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Family Picnic without the Burn: Sun Safety for Outdoor Dining

Last Updated: March 11, 2024By

Outdoor dining, especially family picnics, has a special place in my heart. There’s something magical about spreading a blanket under the open sky and enjoying homemade delicacies with loved ones. However, as delightful as these gatherings are, they come with an uninvited guest—the sun. Through various picnics, from beachside brunches to park lunches, I’ve gathered insights on how to bask in the joy without the burn. Here are some tips to ensure your outdoor dining experience is sun-safe and memorable.

Timing Your Picnic Right

Catch the Golden Hours

The sun is most forgiving before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., making these times ideal for scheduling your picnic. I’ve found that an early breakfast or a late afternoon snack under the softer sun not only reduces UV exposure but also sets a serene atmosphere, allowing us to enjoy the cooler parts of the day.

Setting Up a Sun-Protective Dining Area

Canopies and Umbrellas: Portable Shade

Investing in a portable canopy or a large umbrella has transformed my outdoor dining experiences. These provide immediate shade, ensuring everyone can enjoy the meal without squinting or sweating under the direct sun. A pro tip: Secure your umbrella or canopy with sturdy stands or sandbags—windy days can turn them into unintentional kites!

Location, Location, Location

Choosing the right spot to lay your picnic blanket can significantly impact sun exposure. Look for natural shade under trees, or opt for pavilions available in many public parks. These natural and man-made shelters offer protection and are often situated in picturesque spots, adding to the ambiance.

Sun-Safe Picnic Gear

UPF Clothing for Comfortable Lounging

Encouraging your family to wear UPF-rated clothing during picnics is a game-changer. Lightweight, breathable UPF 50+ shirts and wide-brimmed hats provide excellent protection and comfort, allowing everyone to relax and enjoy the meal without worrying about the sun.

The Essentials: Sunglasses and Sunscreen

A pair of UV-blocking sunglasses and broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) should be as essential as your picnic basket. I’ve made it a habit to pack extra sunscreen in our picnic kit, alongside a gentle reminder for everyone to reapply every two hours.

Planning a Sun-Safe Menu

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Dehydration can sneak up on you under the sun. Including hydrating foods like watermelon, cucumbers, and strawberries in your picnic spread, along with plenty of water and natural juices, can keep everyone refreshed.

Cool Treats

Frozen grapes, chilled smoothies, or iced herbal teas not only help beat the heat but also add a special touch to your outdoor meal. These cool treats are always a hit, especially with the kids, making hydration an exciting part of the picnic.

Embracing the Moment, Safely

Family picnics are not just about the food or the setting; they’re about creating lasting memories with those we love. By incorporating these sun safety tips into your planning, you’re not only protecting your family’s skin but also ensuring that every outdoor meal becomes a cherished experience, free from the worry of the burn.

From my family to yours, here’s to many more joyful and sun-safe picnics under the beautiful sky. Let’s make every bite and every moment count, all while keeping our skin as healthy as our spirits.

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