My husband and I laugh (cry?) at the fact that we sometimes spend as much time packing FOR the pool with our three young kids in tow, as we actually spend AT the pool. But this summer I’ve vowed to maximize our time at the pool so I’m getting smarter about what I’m bringing. Fewer toys, more snacks. If you want to stay cool at the pool longer (translation: wear your kids out), check out these food-packing tips.
What to bring:
• Cooler — Invest in a medium-sized one. One that you can carry with just one hand (you’ll have plenty of pool supplies to carry in the other hand) but is still large enough for snacks for everyone.
• Drinks — Throw juice boxes in the freezer ahead of time and use them in your cooler instead of ice to keep food cold. This saves space and lightens your cooler.
• Veggies — No, really. When kids are active, they get hungry and are more likely to happily munch on something healthy. The key is to offer veggies first before other snacks. You’ll be surprised at how many carrot and celery sticks they will munch on.
• String cheese — Portable and fun, the perfect combo for the pool
• Boxes of raisins — Easy to throw in the cooler, easy to pass out, sweet and nutritious
• Go-GURTS — Freeze these ahead of time for an extra cold treat. Bonus, they are less messy when frozen.
• Reusable plastic plates — They are not just environmentally friendly but they have extra weight so they won’t blow away as easily as disposable plates.
• Wet wipes — Better than napkins to wipe messy hands, faces, tables and chairs.
• Extra — Inevitably your kids will have or make friends at the pool and you’ll be glad you have extra snacks to share.
What to leave at home:
• Dips, sauces and other condiments — These not only take up valuable real estate but they can make food prep and eating very messy.
• Chocolate treats— a melting mess, not worth it!
• Nuts — Nuts can make a mess on the table, in the chairs and on the ground. Be sensitive to others around you (and after you) who may have nut allergies and leave these at home.
• Anything requiring utensils — Again, not worth it. Plus it’s just one more thing to lose at the pool.