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Being Prepared – A Car Picnic Basket

June 12, 2012

You never know when you are going to be caught out unexpectedly with hungry animals children in the back seat.

Anna’s hungry monster unleashed!

You’ll do almost anything to stop the whining!  Enter the Car Picnic Basket!  From this little corner of preparedness you can masterfully feed your children without filling them up on sugary snacks or high fat, high calorie, and nutritionally depleted food.

What you should include in a well prepared basket:

  1. Plates (I found some great BPA free, made in the USA plates at Whole Foods.  They run $4.99 for a 10 pack.)
  2. Cups (Again a 10 pack at Whole Foods for $4.99)
  3. Utensils (These ran $4.49 at Whole Foods)
  4. A cutting board (I used a flexible board I had around the house and cut it in half to fit my basket.)
  5. At least one good sharp knife (Recycled from a knife set I already had.)
  6. Salt and pepper containers (Recycled extra from my kitchen.)
  7. Napkins (I prefer cloth, but you could use paper.)
  8. Tablecloth (Fact:  Kids will always put their food down on the table.  I hate germs!  So instead of freaking out I just put a tablecloth down and then I don’t have to worry!  Mommy is happy and not yelling at everyone.)
  9. Reusable metal, glass or Nalgene water bottles.  (These are optional but really nice to have around.  Maybe you aren’t hungry, but feel you have a desert in your mouth.  Buying one large bottle of water to fill your reusable ones is much less expensive than a case of individual water bottles.  It’s easier on the environment because there isn’t as much waste.  Additionally, we don’t recommend keeping plastic water bottles in the car, especially in the summer.  Check out this great article over at Homemaking 2.0, on why you should avoid using food and beverages packaged in plastic.)

Once you have all your items collected keep them in whatever container makes sense for you.  Mine is an old picnic basket that I’d been using for storage, but anything will work.  Just don’t feel like you have to go out and purchase something, be creative.

But what do I feed the hungry monsters children?

How I feel when I’m really hungry! By Alyssa


It can be as simple as…


Fruit, cheese, and whole grain crackers make for a great meal.  Packed with all the things we need to nourish our bodies.

Prepared salads are another great choice, eaten alone or tucked into a pita pocket.

The point is think outside of the drive-thru.  There are a lot of better choices to be found in the grocery.  Just remember to avoid things like yogurt in tubes, sugary fruit snacks and leathers, boxed cookies, sodas and juices.  When looking for “real” food shop the perimeter of the store where you will find, produce, dairy, meat, and deli.  Even purchasing a loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly will be better than what you can find being passed to you through a window into your car!

Lastly, what about the extra time?

“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” Voltaire

In our rush-around world we forget how important it is to stop and breathe and eat for the pleasure it brings us.  When we do, we taste our food.  It becomes part of us.  It nourishes us.  We know when we are full.  We have no guilt about what we just put into our bodies.  We have become intentional.

Don’t forget if you join our 30 Day Fast Food Free Challenge you will be entered to win a custom car picnic basket of your very own! [This contest is now closed.]

(Linked to Frugal Days Sustainable WaysLittle Natural Cottage, and Simple Lives Thursday)

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2012 11:02 am

    Cool idea! We may have to try this 🙂

  2. ladydorothy permalink
    June 12, 2012 11:05 am

    I’ve been keeping a car picnic basket since the beginning of last summer. I love having it — even in the non-summer months. I added a bottle/can opener this past weekend — only after being out and about and realizing I should have already done so! I will be prepared next time, though! 😉

    • June 12, 2012 11:19 am

      That’s a great idea! In fact I have an opener in mine as well not so much for the kids, but for when Jordan and I sneak away for an inexpensive date!

  3. KarinSDCA permalink
    June 13, 2012 7:28 am



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