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What is more fun than gathering up the grandkids, heading out on a mini road trip and stopping to enjoy a leisurely picnic in the sunshine? Nothing better.But aren’t you tired of the traditional hamburger and hot dog summer lunches? Here are some of Ask Granny’s easy to prepare picnics, but special  options that will spice up your summer lunch menus. The grandkids will love them.

Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwiches

These cooked chicken sandwiches with pickled carrots have just enough sweetness to please the palate of adults and children alike. And they’re easy to make ahead and pack for an afternoon picnic.

Buy or prepare 1 ½ cups of cooked chicken meat, dark or light. Shred it and mix with 2 T. soy sauce, 1 T. sugar, three garlic cloves, minced and one green onion. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 425degrees for ten minutes. The meat will carmelize in the sauce.

Prepare the carrots: Coarsely grate two carrots and mix with 2 T. rice vinegar and 2 T. sugar. Add a pinch of salt. Allow to marinate fifteen to thirty minutes.

Slice two six inch baguettes in half and toast lightly. Spread with mayonnaise and add a layer of chicken then a layer of carrot. Add sliced cucumbers if desired and top with fresh cilantro. Serve warm or wrap in saran or foil for a yummy cold picnic lunch.

Garden Tuna Sandwiches

Granny Smith apples and chopped fennel give this old classic a sweet new twist. Prepare the tuna mixture, store in a plastic container and take along in your cooler. When you’re ready to enjoy your picnic lunch, place lettuce leaves and tuna mixture on a sliced roll. Serve immediately for a real treat.

Tuna mixture:

1 15 oz can tuna

½ cup chopped fennel

½ cup chopped granny smith apple

Mayo mixture:

1/3 cup mayo

1 T. vinaigrette dressing

1 T. lemon juice

1 ½ t. fennel seeds

1 t. ground coriander

1 t. lemon zest

½ t. salt

Veggie/Rice/Bean Wraps with Ranch Dressing

Kids love food they can dip. These tasty wraps include healthy vegetables with a protein-rich bean and rice combination. They’re easy to roll up ahead of time and you can save the ranch dressing until time to do the dipping.

Ingredients: 4 large tortillas of your choice, black beans and white beans, rinsed and drained, cooked rice of your choice, cooked corn, sliced avocado and shredded carrot, plus some cilantro and a sprinkle of lime juice.

Arrange portions of the above on a tortilla, fold in the sides and then roll to create a mess-free wrap. Cut in half and cover with saran or foil. Take along the creamy ranch dressing to use as a dip. Another alternative as a dip would be non-fat yogurt. Yum.

Side Dishes to add interest to your picnic lunches:

Pita chips

Potato chips with interesting flavors such as sea salt, onion or spicy barbecue.

Pickle spears


Dried fruit combos

Veggie sticks

Fresh fruit

Easy to pack cheeses such as string cheese or baby bell


For more summer picnic lunch ideas go to the following and search “summer picnics.”