I found a compromise with the kids when it comes to pool snacks. I want them to eat healthy, but I also enjoy treats at the pool as much as anybody else.
We found a way to pick foods that keep us satisfied and happy without feeling like we’re missing out on treats.
What’s in the Cooler?
This is what I pack for a 3-4 hour trip to the pool for a preschooler and 4th grader. They each choose the following:
- Junk food item (snack bag of chips)
- Healthy and Hydrating snack (grapes/cheese stick)
- Lunch item (sandwich)
- Junk food item for the way home (fruit snacks)
Everyone gets their own refillable squirt bottle to drink water for the day.
How Do You Organize Pool Snacks?
I pack separate gallon freezer bags with their names so I can just hand them their bag out of the cooler and they manage their own. I keep 2 reusable ice blocks in the bottom of the cooler for the healthy foods. My little one loves cheese.
I try to keep it as simple as I can with things I can just throw in the bags, but sometimes we need the cups for things like peanut butter, hummus or ranch.
They can eat their items in any order they want to with the understanding that this is the food for the day. It works really well because they chose what to bring from each category.
It’s enough food for them often enough that they are satisfied and don’t complain or longingly hug the vending machine because they are being tortured with only healthy snacks. I of course pack a bag for myself too.
(Some of our favorite junk items are pop tarts and fruit snacks. Not shown because we were fresh out.)
We refill the water bottles at the fountain as needed. This system works great for us.
Need more ideas on what to pack?
Here’s a list of 50 Pool Snack Ideas to get you through the summer:
- mandarin oranges (cuties)
- small apple
- cherry tomatoes
- mini-cucumbers, sliced (ranch)
- baby carrots (ranch)
- celery sticks (pb or ranch)
- mini gherkin pickles
- cheese sticks or cubes
- protein shake or smoothie
- fruit snack cups in juice
- yogurt tubes (can freeze ahead of time)
- applesauce pouches
- cold cuts, rolled up with cheese stick inside
- frozen nuggets (fully cooked, will thaw by lunch time)
- energy bites (freeze ahead of time, will thaw)
- hummus and pretzel sticks or chips
- dry cereal (shredded wheat, cheerios, large flakes)
- tortilla rollups (ham/cheese inside, pb&j inside, cheese stick inside)
- sandwich (pb&j, ham, turkey, bologna, cheese)
- hot dog (we usually have leftovers from cookouts)
- mini bagels
- mini pancakes
- mini waffles
- french toast stix
- waffle sandwich (pb&j inside)
- fig newtons
- snack bag chips
- graham crackers
- cheese flavored crackers
- popcorn (we love white cheddar)
- granola bars
- beef jerky
- trail mix
- cookie snack pouches
- animal crackers
- vanilla wafers
- pop tarts
- licorice bites
- gummy fruit snacks
- protein bar
- taffy or starburst candy
You can also fill water bottles 1/4 full of water the night before to freeze, then fill with water the rest of the way before leaving to keep the water cold.
Have another great tip? Let us know in the comments!