Six years ago while helping out at school I couldn’t help but notice bus loads of giggling, older kids with a mountain of bags and pillows piling into busses like they were headed to a giant slumber party. Come to find out it was the sixth graders leaving for a week-long science camp. My immediate thought was, “how’s this going to work for my kid?” At the time she was in kindergarten, so I had plenty of time to not think about it. But time just keeps moving on and before I knew it, the day had come to officially start worrying about my daughter going to science camp.
Our first step was to contact our Principal, who put is in touch with the camp director. After hearing about Autumn’s life-threatening food allergies they were really accommodating and had no problem with us bringing our own food. While they are a nut-free facility, they couldn’t guarantee there wouldn’t be cross contamination with other allergens. So with her bringing her own food I was feeling relieved, but then I’d have to figure out what food to pack.
The camp was pretty hesitant to have any parents come up to the camp, but I arranged ahead of time to bring a food delivery half way into the week. This would allow me to deliver some fresh food and make it easier for me not having to prepare a whole week of food at once.
Below is a list of all the meals and some of the products we used. Each meal had a container with either frozen or prepared food that could be reheated easily in the microwave and each meal had a bag with cold items like a container of fruit, coconut yogurt, cookies, chips, granola bar or juice.
I needed one container per meal for a total of 12 meals. I found these shown here. They worked pretty well. I was able to freeze some meals ahead, they had two compartments to separate out the food, and they were BPA free. I’m not usually one to buy a lot of plastic containers and snack foods but this was a special week.
After the week was done, our daughter had a great time. I’m so glad she didn’t have to miss out on this experience. She didn’t go hungry or have one allergic reaction all week. She was safe and fine and it all went smoothly.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, hopefully this will give you some ideas. Meals marked with * contained items that I made ahead and froze.
For breakfasts I made a batch of muffins from a mix and added some cherries and gluten free oats and cooked up some breakfast sausage. These were loaded into containers and put into the freezer a couple weeks ahead of time. Breakfasts also included either a container of fruit or a coconut yogurt.
Lunches were a sandwich or a wrap and some combination of chips, granola bar, veggies and fruit. Sandwiches were made fresh.
Dinners were made ahead of time. I made these dinners in the two weeks before the trip. These were dinners I served up at home, but made extra. I chose things that would reheat well. Steak, chicken, burgers with rice, orzo, roasted veggies, potatoes. I also included a bag with a drink, some fruit and veggies, and a treat. All the fruit was chosen so that it wouldn’t go bad or turn brown like grapes, melon or pineapple with jicama and carrots put into small plastic containers. Treats were cookies or brownies which I cooked up with some blueberries and put them in cupcake papers.
Monday lunch: BLT, fruit, granola bar, popcorn
*Monday dinner: steak, white rice, corn on the cob, cookies, fruit, lemonade
*Tuesday breakfast: muffins and breakfast sausage, coconut yogurt
Tuesday lunch a turkey and spinach wrap, fruit, chips and a granola bar
*Tuesday dinner: lamb burgers with roasted potatoes, cauliflower, cookies, fruit, apple juice
*Wednesday breakfast: muffins and sausage, coconut yogurt
[I made a delivery of food here.]
Wednesday lunch: club sandwich, crispy pea snacks, crunchy rice roll, granola bar
*Wednesday dinner: orzo, roasted chicken, fruit, brownies, apple juice
*Thursday breakfast: muffins and sausage, fruit
Thursday lunch: BLT, crunchy rice roll, crispy pea snacks, granola bar
*Thursday dinner: steak, cilantro rice, carrot mash, fruit, brownies, drink
*Friday breakfast: muffins, sausage, coconut yogurt
I also included a bag of snacks and treats with allergy friendly marshmallows, cookies, bars and juice boxes.
Here are some of the products we used: