“What about food?”
This is undeniably one of the biggest questions posed to summer camp directors from prospective parents who not only want to know what their children will be fed during the summer, but when and how. Although serving styles vary—some camps eat “family style” while others serve buffet style–a day of food is fairly similar from camp to camp and an important aspect of the daily camp schedule. So America’s Finest Summer Camps has decided to dedicate an entire blog to a typical camp eating schedule.
Shortly after waking up in the morning, campers head off to breakfast. Aside from a hot entrée choice such as eggs, pancakes, french toast or oatmeal, several cold staples like cereal, bagels, fruit, and yogurt are also available to ensure that campers have plenty of fuel for morning activities.
Around mid-day, everyone takes a break from the fun in order to eat lunch, which is usually the same fare they might expect to eat for lunch at home like pizza, macaroni and cheese, or sandwiches. A soup and/or salad bar is also typically available.
Many camps also offer fruit or a snack in the late morning or afternoon, to keep campers energized throughout the day.
After a full day of adventure, campers need to re-fuel, and dinner fare appropriately reflects that. As with lunch, the choices are typical of what they might expect to eat at their evening meal at home such as pasta, meat and potatoes, tacos, etc. A large salad bar is also typically available at dinner, and dessert is served as well.
Before going to bed, children often get a snack or a chance to go to their camp’s canteen for a special treat.
In addition to the primary meal and snack schedule, throughout the day, children may enjoy other snacks or treats while participating in their camp’s cooking program, during a bunk or cabin mate’s birthday celebration, or as part of a special event. It should also put parents’ minds at ease knowing that when constructing their menus, many camps purposely design meal combinations that quickly replenish energy and/or consult nutritionists.
Food allergies are also typically addressed. Many sleepaway camps do not serve any tree nut products and those that do take great strides to insure that campers with allergies do not come into contact with them. Some make soy milk available to those with lactose intolerance and/or provide special gluten free bread to those with wheat allergies.
Camp meal schedules are also extremely important to the daily camp schedule because they help campers and staff mark time throughout the day. Since meals and snacks are served consistently at regular times, they contribute heavily to summer camp routines and help campers define their expectations.