Crowdsourcing Better Snacks at Scout Camp

If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while now, you may remember that one of my side projects is helping improve the quality and nutrition at several popular Boy Scout Camps in Los Angeles.  (I had been previously only talking about one camp, Emerald Bay, but we’re expanding the conversation to include all three camps in the Council’s area! Hooray!)

Last week I had a meeting with Shawn, the Business Director. We discussed the various snacks and treats that we sell in the Trading Posts at the camps. This is where the Scouts go to buy snacks between meals, beverages, and various supplies and memorabilia.

The stores have always been stocked with typical junk food: Soda, candy, ice cream bars, Slush Puppies, nachos, and the like.

While we aren’t going to eliminate all of those (it’s still summer camp, after all!), we are going to start experimenting with offering and encouraging healthier options.  But it won’t work if the Scouts (and adult Scoutmasters!) don’t like them.

So here’s where I need your help. We need some brilliant ideas. What do you recommend for healthier options to replace the Snickers, Twix Bars, Cokes, and Slush Puppies?  

We don’t have full kitchens in the shops, so the best ideas will be in easy to serve, single-portion sizes.  I’m looking for ideas like specific brands of pre-packaged “treats,” or other creative ideas like having an occasional Made-to-Order Smoothie Bar.  Above all, it’s got to be things kids will be excited to purchase and eat.  (Bags of baby carrots or salted nuts just won’t do…)

Please also take a quick look at this excerpt of our (draft) Food & Nutrition Policy (PDF) — these are the guidelines we’re using for the offerings at the Trading Posts.

If you have any ideas, please share in the comments — with specific brand and product names if possible. I’ll compile the list and report back to Shawn.  Thanks for your help!

Photo by kungfubonanza.

A photo of Andrew Wilder leaning into the frame and smiling, hovering over mixing bowls in the kitchen.

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Hi! My name is Andrew Wilder, and I think healthy eating doesn’t have to suck. With just three simple eating rules, we'll kickstart your journey into the delicious and vibrant world of unprocessed food.

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April 20, 2012 7:47 am

Try Bare Fruit chips too! Apples, peaches, asian pears… Snappy crisp like a chip, but sweet. My kids love them.

I love that you are doing this!

April 17, 2012 3:08 pm

We like to eat ClifKids Twisted Fruit. They are fruit leathers. We always have them in the car or in the bag for long trips.

Tt in nyc
April 10, 2012 5:18 pm

This may be a ludicrous and silly suggestion, but if you can price the healthier options cheaper than the “junk” food then that would be a verrryyy strong encouragement to a kid with a finite amount of pocket money. Not a triple or anything, but if a cliff bar is $1 and a snickers is $1.75, well you just made a sale to a kid who usually buys a snickers.

Laura M.
April 3, 2012 9:37 am

Grock Rocks: dried, pitted prunes dipped in dark chocolate. Maybe put them on a stick for easier handling? They get melty if you pick them up.

Or maybe that freeze dried fruit? It seems like a cool, weird thing that kids would dig.

Have you looked at the paleo cookbooks for kids? Eat Like a Dinosaur might have some good proven snack ideas that are made from real food.

March 30, 2012 7:53 am

Snapz are fruit and vegetable crisps that are not fried or baked. They are dehydrated and have no additives. They are a great healthy alternative to snack chips. We started carrying these at our small town hospital, and everyone is loving them.