop at the local market or deli before they take a slow walk through the park looking for their perfect picnic spot. It could also be described as America’s most popular picnic spot of them all.

  1. Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Sandy Hook is a barrier island in the Monmouth County, New Jersey. The seven mile long area of breathtaking ocean is very popular destination among surf casting fishermen, many enjoy doing watersports or just loosen up on the sand. It is also perfect place for nature lovers as there are over 300 different kinds of migratory birds and intact forest that provides shade for visitors. This is very popular weekend spot for New Yorkers as they take the ferry from lower Manhattan to Sandy Hooke in search of their perfect picnic spot.

The view is just perfect of New York Harbor from the North Beach Observation Deck where picnic tables are available. Guardian Park also has picnic tables and areas for the grills. It is also the only area where grilling is permitted.

  1. Point Dume, California

Many who opt for a trip to Malibu allocate a lot of their time to the charming scenery that is Point Dume national preserve. It is described as California’s most beautiful stretch of coastline with numerous rocky cliffs, bays and beach accessible roads. On the clear day you can enjoy spectacular views of Santa Monica Bay. With short under one hour drive from LA this is ideal location to combine your picnic fest with some time at the beach. If you are lucky enough you might also spot California grey wales while enjoying your picnic feast.

  1. Kate Sessions Memorial Park, San Diego

This is a lovely park with fabulous views of San Diego, the harbor and Coronado bridge. Usually it is not overcrowded and it’s free to enter. You can have your picnic on a grassy hill with 180-degree view of the pacific. The hill is very popular for the kite lovers to fly their kites in the beautiful skyline. Many also just relax and lay on their blankets all day after they finish their picnic.

  1. Guadalupe River, Texas

This park is favorite among many hikers and water enthusiasts with its miles of riverfront access. The river is very clean and safe for swimming if you are little bit careful and reasonable. It also attracts many picnickers who spread their blankets next to the water and enjoy their picnics in relaxed and friendly environment. There are also many activities that you can practice after your meal, like a short walk in the forest, watersports on the river like canoeing, there is plenty of fish to be caught for fishing enthusiasts and for little more adventurous there is tubing down the river.

  1. Grant Park, Chicago

With its 319 acres of green area and location close by business district Grant Park it is an ideal place for Chicagoans to go and enjoy their picnic.  There is also food festival Taste of Chicago starting in Jul. which can cater for all your picnic needs. Allocate you picnic spot near the fountain from which there are gorgeous views of the city and lakes. There are always people around and if you enjoy people watching this picnic destination might be for you.

  1. Cumberland Islands, Georgia

This is the biggest barrier island in Georgia with spectacular natural environment in the Northern Hemisphere. If you are looking for wilderness and pristine beaches you can have wonderful experience here. You can see wild horses at the Dungeness Ruins, wild turkeys and armadillos while enjoying your picnic lunch.  It is well worth 45 minute ferry ride to visit Cumberland Islands.

  1. Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, Maine

With its extensive trial network and about 5 miles of intersecting walking paths over even terrain this is   perfect destination for the whole family to enjoy walk in the woods, by the ocean. Most of the trails are also wheelchair accessible. There are many picnic tables and green areas throughout the park and also you can lay on the rocks and appreciate beautiful coastal views after the picnic.

  1. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

This is the perfect destination for people who like nature, picnics, hiking, boating and nice friendly local people. The entire island is dedicated National Park and is run by very friendly park rangers who make sure that you have a great visit. The terrain consists of many lakes and is home to countless wildlife like wolves, moose and many species of birds. It is ideal that you combine picnic on this island with other adventures on this 896 square miles area because of its remote location 4 hours by ferries or you can fly with a seaplane that can be book by local operator.

  1. Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado

With its close proximity to Denver this park is popular spot for Denverians to go for picnics as this park enjoy the best picnic areas in the whole of Colorado. It is very popular for families with children because rocky terrain and shallow areas of boulder creek which are perfect for kids to climb and swim. During the rains and early ice melts South Boulder Creek roars and gushes offering spectacular views. This amazing park is also world class hiking destination with over 500 trails and routes.  There are plenty of green areas for picnics which are surrounded with beautiful sandstone cliffs.

 

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