“Mom, I’m hungry.”
“Hey mom, I need a snack!”
Anyone else dread these words from their children’s mouths? If so, I will promise you that you are not alone. I HATE hearing from my children that they need a snack and are hungry because if it were up to them they would never eat a meal and would live completely off of crappy snacks. (Sadly they like all of the bad stuff that I HATE buying for them.)
When it comes to being at Summer Camp Music Festival I will admit that I like to plan ahead for my kids. For one they are not going to eat a meal sized snack so vendors are generally out when it is snack time. For another they are kids so, while there is tons of kid friendly foods (more about that keep reading!!), there are times that they just want their favorite.
I try to choose goods that are not going to have damaging effects on the environment and most of the time we use BPA free containers and such for everything but sometimes I need to be more convenient. I also like to feed them whole foods or organic snacks but sometimes I relax and just pick up their favorites. Festival time is one of those times when I let them choose what they want and let them have all of their favorites.
Suggestions for Feeding Kids at Summer Camp
Feeding your kids at Summer Camp is a necessity. How you do it is up to you. 90% of the time in life we eat whole healthy foods. 90% of time we choose snacks that we can put in recyclable bags and containers. Summer Camp is not one of those times for us. I am all about convenience when it comes to Summer Camp and feeding my children. I want it to be easy. So I choose a lot of convenience based products.
I am a list person so for those of you are like me, creating lists is going to help you stay on top of things. If you are not a list person the following “lists” might annoy you. I prefer to group my lists into categories. Then I prefer to list the things that I need to buy and pack. I will admit that I do allow the kids to eat some of their less than healthy favorites (so please no judgements!). These are not foods that they get to eat often.
*Mini Cereal Boxes (For some reason these are one of my kids most exciting things about camping…weird, huh?)
*Fruit (I will have a big bowl of cut up watermelon and a big bowl of mixed berries and grapes this weekend!)
*Lunchables (I know, I know…these are awful but my kids have honestly not had one in over three months so I don’t feel bad letting them have a few this weekend!)
*Veggies and Dip
We eat dinner at the festival because that means that we do not have to pack grills or anything to cook on. This is one thing that we take a little extra money for. The convenience alone is worth spending a bit and one great thing about Summer Camp is that there is a wide variety of foods that are healthy and affordable.
*Snack Packs (I get the small cracker and cookie snack packs because they are easy to throw in the kids’ bags and take with us anywhere in the festival.) Remember to teach your kids not to litter.
*Small Bags of Chips (Yes I bought a big box of the small bags of chips as well.)
*Goldfish (I know that these are not that healthy either buy all four of my children love them and I try to avoid buying them as a general rule of thumb but this time they are a special treat for them.)
*Gallons of Water (my kids each have a few water bottles and a Camelbak that we will take with us)
*Gatorade/Powerade/Sports Drink (each kiddo will have a water bottle that is dedicated to Gatorade throughout the festival)
*Juice (I prefer to take in jugs and use the Gatorade bottles for this. I do pick out bottles without a straw because I do not want to have to clean out a straw or mouthpiece that has been used for anything but water.)
*Sprite (My kids do not get soda very often but they love it so why not offer them a little special treat each day that we are enjoying the festival.)
Remember that it is very important that your kids stay hydrated. Keep them drinking all day long and make sure that they are getting enough to drink.
Okay, so who doesn’t love a treat every once in a while?!? I know that I still enjoy a treat from time to time. These are the treats that I take for my kiddos. Keep in mind that you do not want to take treats that could melt so that is a lot of the reason for the specific treats that I choose.
*Chewy Sweet Tarts
*Tootsie Roll Pops
*Caramel Apple Pops
I will admit that mommy really likes candy after having a few drinks, so on my late night some of these might be mommy treats too!
Tips for Parents of Kids with Allergies
I am hoping to publish an allergy guide that can serve not only for this festival but that I can pull from for pre-festival coverage in the future. I attempted to figure this out beforehand but it was kind of impossible. I will be walking around to food vendors on Thursday night and Friday so that I can get this allergy guide posted and linked up to the social media feeds. This should help parents who are worried about allergies and you can access it from your phone to have on hand.
Know What is Being Served
*If your child has severe allergies you might want to ask if that food is served from the vendor. Cross contamination at a festival is very likely and no parent wants to deal with an epi-pen level emergency at a festival. So it is my opinion that if a food is served by a vendor that you choose to not feed your child food from that vendor.
Don’t Forget to Ask About How It Is Cooked
*Ask how the items are cooked. If your child has a peanut allergy there is a chance that foods could still be cooked in peanut oil (actually our zoo cooks all fried foods in peanut oil so it is something real that you have to be aware of!). This is a HUGE lesson that you should learn now to avoid issues in the future.
Ask Staff if They Have Eaten the Allergen in Question
*This is a question that might feel odd and will feel unnatural to you. When it comes to figuring out how to avoid your child having an allergic reaction at the festival you have to be proactive. You have to be willing to figure out everything that you can about the food being cross contaminated with something else. Taking this extra step is really going to minimize any issues that you might have.