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Camp Betty: Summertime Cooler Snacks & Lunches

By Corey Valley
Created January 10, 2017
Pack your summer cooler right with these creative box lunches and snack ideas.


It's summertime and that means the kids and I are go-go-go. Since school is out, we try to pack in a ton of trips to the beach, pool and local parks. To keep my family fueled up during these fun outings, I make sure to have the cooler packed with tons of healthy lunches and satisfying snacks. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your snacks and lunches.

Stay cool! During this time of year, it gets seriously hot in most parts of the country. To keep your food safe and tasting great, it is important to use a well-insulated cooler, ice or reusable ice packs. Better yet, freeze small water bottles or boxes of 100% juice. You'll have an ice-cold drink to enjoy at the beach and won't have to worry about lugging ice packs home.

Hydration is essential on these hot summer days. Always pack plenty to drink. You can also pump up the hydration by simply packing juicy fruits with high water content.


This simple deli lunch makes an appearance in our cooler quite often. It is so easy to make, and my kids love it. Making mini cracker-cheese-meat sandwiches brings smiles to their faces every time. In addition to the meat, cheese and crackers, I packed some Mott's Medley Fruit snacks and a Yoplait Go-GURT stick. Yogurt sticks make great edible ice packs to keep individual lunches cool. Simply keep the yogurt sticks in the freezer and plop them in your lunchbox before heading out for the day. By lunchtime they’ll be thawed out and ready to eat!


Pasta salads are one of those cooler friendly lunches I love to pack. Nothing tastes better than some chilled pasta salad during a hot day at the pool. I'll make a big batch of this Dijon Chicken & Pasta Salad for dinner, and then pack the rest up for our trip to the pool the next day. Here I packed the salad with some fresh tomatoes, Nature Valley Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Thins and some Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips.


Snacks are a must for our day trips to the beach. Most times my kiddos are too excited to stop and eat a whole meal but will sit long enough to grab a handful of this Goin' Fishin' Chex Mix and some fresh fruit.


Who likes sand with their sandwich? Not me! Sandwiches on a Stick had to be created for beach-loving families. Eating a sandwich off the stick keeps sandy fingers away from the food. Add in some fresh fruit and a Nature Valley Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Thins for a beach-side lunch that can't be beat!


Looking for a healthy, savory snack to pack for your day at the park? Reach for hummus! This good-for-you bean dip is perfect for grazing on all day and goes great with fresh veggies or pretzels.