Pool parties are about fun, friends and cooling off. Make your snacks fun and easy to eat.
When it gets hot outside, it’s time to jump in the pool and invite your friends and family to join you. Even if you fire up the grill for a full meal, you’ll want some snacks for kids and adults.
Fruit salad is light and refreshing. And you can make it up ahead of time and either display it in a carved watermelon, or go ahead and dispense the salad into individual serving cups. You can keep the cups cool in your refrigerator and restock or place them on ice. Dress the salad up with an easy poppy seed dressing, or just a little bit of honey and lime.
Or put fruit on tiny kebab sticks, maybe mixed with cubes of cheddar and Swiss or mozzarella cheese. They’re ready made and easy to pick up and carry around, without grapes falling off plates. Melon balls and grapes are perfect for stabbing.
Grill some kebabs, too. It’s much easier to eat small pieces of meat and fruit or vegetables than to handle plastic silverware. Some great combinations? Chicken, cherry tomatoes, zucchini and a pesto dressing, shrimp, snap peas and zucchini brushed in ginger-sesame oil and served with a side of hoisin sauce, or pineapple, chicken (or a lean pork or beef) and bell pepper brushed in teriyaki sauce toward the end of cooking.
Put out any cut veggies for quick snacking, either on a plate or in cups. Everyone loves celery stuffed with cheese, peanut butter, cream cheese, nutty cream cheese or tuna salad. Trail mix is a fun snack to have poolside, especially for kids who don’t like to stop playing long enough to eat, but could use the protein and energy.
Chips and dips are easy to serve and carry. Try hummus and yogurt-based dips for cut-up veggies and chips for a cool and light alternative to mayonnaise-based dips.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with chips and salsa, and some guacamole. The avocado can turn brown quickly, so make it the day or the party and reserve a few avocado seeds to rest in the dip until time to serve. Mix in some blue corn tortilla chips for color and variety.
If you’re got a smoothie maker and a willing human smoothie maker, smoothies are another great way to give kids and adults a nutritious boost and some cold refreshment. Pop them in a plastic cup with a fun straw and they’re less messy than ice cream or popsicles. Any fruit will do, but pineapple, coconut and strawberry all seem to shout summer.
Or contain the ice cream better than you can with cones. You can scoop it up ahead of time in tiny themed or colored cups and serve it up with plastic spoons.
Tips for Food Fun and Safety
It’s always fun to add some theme to your snacks. You can’t go wrong with goldfish crackers added into your trail mix or adorning a snack tray. Tiny umbrellas are an easy party favor to find and add interest to cupcakes or finger sandwiches.
Leave foods wrapped with plastic until ready to serve. Fabric food covers pop out like tiny tents to cover plates and trays of snacks and food. They’re easy for even kids to replace and party stores sell them in all sorts of colors and themes. A ceiling fan or some citronella torches also keep some of the bugs away.
Keep foods like watermelon or cantaloupe slices cold by placing them in a deep plastic or metal tray filled with ice. If you find that too many people tend to gather around the drink cooler, and you have a few fun buckets or other good containers for ice, sort your drinks. Put sodas in one container, kids’ drinks in another.
The easier it is to grab, carry and dispose of snacks, the more fun your guests will have and the less work you’ll do as hosts.
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