Sending your kids off to day camp this summer? Then you’ll also need to send along a daily lunch that’s both nutritious and practical for enjoying on the go. Refrigeration and microwaves may or may not be available, and ingredient restrictions are also likely to be a factor, so camp lunches can take a bit of planning. Be sure to include things like ice packs to ensure the freshness of your camper’s food during the hot summer months.

two girls having their lunch

Luckily, you don’t have to dream up a menu of summer camp lunch ideas all on your own.

We’ve collected a treasure trove of healthy, tasty meal-planning tips based on our experience with what works best for our campers. Here, we’ve put together eight all-time favorite summer camp lunches that earn top marks in all areas: wholesome, scrumptious, and too much fun not to eat. Be sure to account for things like nut-free camps, which as becoming more and more common, like Galileo. This is for the protection of all campers to ensure safety for those with nut-allergies!

#1 Balanced and Flavorful Bento Boxes

In the middle of a hot, busy day at camp, kids need a lunch that fuels them with energy until it’s time to head home. However, heavy foods or big portions may make them tired or sluggish for the second half of the day. Bento boxes let you pack a mix of irresistible finger foods while keeping portion sizes appropriate.

The options for filling those cute little compartments are almost endless. Here are a few top-rated choices:

  • Mixed fruits and veggies with dip – Cut up bite-size pieces of veggies like broccoli, snap peas, carrots, or any other child-approved choices. Add fresh fruit like apples, berries, and melons. Provide hummus, ranch, or guacamole for dipping.
  • Deconstructed sandwich or wrap – Put bread, tortillas, or pita in one compartment and sandwich fixings like cheese, lettuce and pickles in the other compartments. Kids can assemble tiny sandwiches with all their favorites.
  • Taco salad in a box – Fill compartments with beans, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, salsa, avocado and tortilla chips for a DIY taco salad. What’s great about this fun lunch idea is it’s easy to prepare ahead of time.

#2 Kid-Friendly Wraps

Wraps are both convenient and easy to customize, making it the perfect healthy lunch idea for busy parents. Start with a whole-grain wrap for a nutritious base, or go with a spinach or sun-dried tomato wrap to pack in extra veggies.

Add mix-and-match fillings like:

  • Lean protein such as turkey, grilled chicken, tuna, or hummus
  • Matchstick or thin-sliced veggies (zucchini, carrots, beets, or cucumber)
  • Greens such as spinach, cabbage, or lettuce
  • Cream cheese spread
  • A drizzle of dressing for flavor, such as ranch, Thousand Island, or Italian

Let your child choose their fillings the night before so they can look forward to enjoying their very own creation the next day.

#3 Fresh and Vibrant Salad Jars

If you haven’t had a meal-prepped salad in a jar yet, you’re missing out. It’s the perfect way to turn salad into a convenient grab-and-go food.

Here are a few tips to make sure your salad jar is a delicious success:

  • Start with a layer of dressing at the bottom of the jar
  • Add wet ingredients next, such as tomatoes or fresh fruit slices
  • Add additional ingredients in layers
  • Add crunchy ingredients last so they stay crisp (croutons, crackers, wonton strips)
  • Leave a little room in the jar so you can shake the salad to mix when you’re ready to eat

Quick tip: Some camps don’t allow kids to bring glassware, so be sure to check the rules first. If glass jars aren’t acceptable, you can buy plastic Mason jars online or wash and reuse another food jar the next time you have an empty one.

#4 Protein-Packed Snack Boxes

boys having their snacks

Kids need a good dose of protein when they’re playing running games and participating in camp activities. Prepare snack boxes with an assortment of lean, protein-rich options such as:

  • Cheese cubes or sticks
  • Yogurt (with an ice pack to keep dairy fresh and safe to eat)
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Hummus
  • Edamame
  • Chickpeas
  • Shelf-stable tuna packets
  • Deli meat
  • Grilled chicken
  • Overnight oats

Mix and match their summer camp snacks to keep lunch interesting every day. Don’t forget to add plenty of complex carbs for a sustained source of energy.

#5 Creative DIY Lunchables

You can put a healthier spin on store-bought Lunchables by using fresh, nutritious ingredients. Any lunch box will work—just use small storage tubs or silicone baking cups to make small compartments.

Next, prepare your own custom meal kit, such as:

  • Whole wheat crackers, sliced cheese, and salami
  • Sandwiches made from whole grain bread
  • Pita, homemade tomato sauce, pepperoni rounds, and freshly grated cheese

To complete the experience, add a small sweet treat such as chocolate chips, a cookie, fruit gummies, a fruit leather, or a pudding cup.

#6 Fruit, Veggie, or Sandwich Kebabs

Kebabs instantly elevate any food! If you’re concerned about safety with traditional wooden skewers, you can snip off the ends to blunt them or substitute popsicle sticks.

As you prepare lunch, flex your creativity with both sweet and savory options:

  • Fruit kebab – Alternate cut-up fruit chunks like melon, pineapple, apple, and grapes. Serve with yogurt for dipping.
  • Veggie kebab – Cherry tomatoes, snap peas, cauliflower, zucchini, and cucumber are all delicious options. Pack with a hummus or ranch cup for dipping.
  • Sandwich kebab – Assemble any kind of sandwich as usual, such as ham and cheese. Use bite-sized meat and cheese cubes plus cut-up pieces of sandwich bread, all threaded onto a skewer.

#7 Pizza Roll-Ups

Make bite-sized, portable pizza by whipping up a batch of homemade pizza rolls. They’re easy to throw together on a weeknight:

  • Roll out a package of prepared dough (pizza, biscuit or crescent roll dough will all work) into a rectangle about ¼” thick
  • Spread with tomato sauce and top with shredded cheese
  • Add any other toppings your child likes, like pepperoni, peppers, ham, and pineapple
  • Roll dough up lengthwise, then slice into pieces about ¾” thick
  • Bake per package directions

Voilà! You have packable pizza rolls to enjoy anytime, any place.

#8 Frozen Favorites

Including a frozen snack can help keep your child’s lunch cool until midday. For food safety, pack two frozen items, such as one gel pack and a frozen drink, to ensure that perishables stay cold.

Some flavorful choices that will thaw by midday include:

  • Frozen yogurt tubes
  • Frozen juice boxes
  • Frozen fruits such as pineapple, mango, berries, or melon chunks
  • Frozen smoothie (pour a fresh smoothie into an ice cube tray or silicone baking cups the night before)

Enjoy a Delicious Summer With Camp Galileo

girls having lunch and smiling

Summer camp is all about soaring to new heights, and your child can’t do that if they run out of fuel halfway through the day. With these healthy lunch ideas above, your camper will be ready to keep going no matter what comes their way.

At Camp Galileo, we want to help your child savor every moment of their summer adventure with us.

From building amazing creations in our Idea Lab rotation to forming new friendships through teamwork and games, we’ve cooked up the perfect recipe for an amazing camp experience. Our programs encompass STEM skills, creativity and unforgettable fun for kids K-8. Give your child a summer like no other—enroll them at Camp Galileo.

Explore our locations across California, Colorado, Chicagoland and Seattle! Located in Southern California? Be sure to check out our Irvine or Pasadena summer camps! We have Camp Galileo locations across many communities. Explore our Camp Finder to find the location nearest you.

Camp Galileo combines learn, play and friendship for an unforgettable summer experience. Discover more!


Partnership for Food Safety Education. BAC to school: Pack a safe lunch 101.

The Everymom. Easy summer camp lunch ideas—with little to no refrigeration needed.