Tag: camp food

The Favorite Meals at Camp Weequahic

Our kitchen team is among the best in the business, with over 40 years of culinary experience between the chefs. They do a great job preparing healthy, fun meals that keep the campers and staff going all day long.

We spend a lot of time each year planning our menus for each summer.  In doing so, we take into account nutrition, variety, and our campers’ past experience and tastes. While all the food is good at Camp Weequahic, there are a few meals that stand out!

It seems like no matter what we do, our campers’ favorite breakfast is our Sticky Icky Bread. It’s a sweet breakfast treat that our campers’ just can’t seem to get enough of.

For lunch, there is less of a clear-cut favorite. Our chicken and cheese quesadillas are always a big hit as are the sliders. We also have a big contingent of campers and staff who love the chicken Caesar salad day, while others take their time building the perfect salad from our freshly prepared salad bars.

As for dinner, the hands down favorite is our cookouts. Whether it’s the hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs or grilled veggies that the kids love, they all can’t wait to get outside, enjoy each other’s company, and have a meal at the end of the day. As for the runner ups for ‘favorite dinner’, taco night or the Hollywood dinner are always big.

The good news is the kids feel that we always have good, fun, and healthy choices.  There is also always something for everyone, even those campers whose tastes seem to be a bit more of a challenge. How do we know? We ask! Menu items that are not well received are removed from the options and new foods are added. Thanks to the feedback from our campers and staff, we’ve added more options to our salad bars, increased the variety of veggies offered, and come up with fun new desserts.

Evolving Camp Menus

If you’ve ever been to camp, then you know what wacky mac is and, chances are, you get a bit of a nostalgic feeling when you pass it in supermarket aisles. You also know that bug juice is not made from bugs, s’mores are best made over a campfire, and that knish is the perfect side dish for a cookout. Campers who jumps out of bed every morning and race to breakfast, hoping that it’s chocolate chip pancakes as well as those who can’t get enough of the pizza, know that camp food is as much a part of the camp experience as the activities. Like many other camp traditions, the menus constantly evolve to meet the current demands of campers.

One major concern that is heavily influencing camp menus is the growing awareness of the importance of developing healthy eating habits early in life. Camps are introducing new menu items as well as opting for healthier versions of current ones. Items such as Greek yogurt, hummus, guacamole, and wraps are finding their way onto camp menus to combine with salad bars, which are longtime camp dining staples, to give campers and staff more nutritional options at meal times. Lite dressings are also appearing alongside regular ones and more fruit and vegetable choices are being offered. But the camp food revolution doesn’t begin and end at the camp salad bar.

Bug juice is now a lot less sugary at many camps, and some have even done away with it altogether. Camps are increasingly using olive oil instead of vegetable oil and are playing around with herb and spice combinations to enhance the taste of the food. This isn’t to say that some traditional camp favorites are disappearing off of menus. Grilled cheese, pasta, and chicken fingers are all still very much camp fare. Camps are just trying to make healthier versions of them by using fresher ingredients and fewer pre-packaged ones.

Campers are very enthusiastic about the recent trends in camp food. Today’s campers have savvy palates, and they like that favorite foods and ingredients that have traditionally not been available at camp are finding their way onto menus and that some of their favorites are getting nutritional makeovers. Meal times are important parts of camp each day. They are times for the camp to come together and dine as a family. They are times for singing, cheering, and catching up.  Perhaps that why camp food is such a key part of camp.

A Summer Camp Daily Food Schedule

“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.