Favorite Poolside Foods
Whether you’re throwing a party, hanging out with a couple of friends, or just spending time in your pool as a family, you’ll want to enjoy your time to its fullest. After all, summers do end, and we want to make every moment count. Playing in and visiting around the pool are so much fun that you don’t want to interrupt everyone to bring them inside to eat. Instead, you can set up foods outside for everyone to enjoy, either at a meal together or to graze as they wish. Our favorite poolside foods are those that are easy to eat, require minimal preparation, and can handle being in outside temperatures for a period of time. Ideally, poolside foods would meet all three of these, but even just one or two can be okay. Here are a few of our favorites:
They may seem a bit cliche, but most adults and pretty much every kid we’ve encountered enjoys a nicely-grilled hot dog. Hot dogs are fast and easy to cook on the grill, and the condiments are easily prepared; simply set out jars of ketchup, mustard, and relish. No utensils are needed, and plates are optional. It’s perfectly okay to just set out a roll of paper towels or a stack of napkins for people to use.
Maybe it’s just us, but it never really feels like summer until we’ve had that first slice of watermelon. It’s cool, refreshing, and easy to eat, plus any residual stickiness is gone once you hop back in the pool. Slicing up watermelon takes just a few minutes and can even be done ahead of time, as long as you keep it covered and chilled until it’s time to serve.
Again, these are easy to eat and don’t require a plate or utensils. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easily made ahead and keep well. You can also let people build their own sandwiches by providing a pre-made deli tray and rolls or an assortment of crackers. If you’re going to have meats, cheeses, and sandwich condiments sitting out, consider placing the containers inside or on top of an ice-filled bowl to keep them chilled.
Whether you make up your own with a variety of nuts and dried fruits or buy a commercially-made bag, trail mix is a great energy food. Just dump a bunch in a bowl or have serving-sized packages and let everyone enjoy it. Be sure to ask about nut allergies before serving trail mix, and watch very young children in case of choking.
These are easily made up ahead of time. You can minimize prep time by using fruits that don’t need to be cut, such as grapes, mandarin orange slices, and pineapple chunks. For a heartier snack, consider adding a couple of cubes of cheese or turkey.
Popsicles and Ice Cream Sandwiches
These are pretty much obligatory treats of summer. They require no preparation; they just need to be pulled from the freezer. If you have a freezer that’s easily accessible from the yard, people can even get their own.