Kids love the pool. It’s a magical (and slightly daunting) place where you can experience weightless floating, new childhood adventures, and hours of fun in the sun! Chances are that you will head to the pool at least once with your kids this summer. Whether you’re there for an hour or the entire afternoon, pack a snack. Swimming has a keen advantage of making your children as hungry as a wild lion; but once they’re fed, your kids will sleep as soundly as a sloth.
General pool guidelines
Before we share our list of essential pool snacks for kids, let’s cautiously talk about pool safety.
While at the pool, keep an eye on your kids of all ages. (Nothing on your smartphone or in your magazine is as important as your child!) Even if there is a lifeguard on duty, that lifeguard is watching your kids…plus everyone else’s! And both toddlers and teenagers would benefit from you being aware of them; accidents happen and you don’t want your child to become a pool safety statistic.
Take a break from swimming every hour and:
- Have a snack (see more below). Note: it’s never wise to eat while swimming! Snacks should be consumed outside of the water.
- Drink some water (more about hydration below).
- Reapply sunscreen (because it washes off in the water).
- And go to the bathroom (no one thinks it’s fun to float in urine…).
Pool Snacks for kids
There are three kinds of snacks you should bring with you to the pool. Wait – I know, you’re already toting kids, towels, and toys to the pool. But yes, we’re suggesting that you bring a few snacks along for the trip too. Because they pool aftermath of hungry, worn-out kids will be much smoother if you have these necessary pool snacks.
1 – Protein
Protein is energy. And your little ones are expelling tremendous amounts of energy while splashing in the water. Refuel them every hour with a small, protein-rich snack.
- Nut butter. Spread peanut butter (or any nut butter) on crackers, celery, or apples.
- Trail mix. A variety of nuts is a protein-rich snack. Mix in raisins or seeds for more nutrients. Chocolate is always a good treat, but tends to melt in the hot weather. Note: if your kids are in a hurry to jump back into the pool, make sure they thoroughly chew the nuts in a trail mix to avoid choking.
- Hummus. Crackers or veggies dipping into hummus will fuel your kid’s bodies for another hour in the water.
- Lunch meat. Roll a slice of lunch meat with a slice of cheese for a healthy snack
- Avocado. Guacamole or avocados are an acquired taste. If you can encourage your little ones to eat flavorful guacamole beside the pool, they will have plenty of energy to keep swimming.
2 – Salts
When the body sweats, salt is lost. You may not notice the sweat while swimming since you’re already wet, but your body can become dehydrated in the water. The best way to replenish lost salts is to eat more salt (duh). One salty snack will help your body, but too many can hurt it. Limit your kids to one salty snack while at the pool.
- Pretzels. Pretzels are a naturally salty snack that your kids may prefer on their break from swimming.
- Salty crackers or chips. Many popular brands of chips and crackers, such as Chex Mix, are sprinkled with salt. These yummy snacks are perfect for a poolside chair.
- Electrolyte drinks. Most children don’t require an electrolyte drink. However, if your teens are playing rough in the water or spending the entire hour doing cardio exercises in the water, they may feel more nourished with an electrolyte drink like Gatorade or Powerade.
3 – Hydration
Most Mamas continually offer drinks to their children to keep them hydrated. An afternoon at the pool is no different. When the weather turns hot, keep handing your kids a cup of something cool. Bonus: a refreshing snack of fruit and veggies can be hydrating as well!
- Water. Water, especially with ice, is always the best way to hydrate your kids (and yourself too!).
- Watermelon. It’s water and fruit – what could be better! Tip: Freeze a few wedges of watermelon the night before you go to the pool. This will keep them cool while you swim and taste more like a frozen treat.
- Lemonade, juice, or iced tea. If your children aren’t fans of plain water, offer lemonade, juice, or iced tea. Just be careful to limit the sugar intake; a good suggestion is to dilute the lemonade or juice. Iced tea can be sweetened with a bit of honey if needed
- Fruit. Berries, apples, peaches, pears, oranges, and grapes are easy to pack for a trip to the pool. They’re cold, refreshing, and another method of keeping your kids hydrated!
- Vegetables. Believe it or not, veggies also contain water, especially cucumbers and bell peppers (which are perfect for dipping into hummus…see the “protein” section above).
Fuel your fun
The next time you spend a few hours at the pool with your kids, pack some of these protein-rich, salty, and hydrating snacks. They will fuel your children for hours of play and help you enjoy fun in the sun as a family.
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