Healthy Lunches for Summer Camp

June 24, 2022

Are you looking for healthy lunch ideas for your child’s summer camp? Look no further! In this blog post, we will discuss some great options for packing a nutritious and delicious lunch. We will provide tips on how to pack a balanced meal, a round up of my favorite lunch packing supplies as well as some sample meals to get you started. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!

Principles for healthy meals

When packing a healthy lunch for your child, there are a few key principles to keep in mind. First, aim for a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fiber. This will help to ensure that your child has sustained energy throughout the day. Second, pack foods that are safe for temperature concerns. This means being mindful about items that need to be refrigerated or heated – and using the right equipment! Lastly, choose foods that are easy to eat and transport. This will make it easier for your child to eat their lunch on the go.

Let’s review why each of those nutrients are important for growing kids.

Carbohydrates and Fiber: Carbs are the body’s main source of energy. They are found in foods like bread, pasta, rice, fruits and vegetables. When choosing carbs for your child’s lunch, aim for complex carbs like whole grain breads and pastas. These types of carbs take longer to break down and will provide sustained energy because of their high fiber content. Adding fruits and veggies will also bump up your fiber content!

Protein: Protein is essential for growth and development. It helps to build and repair muscles, skin and bones. Good sources of protein include lean meats, tofu, beans, nuts and seeds (don’t forget nut/seed butters too).

Fats: Fats are an important part of a healthy diet! They help the body absorb vitamins, provide energy and support cell growth. When choosing fats for your child’s lunch, aim for healthy fats like avocado, hummus, olive oil or nuts.

Now that we’ve reviewed the key nutrients to include in a healthy lunch, let’s talk about packing supplies!

Favorite Supplies for Packing Lunches

There are a few key items you will need in order to pack a healthy and delicious lunches that stay fresh for your kids.

First, you will need a good lunch box. I like to use insulated lunch boxes with compartments. This helps to keep everything organized and in its place. I most commonly use the Bentgo and the metal ones from Planet Box. We also use a softer bag for carrying their lunch – Ours are from PBKids, Henry and Charlie.

Second, you will need some ice packs. These are essential for keeping perishables fresh, like fruits, vegetables and meats. I love these thin ones because they fit nicely in the lunch boxes. When it gets really warm here in AZ I use two (one top and one bottom) so the boys have a good fresh meal.

Third, you will want to include some fun and novelty with our meals. Fun food picks and sandwich cutters can make the ordinary seem fun and take little extra effort on your part. These are the ones I have and love: Food Pics & Sandwich Cutters

We can’t forget about beverages! Staying hydrated is so important year round, but when kids are out and about at summer camp it’s even more important. For water bottles I stick with these ones: Water Bottles (Henry has the 12 ounce and Charlie the 20 ounce). My boys are prone to hanger attacks so I use lots of smoothies because I can bulk up the nutrients (and calories) in a more compact volume. I love these Smoothie Cups because they’re larger and dishwasher safe!

Actual Meal Samples

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get to the fun part – packing some actual meals! I always like to check with the camp and learn about refrigeration options and any food restrictions the camp has (think sweets, or nuts, etc). Then you can adjust your menu and serve with confidence.

Here are a 5 of our favorite lunch combinations:

-Hummus, carrots, snap peas and celery with whole grain crackers, clementines

-Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread with grapes and raw cauliflower florets

-Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, snap peas and watermelon

-Chicken or egg salad, pretzel thins, blackberries and cucumber slices

-Whole wheat banana muffin, whole fat Greek vanilla yogurt, granola and strawberries

There you have it, how to make and serve healthy camp lunches. I hope this has given you some ideas and inspiration to get packing. If you have any favorite combos, or tips of your own please share in the comments below! And if you use the tips be sure to share your wins over on instagram

Happy Packing!


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