You created a safer pool that’s protected from unsupervised access to help prevent accidental drownings, so now it’s time to enjoy some fun with pool party food ideas that keep people energized without weighing them down. Food at a pool party can be a balancing act between substantial sustenance and avoiding the yucky, bloated feeling that sometimes hits after a big, greasy, or heavy meal. Sure, kids love their cake and sweets, but even for a children’s pool party, you need more than that. With the right pool party appetizers, you can make sure all ages have the energy they need, the settled stomach and digestion that will keep them happy, and the appetite afterward to enjoy the rest of their day’s culinary adventures.
Pool Parties And Food
Everyone knows that eating before you swim is a sure-fire way to guarantee cramps, leading to a water emergency and potential drowning, right? That “fact” just isn’t true, so you’re safe to explore pool party food ideas for your guests. Popular as far back as the early 1900s, the thought process was that digestion either diverted blood from your muscles, causing cramps, or muscles diverted blood from your digestion, causing cramps. The American Red Cross says neither is true. There is no statistical increase in drownings or cramping from eating, although anytime to start vigorous physical exercise immediately after a break–such as jumping in the pool for active swimming activities after a long lunch with no warm-up or stretching afterward–can cause your limbs to complain. The problem is not the food, however, but the sudden demand on your body.
You can keep swimmers fueled up and help support better active-time habits with the pool party food ideas you choose to offer. Some of the best pool party foods share a few common traits:
- Grab And Go – When choosing pool party appetizers, think finger foods, not fork foods. There’s nothing wrong with a few dishes you need some silverware for, especially if you’re scheduling a break period for a longer meal, but keeping your foods small and grabbable means swimmers can snag a quick bite between dives, while they’re out of a game, or just when they take a quick 2-minute break for a drink and an hors d’oeuvre.
- Be Ready, And You Don’t Have To Get Ready – There’s a lot to do on the day of your event, and making your pool party food ideas doesn’t have to be one of them. Choose foods you can prepare in advance and serve cold, reheat, or can quickly be cooked in an uncomplicated manner, such as on a bbq grill. This means one more thing is taken care of for the party before guests even start to arrive.
- Think About Hydration – Water, water everywhere; who wants to get out for a drink? Guests, especially children, may not realize they’re becoming dehydrated. While you should have plenty of beverages available, remember that your pool party appetizers can help them hydrate as well. Foods with a moderate amount of salty or umami flavors may replace electrolytes and encourage them to drink more fluids, while water-rich foods like fruits and veggies can help them stay hydrated with each bite.
- Food Goes In Guests, Not The Water – After a pool party, it’s a good idea to shock your pool and rebalance the water anyway, but you still want to try to avoid your pool party food ideas entering the water. Be sure to ask that guests not eat in the pool itself, and provide convenient hand washing or, at a minimum, disposable wiping cloths to get messy food residue off their hands, faces, and bodies before they enter your swimming pool.
Pool Party Food Ideas For Your Next Event
That’s some great information to keep in mind, but what does it look like in practice? Whatever you want it to. There are plenty of meals that either fall within those boundaries or can be modified to fit the needs of the moment. Consider your guests’ tastes and preferences, then let your culinary imagination go to work. TO get you started, we have a few ideas to consider:
- Fruit With Frills – Yes, you can always just make a fruit salad, but kids are notorious grabbers, and not everyone is comfortable with little hands having touched every piece of fruit in the bowl. Luckily, you can offer this pool party staple in a couple of fun ways that help keep hands off while offering maximum yum-factor.
Like beachballs, fruit comes in an array of colors that are perfect for fun, vibrant entertaining. Instead of loading up a boring mixing bowl with chunked fruit, separate those colors on a serving platter into the shape of a beach ball or other themed object. It’s relatively easy, and by separating the fruit and laying it flat, it’s easier for even the smallest guests to get the piece they want and leave the rest untouched.
Alternatively, fruit skewers are a great way to provide the mixed fruit salad experience with a personal flair. Each guest grabs their skewer, which is disposed of afterward. However you choose to prepare your fruit, remember that fruits that oxidize and brown, like apples or bananas, can get a longer life once prepared with a light spritzing of lime juice to protect them.
- Don’t Forget The Veggies – Veggies may not get the same interest as sweet fruit pool party appetizers, but they’re just as important. Some, like cucumbers, offer a high water content and help improve hydration. Others offer energy in the form of good carbohydrates or protein, like carrots and broccoli. Unless refrigeration is available, make sure any dip is temperature stable or is only out for serving a limited time.
You can offer a simple veggie tray, either homemade or from your favorite caterer, but skewers offer veggies the same benefits as they do fruit. FOr a fun and tasty twist, you can even fire up the grill for grilled veggie kabobs. Just brush the skewers with a mixture of olive oil and soy sauce or coconut aminos to give them a nice umami kick and grill until tender. They taste great and encourage your guests to get a good drink of water before getting back to swimming.
- Pack In Some Protein – Protein gives you the energy to keep going, and there are some great choices out there. You want to avoid greasy, heavy selections, however, as this can leave guests feeling bloated or nauseous. You don’t want your pool party to end for any reason involving someone’s gastrointestinal tract.
Chicken and pork have long been the champs of pool season when it comes to keeping things light. While kids love burgers and hotdogs, if you choose to include them, opt to spend a little more for quality meat with less “filler” fat that can weigh them down. Roasted or barbeque chicken, pork ribs, and pork tenderloin can all be prepared in advance and reheated or included on veggie skewers for quick, easy ka-bobs.
Plant-based protein options have grown in recent years as more and more people have become interested in healthier, animal-friendly, or environmentally-conscious eating choices. While extra firm tofu still works well on skewers, veggie dogs, burgers, and even drumsticks may be an easier entry point for hosts or guests unfamiliar with plant-based food options. As demand for these alternatives has increased, advancements have made their look, texture, and taste far closer to the “real” thing.
- Think Outside The Salad – Salads are a great pool party food idea because they are fast, easy, and offer guests a chance to get out of the pool for a bit while they enjoy it. While this may seem to be similar to serving veggies, just all mixed together, go beyond the lettuce wedge to other options for your guests.
Pasta salads are easy, fun, and refreshing–just avoid temperature-sensitive components like mayonnaise and other milk-based dressings. Instead, toss some pasta, frozen peas, carrot shred, and bacon bits–real or imitation–with your favorite Italian dressing or balsamic vinaigrette. Taking it another direction, toss olives, sliced cherry tomatoes, cheese, and hard salami, extra firm tofu, or tempeh with an Italian dressing for an antipasto they’ll love.
- Cool Things Down – Sure, the water can help you beat the heat, but who doesn’t love an icy treat. Frozen fare makes great pool party appetizers as a dessert or when you need something extra to get the kids out of the pool at the end of the vent. While ice cream is the classic go-to, other options can be just as yummy.
Frozen bananas dipped in chocolate are a favorite for all ages and offer the potassium your muscles will thank you for as they recover over the next few days. You can also puree fruit and freeze it in molds to create your own real-fruit ice pops without the added sugar and preservatives found in the grocery store. Moving from frozen to fluid, adding your favorite citrus juice to a blender with frozen berries or fresh berries and ice gives you an easy summer-time smoothie bar staple that offers plenty of flexibility for additional ingredients to suit individual tastes.
Enjoy Your Summer Fun Safely
As your guests get out of the pool, don’t forget to protect your loved ones by securing the swimming pool safety cover, safety net, or removable mesh pool fencing. These convenient security features help prevent unsupervised access when adults are focused on getting kids ready, not the pool’s surface while getting out of your way during the party to maximize your room for fun. Thousands are lost to accidental drowning each year, and a tragedy is the last thing you want your pool party to be remembered for.
Your local All-Safe Pool installer is ready to help you get your swimming area pool-party-ready. When you request a free estimate, your local safety expert will tailor a no-obligation quote that outlines your best protection options and how affordable peace of mind can be. Take the first step toward pool safety. Schedule your free quote from All-Safe Pool today.