It never fails – every year I can’t wait for the end of the school year so I can stop packing lunches. Then, around Day #3 of the pool, I am tired of trying to think of lunch or dinner ideas that everyone will like and will transport in a cooler for the pool.
This summer I need some new (somewhat healthy) meal ideas for swim meets and long days at the pool, and I am guessing you do, too. Here are some of my finds:
– Anything in a pita or a tortilla – they make sandwiches just a little more fun (and have you tried the Habanero Lime Tortillas from Trader Joe’s? A-maz-ing).
– Edamame – it’s one vegetable all of my kids will eat and can be served hot, cold, or room temp. Perfect pool snack or side dish.
– Kale crisps – wash and dry kale, tear into bite-size pieces, toss with a little olive oil and sea salt and bake on a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes (or until a little brown). I swear my kids love them as much as potato chips. Easily stored in Tupperware and toted to the pool.
– Quinoa Salad – quinoa is another one that is not on my kids’ favorite list, but I’m determined to get it there. Greek quinoa salad, these kid-friendly quinoa recipes, and this black bean, corn, and quinoa salad with lime dressing all look delish.
– Crustless quiches – even better made in a muffin tin for easy individual servings. This looks like a yummy recipe for zucchini and goat cheese crustless quiches.
– Fruit and veggie kabobs – easily stacked in Tupperware – major bonus.
– Rotisserie chicken with dipping sauce (thank you, Chick-Fil-A, for teaming up with Heinz to make awesome ketchup packets – I usually save whatever is leftover from our Chick-Fil-A run and use them at the pool – they’re perfect!)
– Speaking of chicken, try marinating chicken breasts in Lawry’s Hawaiian marinade – grill or bake and cut into bite-size pieces – delicious hot or cold (thanks for the tip, Amanda!)
– Pasta salad is easily served at room temp. Fellow Smarty Blogger Wendy sells AMAZING pasta salad (and soup!) – I highly recommend trying some of hers! And if you’re feeling like making some of your own, here’s a great recipe from my friend, Beth, that can be served at room temp or cold:
Chicken and Orzo Salad
- 1 T Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 T sugar (up to 1/4c depending on your taste)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 cups (1 pound/16oz) dry orzo
- chicken stock- (for cooking the orzo- 1-2 quarts and the rest water)
- 2c chicken, cooked and chopped (I bought a rotisserie chicken)
- 1 cup slivered toasted almonds (recipe says 2c, but I used 1c)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 lb. (1.5pints) cherry tomatoes, halved
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Feta cheese
Combine Dijon, vinegar, oil, sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and basil in a bowl. Mix well. Cook orzo in stock (doesn’t have to be all stock to cook the orzo; can combine some stock and some water) according to directions. Let stand until cool. Toss with 1/3 of the dressing.
Toss chicken in 1/2 of remaining dressing., Add the toasted almonds, peppers, celery, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Add the orzo to this mixture. Add the rest of the dressing and mix well. Chill, covered, in fridge. Serve cold with feta for garnish.
– And when all else fails, pick up a Chick-fil-A nugget tray (thanks for the idea, Heather!) and Dominos and Papa John’s are only a quick phone call away, right?
I’d LOVE to hear some of your ideas – bring ’em on! What’s on your lunch or dinner menu for the pool this summer??
Thanks for the tips Cheryl! The other day, I saw a mom at the pool who brought a little tea set for her daughters. They were having a tea party along with their snack – genius!! As a mom with three daughters, this is a cute way to have a fun tea party and not worry about water getting all over your house.
thanks cheryl, you just saved us. The kids were complaining about the “same” turkey sandwich and grapes lunch everyday. I had to remind them that they get a cheese stick too!! Great ideas that I can’t wait to try myself.
Thank you! These look delicous and healthy as well, can’t wait to try some of these recipes.