Is your child attending summer camp(s) this summer? Summer camps are a great way for your children to experience new things and meet new people; it’s also a great source of childcare for parents while school is out. Many camps are designed to promote a variety of physical activity and interactive activities that keep the children occupied, happy and moving. Unfortunately many of these camps do not include snacks or lunch and take place in facilities that do not have cafeterias; in some cases vending machines are available.
Packing snacks and lunch every day for your child to take with them can be a chore….you’re running out of ideas of what to pack, how much to pack and healthy choices that your child will enjoy. Keep in mind that at many of these camps your child is active playing sports, hiking, games, etc and therefore the amount of food he/she needs will likely be greater than during school where they are sedentary for most of the day. It’s important to include snacks and lunches that are filling, a good source of energy, protein, fibre and lower in the unhealthy fats and simple carbohydrates/sugars that can cause them to be tired and irritable. As for beverages, water is always the best choice!
Here are some ideas of things you can pack for your child’s summer camp:
- Bowl of fruit with yogurt – sprinkle some granola for extra energy and fibre
- Vegetables and a low fat dip
- Fresh fruit and veggies already cut and cleaned are always a great choice
- Fruit cups in its own juice or water
- Whole grain crackers with cheese or peanut butter (if allowed)
- Trail mix that includes granola, dried berries, dry cereal and a variety of nuts (if allowed)
- Homemade muffins made with whole grain flour
- Baggies of dried whole grain cereals
- Chicken wraps or pitas with veggies and cheese
- Sandwiches (tuna, egg, chicken, roast beef, peanut butter)
- Chicken Quesadillas
- Homemade subs – avoid process meats by adding leftover chicken or beef and top with some hard cheese and veggies
- Garden salad – add some chicken and some sort of nut for extra protein and energy
- Pasta with vegetables (spaghetti, linguini, mac and cheese) – add some chicken or beef
- Homemade soup cooked in advance and frozen and put in portioned containers are great additions to the lunch box
Please keep in mind the resources available to either warm your child’s food or keep it cool will depend on what you pack. Just like school, make sure any allergies are considered.
Janel Genge is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador