Our favourite picnic lunch for a journey

The Lunch Box Lady otherwise known as Caroline Job shares some of her favourite tips making sure that parents can serve super picnics.

No matter how long your journey, packing your own picnic lunch can be delicious, economical and fun. When getting ready for a journey, it’s easy to forget the picnic lunch and just grab the easy convenience foods that encourage you to graze. But processed foods can make the kids hyper or just don’t quite satisfy our hunger.

Here’s our list of favourite foods for picnic lunch while travelling:

Homemade Cheese scones (recipe included at end of blog post)

Carrot sticks, cucumber sticks and red pepper sticks

Cooked cocktail sausages

Hard boiled eggs in their shell – eat like a Cadbury’s Cream Egg

Salt, pepper

Cucumber sandwiches

Mini pork pies – cut into slivers

Bread sticks or chopped up pitta

Cherry tomatoes

Savoury nibbles and rice cakes

Cartons of juice, or drinks bottles topped up with water

Sliced apple, with couple of drops of lemon to stop the apple browning

Grapes, packs of raisins

We just love the finger foods that you can graze on during the journey, all pre-prepared, ready for easy munching.

Lunchbox world

Our top tips for the picnic lunch:

Pack what you can the night before and prepare those sliced veggies, and store overnight in airtight containers in the fridge. In the morning, add the icepacks, and pack the picnic cool bag. Pre-cooked cocktail sausages can be bought if time is tight. Take a sharp knife and kitchen roll with wet wipes, for easy clearing up and for endless sticky fingers. (The airtight containers will come in handy on holiday for those picnics whilst away).

If travelling in the UK, I always pack a thermos of hot water, small screw top jar of milk, small pot of sugar and small jar of tea bags or coffee. Make sure you take a teaspoon or two… There’s nothing worse than a miserable rainy day and not being able to warm yourself with a refreshing cup of tea or coffee…

Top tips for a harmonious journey:

1 Take a break at lunch. Stop the car. Lay out a picnic if you can and have a proper sit down lunch. It gets you out the car, allows you to stretch your legs and gives you and the kids a change of scenery.

If driving in Europe, it’s easy as there are so many picnic tables at the service stations along the major routes.  In the UK, make sure you keep your eyes out for good places to stop, or plan your stops in advance.

2 Take lots of activities for the kids to do to keep them occupied on the journey. DVDs, books, comics, games, CDs. Do what works for you and the age of your kids. Ours have never really slept in the car, too keen to NOT miss a single part of the journey! Our favourite game is the travel game, a game of road signs you have to spot along the way.

3  Keep a couple of activities up your sleeve that the kids don’t know about– our kids love surprises!

4  Take frequent breaks, again if you’ve kids with loads of energy, some service stations do have playgrounds for them to run around in

5  Don’t arrive too late at your destination – nothing worse than fractious, over-tired, hungry irritable kids!

What’s your favourite tip for the picnic journey?

The Lunch Box Lady x

Caroline JobCaroline Job, aka the Lunch Box Lady, set up Lunchbox World back in 2009 following an online search for a washable lunch bag for her own kids school packed lunches. Lunchbox World with its one aim to help you put the FUN back into packed lunches  has become a one stop shop for anything lunch box related, covering tips, hints, recipe ideas for packed lunches, picnics or just lunch for work, school or days out.

There are two blogs with lots of lunch box ideas too – The Lunchbox World Blog  and 365 Lunch Box Challenge –  where every post is a new lunch idea. You can follow her @lunchboxworld on twitter or why not like her Facebook page and keep up to date with all the latest. You can share your lunch on http://www.pinterest.com/lunchboxworld/ and this summer starts the new My Lunch Box Linky, so do join in the fun!

Homemade Cheese Scones

These are really easy to make. Make sure you hide them the night before though, or they’ll be devoured before morning!

1 cup plain flour

1 cup grated cheese – whatever you have to use up in the fridge

Enough water to mix the dough – 60ml max

Salt, pepper, paprika to taste

2 tsp baking powder

Milk to glaze

We use small loveheart cutters to make them bite size


Mix flour, cheese, salt, pepper, baking powder and paprika and enough water to make into a dough. Roll out to 1cm thick on flour dusted surface. Use loveheart cutter. Place cut lovehearts onto dusted baking tray. Makes approx 16 loveheart scones.  Glaze with milk, bake in 180C oven until golden brown (approx. 10-12 mins). Cool on wire rack and store in airtight container until ready for picnic!

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  1. Julie Carter
    18 July 2012 / 16:41

    Or if like my two children, give them dinner a bath. Dress them in their PJ’s and bung them in the car and they sleep through a boring journey.

    • 19 July 2012 / 22:02

      Lucky you! I tried this with ours, but they will keep their eyes open with match sticks, not wanting to miss one moment of the journey! As you can imagine, we promptly abandoned that plan of travelling by night. Long may it last in your family x

      • Julie Carter
        20 July 2012 / 07:49

        I know, i count myself very lucky. Certainly don’t have in as easy in other areas i can assure you. x

    • 19 July 2012 / 22:52

      Just make sure you don’t forget their shoes, as I did. An interesting trip had to be made into town the following day…on the bus with two little boys in slippers.

      • 20 July 2012 / 08:55

        talking about shoes, I never forget the time we left them behind in the holiday appartment drying off in the oven… Toddler had got them soaked in the sea… They were such cute little ankle boots… Ho hum x

  2. 19 July 2012 / 09:30

    How serendipitous! We are off on holiday this weekend and I have been thinking about what food to pack for the car journey.

    • 19 July 2012 / 22:04

      well, that is lucky timing then. What foods do you tend to pack for a journey? One thing I forgot to add to the list was cake, lemon drizzle cake… absolutely delicious…
      or a friend of mine always has bananas to use up, just before going away, so always bakes up banana cake so as not to throw her bananas away!