With many restaurants, festivals, and activities altered due to restrictions and public health concerns, I have found that having a socially distanced picnic is my newest favorite past time. In this guide, I’m sharing my best practices for a safe, fun, and healthy picnic!
1. BYOB - Bring your own blanket
Whether you have a specific picnic blanket or use a towel, old bedsheet, or upcycle those old shirts, you will want to bring your own item to sit on so you can space out from others. Using a blanket also helps as a visual aid for spacing the 6 ft. between each other. I keep a blanket in my car designated for picnicking, so I am prepared to be at the park at any time.
2. Pack your own food
Sometimes, sharing is not caring. Currently, limiting close contact with people whom you do not currently live with is a CDC recommendation. By each picnic participant bringing their own food and beverages, it limits any sharing or close contact while eating and allows each person to enjoy something they want to eat.
I like to bring a small ice chest and pack myself snacks or a meal! Examples of foods I have packed have included fruit, vegetables and dip, cheese and crackers, turkey wrap, peanut butter cups, and my water bottle. I have also ordered take out from some of my favorite local restaurants and enjoyed them in the park! Call your local restaurants to see what practices they have implemented and please tip generously. We are all in this together and this option is a great way to show support and stay safe.
3. Include your essentials
The essentials list is different for everyone. When I picnic, I make sure I have my hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug spray, and paper towels or napkins. Some like to bring a hat or sunglasses, and a speaker for music. I also like to have a small first-aid kit in case I need a band-aid from a bite. These essentials help me to protect my body and feel prepared for anything.
4. Location, location, location
We are fortunate enough to have very spacious parks in our community. Sometimes certain areas in the park are more popular than others. I encourage you to find a less populated area for your picnic. Not only will it be less crowded and less risky, but it will feel more relaxing, private, and spacious to be away from others. Some of the less popular areas have been my favorite places to experience. You may even consider having your picnic in your own backyard. Wherever you decide to picnic, choose a location that will allow you to respect others that may be enjoying their own picnic.
5. Don't forget to enjoy
Picnics have become my great escape. I absorb the benefits of vitamin D from the warm sun and I take the time to unwind around beauty. It has given me the opportunity to safely see a small group of friends and laugh over conversations. Picnicking has provided me a space to focus on my blessings during these troubling times. I hope that you may use this guide to safely find a means to cope and live healthy.
Devin Brittain is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist in the state of Louisiana. Born and raised in California, Devin obtained her Bachelors of Science in Food and Nutritional Sciences with an emphasis in Dietetics and Food Administration from California State University, Fresno. She then moved to Louisiana and completed her Dietetic Internship at Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Devin is currently the Outpatient Dietitian for the Cancer Center at West Jefferson Medical Center where she assists patients and teaches healthy cooking classes. She is serving on the board for the New Orleans Dietetic Association where she strongly advocates for the dietetic profession and the health of her community. In her free time, Devin enjoys attending festivals, reading, developing recipes, dancing, and cheering on the Saints! She is passionate about utilizing her food and nutrition knowledge to benefit others and believes in finding innovative ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle that works for each individual.