Make transporting food easy by using durable, airtight plastic containers that can double as serving dishes at the picnic site. Ice chests with removable food trays provide extra storage and serving space.
Pour hot soups and casseroles into wide-mouthed thermal containers, or wrap casserole dishes in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil and then several layers of newspaper for insulation. Since hot foods lose temperature rapidly, have them super hot before wrapping. Or try a thermoelectric product that plugs into a car's cigarette lighter to keep food warm.
Pack plenty of paper napkins, a roll of paper towels, paper plates and plastic eating utensils. Include a wet, soapy dish towel in a plastic bag to make cleanup a breeze.
To keep cold foods cold, choose an ice chest with insulation in the body and lid. Wheeled ice chests making hauling refreshments extra easy. Hard-sided plastic chests are ideal for additional seating.
To pack the cooler, layer the bottom with ice, place food containers directly on the ice and then cover with more ice since cold air sinks. Don't overstock the cooler: good air circulation ensures low temperatures.
To serve drinks easily, use insulated beverage containers with a built-in spigot. Be sure that your container is designed to hold hot beverages if you're serving coffee or other warm drinks.
After eating, return all perishable foods to the cooler. A well-insulated ice chest will keep refreshments safely chilled for postgame victory parties.