The moment you've been waiting for has finally arrived! You're all set to hit the road for your holiday trip. And when it comes to long car or train journeys, a delicious break is a must! This year, there's no way you'll succumb to impulse and feed your family overpriced processed products on the highway. You're organized. Well, almost! Don't worry, the Chefs at Campanile restaurants have come together to share their best tips to satisfy your hungry tummies along the way without compromising on the pleasure of a good meal! Get your shopping list ready because here are the secrets to a successful picnic.
You know it's hard for your family to embark on a long journey without satisfying their hunger regularly. Since you've chosen to prepare delicious homemade snacks, your first mission is to plan ahead. Even before deciding what to put on the plate, make sure you have all the essential equipment to organize a picnic under the best conditions.
On the road, a cooler is your best ally as it keeps your food at the right temperature throughout the journey. Opt for airtight containers and leak-proof packaging to avoid any mess in your carriage. Add utensils to your lunch kit if necessary, and don't forget to bring cleaning supplies to freshen up after the meal!
Also, remember to pack beverages. Water is essential, so make sure to have at least a liter per passenger to stay well-hydrated during the trip. However, regulate access to the water bottle to avoid frequent bathroom breaks. A thermos is also a great accessory to carry your favorite tea, a delicious coffee, or even a soup if you're in the mood!
When it comes to lunch breaks on the road, it doesn't have to be all about chips and mayonnaise ! On the contrary, by preparing your own menu, you can offer a healthy and balanced meal that satisfies both the taste buds and the stomach. Among the classics for your journey: salads and sandwiches ! Wraps are an excellent compromise, combining freshness with satiety by bringing together vegetables for a crisp bite and tortillas for a satisfying meal.
If you're more of a "salad addict," mix starches, proteins, and seasonal vegetables to create a balanced and filling dish. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers add flavor to your preparations while keeping the glycemic index low, preventing post-lunch fatigue.
In any case, keep the dressing separate to avoid soggy food.
Finger food is also an excellent option for a fuss-free meal with children. Cut colorful and differently shaped sticks, and invite them to compose their own plates. Carrots, radishes, mushrooms, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and other vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and hydration. A perfect way to recharge before getting back on the road! Don't forget to pack some fruits, either sliced or whole, for a refreshing snack.
When it comes to sandwiches, opt for lighter options to aid digestion for your hungry little ones! Choose whole grain bread for energy and skip the heavy fats that weigh you down. Fresh cheese can easily replace butter or sauce. Add chicken or turkey for protein and some crunchy vegetables for freshness! If you're traveling with a group, a shared quiche is easier to prepare and just as delicious.
For dessert, fresh fruits or compotes are perfect for ending on a sweet note. Again, think about functionality and choose packaging that is suitable for transportation. Sweet popcorn is always a hit with kids and adds a touch of fun!
Need some inspiration? Here are a few snack ideas:
To keep your troops nourished, remember to stock up on snacks for break times. Whether it's a mid-morning coffee, an afternoon snack, or a simple "I'm hungry" along the way, prepare a box with enough energy boosters for both the driver and the passengers! Opt for dried fruits or seeds, which are low in calories and nourishing. Enjoy them in small portions to pass the time and avoid excessive consumption.
In your snack box, pack almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, dried bananas, dates, prunes, or whatever you crave! If you have a sweet tooth, add some chocolate chips or shredded coconut for extra delight. Cereal bars are also a great idea to prevent hunger pangs along the way.
Ideally, avoid packaged cakes, which are often too sugary, or candies, which lack nutrients. Moreover, these foods usually don't travel well...
Speaking of a successful picnic, it's also important to know what ingredients to leave at home! Dairy products, especially strongly flavored cheeses and yogurts, should be avoided. Similarly, terrines or other refined deli meats may not handle the break in the cold chain well, which can lead to some digestion issues.
Stay away from heavy foods to prevent drowsiness in the driver. Also, avoid strongly aromatic foods that will fill the car with odors throughout the trip. Lastly, to be perfectly prepared for the journey, eliminate anything that stains and is hard to clean, like soda. Of course, alcohol is not part of the journey—remember to drive responsibly!
Wait, one of our chefs has just whispered a final tip to me! This summer, the Kids' Menu is available for €1 at our Campanile restaurants. In addition to being balanced and delicious, your little ones will leave with a storybook and some activities. And for the parents, upon arrival, the "Family Aperitif" offer includes a delightful XXL family sharing platter to enjoy together! So, who's the chef now?!