Try These Snacks for Kids Heading Off to Summer Camp!
Choosing the right summer camp snacks for kids can be a challenge.
One of the great things about this time of year is the chance for kids to broaden their horizons, learn new skills, and make new friends by experiencing all summer camp has to offer. Perhaps they’re doing day camps nearby, or maybe you’re dropping them off for an extended stay at a camp further away. Regardless, everyone’s looking forward to a positive summer camp experience!
Your summer camp snack strategy starts with a quick review of any rules and regulations the camp has sent out in advance. Some camp administrators are very strict about what they allow campers to bring with them; others take more of an “anything goes” approach. Either way, we’ve got you covered with some fun, healthy, and delicious snacks for kids.
Practical Matters: Solving the 3 “P”s for Summer Camp Snacking
The first thing to think about when it comes to summer camp snacking is Portability. Whether your child is leaving for a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks, you want some healthy snacks that won’t weigh them down and get in the way of their adventures.
The second thing to keep in mind when planning your summer camp strategy is Perishability. You may have the very best intentions when it comes to nutrition, but if the healthy snack you choose can’t stand up to the summer heat, it’s simply not going to get eaten. You know your kid. For example, if they make faces when their fresh fruit gets even slightly discolored, consider dried fruits or other snack-time options for the duration of the camp.
The third “P” to remember is simply other People. Researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under the age of 18. You may want to consider excluding snacks that contain the most common food allergens when you’re thinking about summer camp options. Avoiding products that contain peanuts, tree nuts, or shellfish can be especially helpful when you don’t know what medical issues other campers and staff may have.
School’s Out… Now Let’s Have Some Fun!
So what sorts of tasty, healthy snacks for kids can match up with our interest in navigating portability, perishability, and the needs of people with allergies? There are plenty of delicious snack categories to play with when it comes to terrific summer camp options. Items you may want to consider include:
- Dried whole fruits, berries, or veggies
- Meat or fruit jerky strips
- Nutrition bars
- Granola or trail mixes
- Banana bread (can be made gluten-free)
- Salty snacks with added nutritional value
Taking It To the Next Level: High Protein Snacks for Kids
Because your kids will be so busy, when snack time comes around they’ll probably be ravenously hungry! You’ll want them to have something they’ll especially enjoy but that will also give them plenty of staying power for all the fun adventures awaiting them. High protein snacks for kids are an especially good choice during times like these.
If your kids are at a summer day camp, you have more options for high protein snacks because you can include cheese cubes or yogurt-based options in your snacking repetoire. If they’re away for longer periods of time, your best bets may be to pack clean meat jerky strips, simple protein bars, or shelf-stable protein drinks. If you and your children prefer plant-based proteins, you might want to consider edamame or one of the many delicious varieties of Harvest Snaps, the tasty snack crisps made first and foremost from green peas, red lentils, or black beans.
Guess What? There Are Great Gluten-Free Snacks for Kids, Too!
Whether or not your children have been diagnosed with Celiac disease or have demonstrated a sensitivity to gluten, there are an incredible number of tasty snacks that are either naturally gluten-free or easily modified a gluten-free diet. These options can be terrific summer camp snacks as well.
Traditional dried fruits like raisins, prunes, and apricots are naturally gluten-free snacks for kids that are especially fun to share and swap with new summer camp friends. Dehydrated or freeze-dried fruits and berries are also on the rise and becoming widely available are more and more affordable. What would your kids especially enjoy: strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, apples, coconut, mangoes?!
To add a little variety to your dried and dehydrated fruits and berries, perhaps you could slip in some veggies as well. If they turn up their noses at dehydrated beets, Lightly Salted Harvest Snaps is one of those gluten-free snacks for kids that usually gets the green light!
And Away They Go…
Whether they enjoy dried fruits, jerky strips, protein bars, granola, homemade banana bread, or their favorite variety of Harvest Snaps, you’ve got a wonderful list of summer camp snacks for kids that will keep them on the go all day long. And if you’re looking for even more helpful snack hacks, hang out here with Harvest Snaps.