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Easy Picnic Meals + Our Favorite Nature Areas in Sioux Falls

Have you heard of 1000 Hours Outside? 

1000 Hours Outside is a challenge for families to slow down and enjoy childhood by prioritizing time spend outdoors in nature.  Since learning about all the benefits that playing outside has for kids, I've been inspired to get my family outside more year round (although no one needs convincing on these beautiful spring days!).

Packing a picnic makes any outing more special, so I've included our favorite healthy picnic meal ideas below.

Here are our favorite nature areas in and around Sioux Falls, SD.

Outdoor Campus
See what wildlife you can spot while walking the trails at the outdoor campus along native prairie, through the woods, and over the bridge. Check out the turtles and frogs inside the Outdoor Campus too!  The trails are stroller accessible and bathrooms are located inside the Outdoor Campus. Nearby Sertoma park has an assortment of playgrounds to play on.  Located in central Sioux Falls.  Free! 

Japanese Gardens at Terrace Park
This park is particularly beautiful when the trees blossom during the spring, which is when my sister Sara recently took Josie and Lydia. Located in central Sioux Falls.  Free!

Good Earth State Park
This state park has plenty of trails- some wide walking trails that are stroller accessible and other trails that are great for hiking with a baby carrier (like we did above).  Located about 10 minutes south east of Sioux Falls.  State park passes can be checked out at the local libraries for free!

Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum and Perry Nature Reserve
Bring a change of clothes for the kids because the shallow creek is great for exploring and playing!  The cool shade trees and bubbly creek make this a beautiful spot to sit and relax.  The steep walking trails are difficult with strollers and there are no bathrooms near the creek area but this is one of our favorite spots because of how fun the creek is. Located 10 minutes east of Sioux Falls.  Free!

Arrowhead Park
Our girls love bringing corn to feed the ducks and geese (the sign says bread isn't healthy enough for the waterfowl, LOL).  Look for frogs in the ponds during the summer, admire the beautiful native prairie grass in the fall, and look for animal tracks in the snow during the winter.  The easy walking trails are stroller accessible.  Located 10 minutes east of Sioux Falls.  Free!

Healthy Food Ideas for Family Picnics

Chicken Salad in Pita Pockets
I make a big batch of sourdough pita pockets and keep them on hand in the freezer.  I also keep cooked chicken pieces in the freezer from a whole pastured chicken that I cook in the crock pot.

Thai Peanut Chicken Wraps
Veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and microgreens can be included in the wraps!  I keep whole wheat tortillas on hand in the freezer as well as cooked chicken pieces from a whole pastured chicken that I cook in the crock pot.

Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches
We use organic sliced turkey breast from Costco and sliced organic cheese from Azure Standard on homemade sourdough bread.

Hard Boiled Eggs
Use farm fresh pastured raised eggs.  This cooking method for hardboiled eggs makes them so easy to peel a 2 year old can do it!

Siete Tortilla Chips or Churro Strips
I love these chips because they are are grain free, cooked in avocado oil, and don't contain any natural or artificial flavors or questionable ingredients.  I buy them at Costco, HyVee on sale or Vitacost with a coupon.

Yogurt Topped with Fruit
I use organic whole milk yogurt with a few drops of vanilla and stevia extract stirred in.  I like thawing frozen organic blueberries, dragon fruit, raspberries, or mangos for topping.

Homemade Better Than Subway Double Chocolate Cookies

Above is one of the picnics I have packed.  Because I keep tortillas, bread, cooked chicken, sliced deli turkey, and fruit on hand in my freezer it was quick to pack a picnic lunch and head to the park!  What we ate: 
  • Thai Peanut Chicken Wraps (with microgreens) for the adults
  • Turkey and cheese sandwiches for the kids
  • Hard Boiled Eggs (peeled by the 2 year old)
  • Sweet potato chips and Siete nacho chips
  • Yogurt topped with frozen dragon fruit


Good ideas.Parks need to check out.looks like fun

Great ideas for getting out in nature and having healthy meals/snacks as well. Thanks for the ideas!

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