It’s National Picnic Day! Perfect Weather Not Required

Photo: Thinkstock/pilip76

Eating dinner together as a family is something we take seriously in our house. But that doesn’t mean dinnertime needs to be serious.

Sometimes, usually when my husband travels and it’s just the two kids and I, we throw a blanket down on our kitchen floor and eat dinner picnic-style. Although “picnicking” conjures up images of a leisurely meal eaten outdoors while sitting on the ground, I find that indoor picnics are just as fun, if not better — no ants, mosquitos or scratchy grass! It’s a fun way to break out of the ordinary routine and still have that special time of day where we all come together to talk about what we did at school or work.

And, even though our picnic blanket is set up on the floor directly next to our kitchen table, the small shift in location can make it feel like a major change of scenery. We even sit in different spots, with the kids next to each other instead of opposite one another at the table. We also might not look at the wall clock as much from our low perch.

The word “picnic” may have come from the French word piquer, which means “to pick” or “to peck” — makes sense given that most picnics include finger foods meant for nibbling. Though we have access to the stove, oven and microwave, our indoor picnics tend to feature foods we can easily eat with our hands or minimal utensils, like pizza or a salad.

For a quick, one-dish recipe that’s delicious and easily portable, try this salad with freekeh.

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Elana Natker
Elana Natker, MS, RD, is a nutrition communications consultant in the Washington, D.C., area, and overseer of the Sage Nutrition Network. Her blog is at, and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Handmixer Quill