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.

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Jeanne Fratello

Hi Andrew: Great project – congrats! You might want to check out Somersault Snacks ( I don’t have any affiliation with them, but they donated snacks to our school’s fun run and the kids REALLY loved them. The snacks are made with sunflower seeds and toasted grains, and they came in small single-serve packages, which was very convenient for kids who were running all over the place. I have a contact name somewhere…I’ll email you!


Sorry to say, just picked these up as a snack for my teen – looked great to me as a non-sweet, healthy snack option for after school – I think they taste good – he didn’t like them at all….


When your tastebuds are conditioned to sugar and refined flours, the good stuff does not taste good, at first. Kids need consistent exposure to healthy foods and a decrease in the junk…whether they like it or not. Stop feeding kids junk food and they develop a taste for healthy foods.


The first snack that comes to mind that is healthy and may appeal to kids are Lara Bars, especially the ones with more a “dessert kid appeal”

Chocolate Chip Brownie
Apple Pie
Carrot Cake
Cashew Cookie

Check out the link for ingredients and nutritional information – many of the flavors are vegan, soy free & gluten free 🙂

Toby @ Plate Fodder

*look into Tropical Ice – essentially a slushie, but with natural fruit juices and lower sugar content (and none of that nasty HFCS)

*Nature Valley Granola Bars
*If you have a cooler case (I’m assuming so because of the cokes) – yogurts with granola
Kashi makes a full line of (I HATE the terminology) “kid-friendly” snacks
*The Chocolates are good – as long as its some form of higher cocoa ratio chocolates and not any of the high fat mass producers.
*Any of the Quaker low sodium Flavored Rice Cake snacks ( not the styrofoam they were when we were kids, some of them are pretty damned tasty)


There’s a healthy snack I make for my girls all the time. I haven’t ever seen them pre-made in a store, but basically all it takes to make them is a food processor. I chop up equal parts of chewy (prunes or dates, or a combination of prunes with dried apricots or golden raisins) and crunchy (walnuts and almonds usually). Sometimes I’ll toss in a tablespoon of cocoa powder to make it a little chocolaty. Just mix all the processed goods together and either roll in balls or flatten in a pan. Let cool and then cut into squares. They are a hit in my house! And with a cool name, I think other young kids would like the combination of chewy, chocolaty, and crunchy.


I enjoy Kashi’s Go-Lean crunchy protien bars. It’s still in a package, but at least it’s “all natural”, and comes in 2 yummy flavors (that I know of). One is a Chocolate Peanut butter, and the other is Chocolate Caramel Corn. So far the only place I have been able to find them is at one of the local wholesale clubs.