Creating A Plan
Though kids see summer camp as a time of fun and making memories, it is a great deal of work for the adults involved. However, if you know how to plan well, you should be able to put together a great summer camp menu that fits within your budget and satisfies even the pickiest of campers.
In order for your menu plan to succeed, you need to know what you have to work with. How many people will be there to help and at what times? For instance, some staff might be able to assist during meals but not preparation. Knowing your staff count will ensure you use the time wisely. You also need to consider that you will probably need to account for feeding your campers as well as your staff. Adult staff consumes larger quantities of food than the children they are overseeing, so remember to adjust your food purchasing accordingly.
Additionally, what kind of cooking gear and storage facilities will you have before and during the camp? Make sure that the gear can handle the demands of your menu. For instance, if you have an extensive kitchen with multiple ovens you can plan for a variety of baked dishes. On the other hand, if you only have one or two small ovens, they are going to provide minimal support for your cooking needs.
Likewise, calculate the refrigerator, freezer and dry storage space that is provided at the facility. If there is not enough cooler space, consider renting a refrigerated trailer for the event. While you can purchase many of the provisions in advance, you will need to buy bread, dairy products and produce items just prior to leaving for camp.
Nutrition and Variety is Key
In order to minimize waste and ensure the campers have good nutrition and plenty of meals where everyone has control over what goes in it. A salad bar is the most popular way to do this, but there are plenty of variations on the concept to keep the kids satisfied. One idea is to put out a bunch of fruit and veggies such as carrot slices, celery, apple slices and broccoli, along with assorted dips to accompany a meal of build your own burgers. Set up an ice cream bar for dessert or create a potato bar with options such as cheese, bacon, onions, sour cream, pulled pork, guacamole, diced tomatoes, ground beef, and chili.
Find out if any of the campers have specific dietary needs and make sure that you have substitutes to accommodate their requests. For instance, you might bring gluten-free bread, almond milk or kosher hot dogs in order to allow the kids to participate in the meals everyone else is eating.
Calculate the amount of food you will need for your upcoming camp season, based on the data you have gathered. Then, begin organizing your orders. The sooner you begin, the easier it will be for you to successfully plan the entire menu for your next summer camp!