It’s that time of year– SUMMER CAMP!
Just as we get a break from packing the daily routine of packing school lunches, camp begins!
Most all-day and half-day summer camps ask for a at least one snack sent from home. This year our daughter started her first year and they ask for 3 snacks per day! Coming up with healthy camp snacks your kids will enjoy can be difficult!
As the temperature heats up keeping them fueled with plenty of wholesome food (and lots of cold water too, of course) can be challenging. Most camps don’t provide a method for heating food up (and really in the heat, kids aren’t looking for anything hot). And depending on the age of your child, they need to be easy to open and eat.
Here are some easy, quick, and healthy camp snacks to refuel in minutes that they won’t be trying to trade!
Before we get to food, let’s talk water. Keeping kids hydrated while playing outside in the heat is crucial. About 60% of body is water and has many jobs. Water transport nutrients and oxygen to all cells, it carries waste products away, helps maintain blood volume, helps lubricate joints and body tissues (such as mouth, nose and eyes) and may be most importantly in the heat it helps keep body temperature constant at about 98.6 degrees.
The amount of water each kid needs will vary based on age, weight, sex, air temperature, humidity, activity level, and overall health. But a good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 6 to 8 cups of water per day. Make sure you pack enough (or if they can refill onsite) to drink before, during and after any physical activity and consistently throughout the day.
Easy to Pack Fruit
Fruit is a great option as it contains are the fantastic vitamins and minerals but also has great water content to help them stay hydrated. Just remember that some fruits, berries in particular, can get squished really quick so pack them in a sturdy container. Packing a serving a fruit as a snack can help kids meet the recommendation of 1-2 cups per day (depending on age). Below are some great options:
- Oranges/ clementine
- Apple sauce/ fruit pouches
Cut up vegetables are nice and “sturdy” options that can sit without refrigeration for a few hours. Add some hummus, nut butter, or dip to make them a bit more fun, filling and meet the goal recommendation of 1.5-2.5 cups per day (depending on age).
- Carrot sticks
- Red peppers
- Green beans
Energizing Whole Grains and Nuts
Whole grains stand up well to the heat, don’t need an ice pack and are super easy to pack. You can buy or make them in bulk to cut down prep time and best of all kids love them! Getting the 4-9 oz per day (depending on age) is usually one of the easier recommendations to meet.
- Whole-wheat banana bread
- Trail mix (nuts + raisins + whole-grain cereal)
- Baked chips
- Granola bars or cereal bars
- Dry cereal
Protein Power and Mini Meals
Help keep your kids full and energized with protein. Some of these can be turned into a lunch of you need to pack a more filling “meal” and help meet the recommended 4-6 oz of protein and 2-3 cups of dairy per day (depending on age).
- Hard boiled eggs
- Yogurt tubes (freeze the night before, acts as an ice pack)
- Sliced cheese, string cheese or mini cheeses
- Tomato and mozzarella layers
- Cucumber salad
- Sandwiches on whole grain bread
- Sliced cheese or deli meats with a variety of crackers
- Almond butter or peanut butter mini-sandwiches
- Whole wheat pita with hummus, nut butter, or sliced cheese
The Bottom Line
Keeping the healthy camp snacks fun and switching them up to prevents boredom and the desire to trade with friends. Pack them the night before and let your kids pick from a list of options. This will not only save time in the morning but give them some control while teaching them how to put together a balanced meal and snack.