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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March 29, 2012 6:54 am

How about string cheese? I loved that stuff as a kid (and still do)! I know they have already been mentioned, but the Clif Kid Z bars are pretty tasty – Clif tends to donate also.

March 28, 2012 5:59 pm

Andrew, this is a great question. My youngest son is in boy scouts and other group activities. What you said is correct, it won’t matter if the scouts and parents will not eat them. The problem begins with the parents. At every event the parents are the ones buying all of the horrible snacks. You should see what the kids take to school for “snack”- it’s bad! I’m going to check out the sites from your other readers… we bring fresh fruit and water, we aren’t popular.

March 27, 2012 8:33 pm

Picky Bars!!! They are amazing and the people who created are world class athletes (and very cool people).

March 27, 2012 7:44 pm

Oskri mini coconut bars are my new obsession.

March 27, 2012 2:24 pm

I’m surprised no one has said Pirate Booty – my son loves it and it comes in small individual sized bags and multiple flavors.
I think Ecowell is available in that area – they are a water vending machine. It was tested in my son’s middle school and the kids could not get enough – it’s a design your own water vending machine.

March 27, 2012 2:13 pm

My kids love the chocolate brownie Z-bars (kid size version of Cliff bars) in both the chewy and crunchy version. They also make a fruit roll that is all fruit.

March 27, 2012 1:44 pm

pre-packaged and convenience food is a hard one.
maybe Lara Bars? Kashi?

March 27, 2012 1:27 pm

I love getting Welch’s fruit snacks from the vending machine at school. They are fat free and gluten free and they taste great too.

March 27, 2012 1:25 pm

When I was a kid at camp I always looked forward to the sparkling juice (a brand I’ve seen recently is Izze), the trail mix (one with generic M&Ms). One of the camps I went to had soft serve ice cream and they would make something similar to a Dairy Queen Blizzard. So yummy, but not what you’re looking for. Maybe frozen yogurt or a smoothie bar would be a healthful, fun choice.

March 27, 2012 1:18 pm

Andrew – try Azure Standard… they’re all high quality & lovely options at wholesale prices. do a search for ‘snack’ and you’ll get loads of ideas 🙂