Catering for kids can be hard
You’re planning a picnic for your kids — and maybe some of their friends. But you’re just not sure where to start.
Some kids are fussy eaters, some have food allergies — and some would rather be playing than eating.
So how do you plan a picnic that suits everyone?
In this article, we’re giving you 5 ideas to create versatile picnic food for kids. This food is healthy, easy to eat and offers plenty of choice.
Please be aware that some of the recipes are not completely allergen-free, but substitute ingredients have been given wherever possible. If you’re making picnic food for kids outside your family, check if they have allergies before you start.
1. Mini picnic quiches
Mini picnic quiches make an ideal picnic food for kids. They’re full of goodness, a tasty alternative to sandwiches — and, best of all, crustless, so you won’t need to make any pastry!
To make them, you’ll need a muffin tray. A silicone tray is easiest, or a metal tray prepared with some non-stick cooking spray.
You can make different varieties of quiche by putting different fillings in the bottom of each muffin cup.
Choose your own fillings or use some of these ideas:
- Cheese and chopped tomatoes
- Cheese and ham
- Tinned tuna and sweetcorn
- Fried mushrooms with herbs
- Your choice of cooked mixed vegetables.
Pour the eggs over the ingredients in the muffin tray and bake at 180ºC for 20-25 minutes until set and golden.
Need an egg-free alternative?
If any of the children have egg allergies, you can substitute the egg with this kid-friendly tofu mix instead.
To make 12 egg-free crustless quiches, you’ll need:
- 350g firm tofu, drained
- 1/4 cup milk or unsweetened plant-based milk
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp cornflour or alternative thickener
- 1 tsp tahini or cashew butter (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth, then spoon the mixture evenly into the 12 muffin cups, on top of your chosen filling.
Bake your quiches in the oven for 20–30 minutes. If you’re using a metal muffin tray, check them after 20 minutes.
When they’re done, the tops should be golden and you should be able to put a knife into the middle of the quiche and it be clean when you pull it out.
2. Sticks and dips
When putting together your picnic food for kids, it can be a good time to introduce some new flavours and textures. Many kids like to copy their friends and could find they like some foods they’ve never tried before.
Sticks and dips are a great way to give kids some bit-size variety and choice.
For the sticks, try:
- Celery/carrot/cucumber sticks
- Red pepper slices, seeded
- Bread sticks
- Pitta breads, toasted and sliced
- Breaded chicken dippers, cooked, cooled and refrigerated
And for the dips:
- Tomato salsa
- Garlic and herb dip
- Sour cream and onion dip
- Thousand island dip
- Honey BBQ sauce
- Classic BBQ Sauce
3. Mini pasta salads
Most kids love pasta, so with these mini pasta salads, you should be on to a winner.
To make four child-sized servings you’ll need:
- 2 cups pasta shapes
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise or vegan mayo
- 1/2 cup plain yoghurt or non-dairy alternative
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 6 pickled gherkins, finely chopped
Cook the pasta shapes following the instructions on the packet, then set aside and let them cool.
Take a large bowl, add all the ingredients (except the vegetables and pasta) and mix together.
Add the vegetables and cooled pasta and coat them in the sauce mixture. Then refrigerate the salad until you’re ready to pack up your picnic.
Need an alternative to pasta?
You can substitute regular pasta for:
- Red lentil pasta (vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, egg-free)
4. Fruit kebabs
Fruit kebabs are ideal for older kids. They’re colourful, easy to make and offer enough variety that every kid will find a combo they like.
All you need are some kebab sticks and a tupperware filled with assorted, chopped fresh fruit.
For younger children, you can use the fruit mix without the sticks.
Here are some ideas of fruits you can include:
- Kiwi fruit slices
- Pineapple chunks
- Sliced banana
- Satsuma segments
- Stoned/halved cherries
- Mango chunks
To make them extra special, add some marshmallows to the mix!
5. For babies and toddlers
If your picnic includes babies or toddlers, you’ll need some special picnic food for younger kids.
For very young babies, we sell a large range of baby formula.
Our Ella’s Kitchen range is perfect for older babies and features healthy snacks, baby food and smoothies.
Or try Little Freddies for a range of healthy snacks, fruit pouches and baby meals.
Remember, you’ll also need drinks:
And a few packet snacks can be a good idea too: