Friday, June 24, 2016

Camp Lunches Made Easy #GladToGo

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School's finally over! It's time for a break from packing lunch until fall, but wait! There's day camp lunches looming, and sooner than you think!


I've always found day camp lunches are even harder than school lunches. At school, you at least know the lunches are indoors and sitting in a cubby or locker for most of the day. There's also a handy dandy lost and found for when things go missing. But with camp? It's usually one week per location, new kids and counselors each time, and new food rules with each camp. We've also gone to several that encourage disposable lunches because tracking reusable items isn't always practical with kids on the move.



Luckily, we've got tips to help you get through camp, thanks to Glad's new themed sandwich and snack bags! Your local Kroger family store now carries these adorable Glad bags, complete with favorite characters from popular movies. Each box features 4 different prints from a single movie to help make lunch packing cuter. You may want to grab a few extras too, school starts again before you know it!


This year, I've got both kids going in different directions at different times, so that means we need a lot of lunch streamlining. I'll need them packing and organizing as I'm getting ready too. Check out our tips to help make camp mornings easier.


Tip #1 - Pick one character or movie theme per kid! In my case, we have two kids, so I chose two different patterns of bags. This way, we know that the boy won't accidentally grab his sister's cucumbers or the girl won't grab her brother's black pepper turkey sandwich. This would be less than ideal and involve very hungry kids later in the afternoon, plus wasted food that has been sitting out all day long, so we are doing different themes per child.


Tip #2 - Organize! This year, I've got a new system with these awesome Glad bags! One character holds the main dish - sandwiches, bagels, or similar. Another character holds sweet treats like a cookie or granola bar. A third character holds veggies, like carrots, baby tomatoes or cucumbers. And the fourth character holds a salty snack like pretzels or crackers. Choose one bag of each character, add a piece of fruit, a frozen yogurt, and a Hidden Valley Ranch to go cup, and lunch is ready to go! This also gives the kids some control over what they feel like. Pretzels and pizza? Carrots with a bagel? Oranges and a sandwich? The choice is theirs, just take one from each group! We even have a fridge monster I made as a reminder.


Tip #3 - Pre-pack! You can pack most things in advance, especially dry snacks, cookies, veggies like carrots or celery, even sandwiches, depending on the types you enjoy. Try to choose things that will keep in the fridge, you'll have lots of at home days for other foods. For camp, I also opt for things that are a little more stable. A bag full of raspberries is likely to be raspberry jam by lunch. Go with a banana and eat the raspberries at breakfast.


Tip #4 - Keep it cold! We don't like to use our regular ice packs for camp. We froze water bottles, yogurt tubes, and fruit pouches to help keep lunches cold. Another great trick is to soak a sponge, wring out the excess water, then place it in a Glad bag and freeze it. Hopefully, it comes home to be used again too, but it’s a little easier to replace if it doesn’t make it home.


Tip #5 - Don't forget the water! It's camp, it's summer, it's hot, and hydration is important. We take extra water bottles, including frozen ones to keep things cold, so there's more cool water later in the day. It's just so necessary in the summer, even in locations where the temperature isn't in the triple digits.

Camp is such a great part of summer for kids. Mine look forward to different ones each year - VBS, marine life science, soccer, and more are on our schedule this year. They're also doing sleep away camp, but I don't have to send food for that one!

What are your best tips and tricks for summer camp lunches? Any great ideas to share to help make it easier on mom and dad?

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