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Pack a Perfect Picnic

Are you caring for someone who spends a lot of time indoors or whose routine doesn’t vary much? A picnic can be a welcome change for both of you. Planning and executing one, though, can be daunting. Follow these tips for packing a meal and finding an ideal spot:

Picnic Menu Ideas

Sandwiches, of course, are traditional, but think beyond two slices of bread. Pita breads, or wraps and tortillas keep fillings intact and minimize spills. Start with a burrito-sized tortilla or a large pita cut in half, and then spread with:

Another option: Mix tunafish with sliced olives and chopped tomatoes; toss with bottled Italian salad dressing or a vinaigrette before spooning into the pita half or wrapping in the tortilla.

If you’re able to tote supplies to and from the park, tuck some plastic forks into your basket. Round out the meal with serving-sized containers of grain- or bean-based salads, mayonnaise-free potato salad, or sliced cucumbers and tomatoes.

Do you prefer to skip the sandwiches altogether? Oven-fried chicken is delicious at room temperature or cold and isn’t as greasy as the traditional variety. You can also pack cheese and crackers (try individually wrapped Babybels or Laughing Cow wedges), or baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and bell pepper strips to dip into hummus.

End your meal with fruit, but choose carefully: Peaches, plums, and most berries are fragile, and bananas can bruise easily. Opt for easy-to-peel citrus, or freeze halved grapes or cubed cantaloupe or watermelon for an icy treat.

Finding a Picnic Spot

When you get to a certain age, spreading a blanket to sit on the ground loses its appeal—and if your loved one is in a wheelchair or has limited mobility it’s a nonissue.

New York City has myriad public parks as well as privately owned spaces that are open to the public, and many are wheelchair accessible. Some have designated areas with picnic tables, but most all have benches where you can enjoy your meal and watch passersby.

Just keep in mind that the COVID-19 crisis has even affected such open spaces. Many pocket and private parks are closed, while public parks may get too crowded for safe social distancing. So, avoid busy times and have alternative plans at the ready.