A crucial aspect of ensuring a successful camp experience is providing healthy, delicious, and accommodating meals for all campers. When creating a summer camp menu, several factors must
be considered to ensure a positive dining experience for everyone involved.

  1. Allergies: According to Food Allergy Canada, approximately 2.6 million Canadians, including 500,000 children, have at least one food allergy. With these numbers, it’s crucial to be aware of food allergies and how they can impact your summer camp menu. Consider common allergens
    like peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, and shellfish, and make sure to clearly identify allergens on your menu. Your camp may want to avoid high-risk allergens such as peanuts altogether to reduce your risks.
  2. Nutrition: Proper nutrition should be a cornerstone of any camp menu. Each meal should have
    a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to provide the energy needed for the campers to stay active and engaged in their daily activities. Integration of whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein sources into the menu will contribute to balanced, nutrient-rich meals. Be mindful of portion sizes and age-appropriate servings for younger children.
  3. Food preferences and inclusivity: Ensure there are meal options that accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions and preferences, including vegetarian and vegan diets. Providing alternative protein sources, like beans, lentils, and tofu, can help meet these needs.
  4. Labour available for food prep: Realistically assess the culinary resources available at your camp. This includes the kitchen facilities, equipment, and available staff to prepare and serve meals. Simple dishes that are still nutritious and diverse will be easier to produce consistently and ensure quality control. Consider simplifying recipes, prepping ingredients ahead of time, or purchasing pre-prepped ingredients and fully prepared meals and snacks if accessing sufficient labour is an issue at your camp.
  5. Sustainable choices: In today’s environmentally conscious world, it is becoming increasingly
    important to consider the environmental impact of the food we consume. When planning your menu, focus on incorporating locally sourced, seasonal ingredients that will help promote
    sustainable agriculture and reduce carbon emissions related to transportation. Minimize your food waste by being conscious of portion sizes and using ingredients in multiple dishes. Additionally,
    offering plant-based meal options can further lower your camp’s carbon footprint and food budget.
  6. Save money and earn rebates through group purchasing programs: Utilizing the savings and rebates available from Foodbuy, North America’s largest group purchasing organization, can
    significantly help you to reduce costs and provide more variety on your menu. By partnering with Foodbuy, you can select from 36,000+ food and non-food items giving you the ultimate flexibility for your procurement needs.

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