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Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

Bringing food to the lake doesn’t have to be hard. My technique for packing food to bring to the lake is easy, efficient, and most importantly organized. Through my tips, you’ll see how simple packing food and snacks for the lake can really be! 

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

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Summer is in full swing and our family has already spent countless days on the lake. Living on a lake, it’s pretty easy to get some substantial lake time in. It’s a hard life we live over here, I tell ya!

When you live on a lake, time spent on the water comes in all shapes and sizes. Your interactions with the water can range from casual to more elaborate depending on the circumstances.

More casual:

  • Morning coffee on the patio or the dock overlooking the water.
  • An afternoon or evening cocktail on the Adirondack chairs.
  • Bringing my laptop outside to work while taking in the lake view.

A little more than casual:

  • Taking out the jet ski for a couple of laps around the lake.
  • Getting the family on the pontoon for some fresh air and a little bit of fishing.

Getting up there and takes a decent amount of effort:

Entertaining company which includes having the pontoon and jet ski available. Also, having our lounging float blown up as well as our larger tube to pull behind the jet ski or pontoon. We also like to pull out our card table, games, and have food on the dock so those who aren’t on the boat still have something to do. And don’t forget the speaker for some tunes!

The most effort and time consuming:

Occasionally, we like to pull our pontoon out of our lake and drop it in a chain of lakes not too far from our house. When I say not too far I mean just 10 minutes away. Regardless of the distance, it’s still the most amount of work for us since we have to pull our boat out of the water and pack supplies for a full day at the lake. 

Although we have the luxury of living on a lake year-round, I do understand that the majority of the population falls in the “the most effort” category when wanting to take any trip to the lake. And I know, it can be a little overwhelming and a ton of work. 

To help you get the most out of your lake days, and pretty much your beach days or pool days too, I’ve been sharing all my tips and tricks here on the blog.  You can find everything from How to Pack the Perfect Lake Bag to 10 Things You Must do on the Lake

Currently, my most popular lake post this summer is my Ultimate List of Essentials to Pack for a Day on the Lake. The post goes into pretty great detail about all the items you should bring with you on your next lake day. It includes an entire section with some lake food ideas for the “beginner level” lake-goer. The list primarily talks about picking snack foods like granola bars, chips, or peanut butter crackers that won’t melt in the heat. Pretty basic!

When our family goes all out for our lake days, we tend to kick things up a notch and bring along a portable grill with us. We cook up some steaks, chicken kebabs, burgers, and hot dogs right there on the boat. I’ll also make some sort of pasta salad like my Mediterranean-Style Orzo Salad that everyone goes crazy for!

Grilling on a boat…I would definitely recommend that more for the experienced lake-goer. It took us quite a few trips out to the chain of lakes before we felt comfortable enough to dip our feet into that pond.

So what do I recommend for those of you who are somewhere in the middle of these two categories? In addition to the snacks I previously mentioned, I recommend packing things like fresh fruit or veggies with dip (check out these veggie dips!), cheese and crackers, and sandwich wraps. They’re still easy enough to put together but substantial enough to keep you full for an entire day on the water. 

For our most recent day out on the water, I made sure to stop and take pictures of what I made and packed to bring along with us. You honestly won’t believe how easy it is to do. Come check it out!

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake 

In order to be able to accomplish any of this food packing glory, you must invest in some good plastic containers. I highly recommend plastic over glass whenever you’re on a boat or near the water. The possibility of wet hands dropping a container is increased and no one wants to worry about broken glass everywhere while being barefoot. 

The key is to purchase larger plastic containers along with smaller containers that can fit inside the larger ones and still allow it to close. It’s also a smart idea to find a cooler that will accommodate your larger plastic containers. 

Here are all the containers that I personally use as well as the cooler that we have in case you are in the market for some new ones. 


Our most recent lake day menu consisted of fresh fruit and dip, turkey and ham wraps, classic macaroni salad, as well as some cheese and crackers. 

Container one consisted of my two-ingredient fruit dip and fresh fruit. I started by making my dip (it’s AMAZING!) and adding it to a smaller plastic container that I placed inside my larger container. I then added my washed fresh fruit in the larger container surrounding the fruit dip.

Fruit dip and fruit in container

I grabbed some plastic picks to add to the container. I like the plastic picks better than toothpicks for this because they allow you to dip your fruit without the risk of it falling off. This keeps everyone from having to dig into the dip with their wet fingers!

plastic food picks

All that’s left to do is add the lid to the fruit dip container and place the plastic picks on top of the fruit dip.

Fruit dip and fruit in container

Finally, I added the lid on top of the large container and I was done. You can do the exact same set-up with vegetables and veggie dip. Or if you’re feeding a ton of people, you can always do both!

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

In the second large container, I opted to make some sandwich wraps. I like making wraps instead of regular sandwiches because I feel they hold up much better. I did a few turkey and cheese as well as some ham and cheese wraps. Don’t forget to hold the condiments!

ham and cheese wrap

I like to roll them up and cut off the ends to make them even.

ham and cheese wrap

Next, you’ll want to add a few toothpicks. Not only do the toothpicks hold the wrap together, but it makes it easier for everyone to pick up too.

ham and cheese wrap

Cut the wrap in between the toothpicks and you’re left with cute bite-sized pinwheels. 

ham and cheese wrap

I added the sandwiches to one side of my second large container. I also put in a tiny container of baby pickles, mayonnaise, and my homemade honey mustard dressing. Feel free to add any condiments you’d like instead.

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

For the other side of the container, I cut up two blocks of cheese. I made sure to stick in a couple of toothpicks for easy pick-up.

cubes of cheese in plastic container

All that’s left to do is add the lids to the condiment containers and some crackers for the cheese.

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

Finally, add the top to the large container to keep all the food safe. 

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

I made my classic macaroni salad and added it to a separate plastic container. Because it is a wet salad, I recommend you keep it in its own compartment.

classic macaroni salad in container

All that is left to do is add some plastic cutlery as well as paper plates and napkins to a large Ziploc or bag.

plastic cutlery and paper goods 

Don’t forget a garbage bag too!

plastic garbage bag and paper goods

This is everything I made in one spot.

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

Add your containers into your cooler and top with ice.

Plastic containers in a cooler

You’re now ready to go to the lake, beach, or pool!

man holding cooler

To serve, I added some plastic cutlery into the fruit dip and condiments.

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

I also grabbed a spoon for the macaroni salad and put the crackers on a plate. 

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

Wouldn’t you say this is quite a step up from chips and Nutri-Grain bars? And honestly, it’s so simple to whip together. If you start packing food to bring to the lake that looks like this, your family and friends will think you’re incredible. I can most definitely promise you that!

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

Want to remember this? Post these tips for Packing Food to Bring to the Lake to your favorite Pinterest board!

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

Packing Food to Bring to the Lake

Wednesday Link Party


Jaclyn from Coffee, Pancakes, and Dreams
Brittany from Dreams and Coffee
Mary Leigh from Live Well Play Together
Tiffany from Lake Life State of Mind
Lindsay from Lindsay’s Sweet World
Keri from Cultivate an Intentional Life 
Holley from Simply Holley Marie

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    1. I’m so happy you found the ideas helpful! Maybe next time you’ll pack a picnic for you and the family. Have a great day, Jill 💗

    1. Yes, I do know your love for snack trays! And you’re absolutely right that this will work for the park or beach too. Enjoy 😊

    1. You can easily use this for a day by the pool or even for the beach. 💗💗💗

  1. Yummy food choices! We live right on the lake too and entertain often so I’m always looking for quick and easy ways to entertain without spending all day running up and down the stairs.

    1. I didn’t realize you lived in the lake too! This will definitely be good for you then. Enjoy 😊

  2. Wow! This is an amazing post, Tiffany! So many great ideas for summer and beyond. I love your ideas of sandwich wraps over the traditional sandwiches and I love that you use Rubbermaid–their products are great and last forever. We don’t live on a lake, but I have family coming in next week and we’re going to spend some time in the canyons (mountains) so your post came just in time! Thank you!

    1. Time in the mountains sounds AMAZING! I hope you and the family enjoy your time together. These food packing ideas would work for pretty much any occasion. Thanks so much for following along and your consistent support.

  3. This is great! Going to make for our next beach day. Which exact food storage containers do you have? I noticed the links are a little different than the pics..

  4. Great article! What size cooler is in the photo that fits the containers? We have a yeti backpack but it’s not ideal for big containers!

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