Camp Essentials: Ideas for Meals and Snacks

Keep your campers happy with these meal and snack ideas for summer camp.


Photo by: kali9


Summer has arrived, which means school is out and camp is in. If you’re sending little ones off to day camp this summer, it’s time to think about what the heck they’re going to eat. Since camp meals can be more stressful than packing school lunches, we’ve got some tasty, healthy and easy ideas to make meal prep feel like you’re on vacation.

Be Cool

Summer heat is great for camp, but not for food safety. Keep lunches cool with plenty cold packs to prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria. Even if lunches are to be stored in refrigeration, it’s a good idea to bring an ice pack along to make sure everything stays cool during transport. Reusable ice packs are an affordable option, or use a pre-frozen 4-ounce water bottle.

Go Pro

Archery and swimming require a lot of energy. Keep campers fueled by including healthy and balanced meals and snacks that have plenty of protein. Turkey sandwiches do the trick, but can get boring quickly. Consider other high protein options like hummus cups, milk, cheese sticks, hard-boiled eggs and packets of almond butter. Add protein to pasta salad with easy foods like beans and cold cuts to make it a more satisfying one-dish meal.

Finger Foods

Camp lunch sessions are famously short and sweet, and fingers foods may save kiddos some precious seconds (plus, eating them is fun!). Put pinwheels, lettuce cups and sipable bottled smoothies at the top of your list.

A Sweet Finish

Instead of filling camp backpacks with sugary junk foods, pack in the natural sweetness with sensible (but fun) choices like frozen yogurt tubes, watermelon wedges, coconut chips and pomegranate arils.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of  Dana White Nutrition, Inc. , which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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