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Want a quick and easy way to save money on your next ski trip?
Pack your own lunch.
Ski resort food is notoriously overpriced, and if you’re taking your whole family skiing, it’s easy to spend $100 on just your lunch. So if you’re looking for a way to add some fun and variety to your ski day, pack an awesome lunch before you go, and enjoy some ski tailgating in the parking lot.
Luckily, ski lunches don’t just have to be a smashed peanut butter sandwich like you may have grown up with. Below, we’ve listed over 20 ski lunch ideas for great lunches to take skiing that you can make ahead of time. Our goal when we pack a lunch for skiing is to make our food SO GOOD, that no one feels like they’re missing out on anything the lodge is serving.
With all the changes that have happened in the last few years, many ski resort lodges are closed or have limited food options, so this is the year to take advantage of that and fully embrace ski tailgating and bringing your own lunch skiing.
What foods work best for ski lunches?
The best foods to pack for a ski lunch require little to no preparation at the ski hill and provide lots of nutrients and energy. Skiing is a very intense activity, so plan on the whole family being quite hungry by lunchtime. Our general rule of thumb is that we pack 1.5 times as much food when we’re skiing as we would eat on a normal day at home. That includes plenty of snacks, in addition to a hearty ski lunch and we always try to bring hot chocolate in a thermos.
Soup and Chili for Skiing
Our family absolutely LOVES a warm lunch after a morning of skiing, so this is our go-to. We pack up an insulated jug full of a thick soup or chili and serve it with some breadsticks or rolls we grab at the store. With kids, we’ve found that it’s easier to give them a cup of soup than a bowl (they’re less likely to spill), and that thick soups work better (a thick stew is less likely to spill than a broth-based chicken noodle soup).
If you’ve got older kids, you have more flexibility here, but with younger kids, make sure to keep it thick. Bring along your own cups/bowls for easy serving.
Sandwiches and Salads for Skiing
For years, our go-to was a peanut butter sandwich for the kids, but as time has gone on, we’ve all expanded our tastes. We now choose sandwiches packed full of lots of meat and tons of veggies, so that no one feels like they’re missing out on what the resort is serving. In fact, our goal is to make our ski resort lunches so good, that the whole family is thrilled that they’re eating at the car instead of at the lodge.
Hot Cocoa for Skiing
This is a must-have. We always take a generous amount of hot cocoa (for our large family this means several large jugs), since everyone usually wants some hot cocoa at lunch and then again at the end of the ski day. When compared to the $7 a cup you could pay at the lodge, this is an absolute STEAL and is one of the best ways to save money on ski food. We love to pack our hot chocolate in our thermos. This one is great for the whole family.
What are the best snacks to take skiing?
When you’re packing snacks to take skiing with kids, plan on food that can easily be grabbed and eaten quickly. If your kids are anything like mine, they won’t want to miss any skiing time, so keep snacks simple and easy. Sometimes I even wear my backpack to pack even more snacks and water. Our main go-to, are oranges and clementines. We can peel them really quickly, and it gives the kids a bit of a sweet fix while avoiding the sugar of candy.
These Clif Bars always come with us, since our kids are absolutely obsessed with all the flavors that Clif Bars have. I love that they’re packed full of high-quality ingredients that will help boost their energy throughout the day.
We also throw some treats in our pockets in stasher bags as rewards to give the kids on the chairlift. We usually take Lifesavers, TicTacs, or M&M’s – basically, any candy that doesn’t turn rock hard when it freezes (chewy candy has a problem with this).
How can I keep my ski lunch warm?
There are lots of great options for keeping your ski lunch warm so that when you get to the car to eat, you have a nice warm meal to enjoy. Our favorite way to keep food warm is in an insulated jug. We’ve been using this HUGE insulated jug for over 7 years and have NEVER had it leak, and it easily keeps food HOT for at least 8 hours. We also are getting this jug because it’s an awesome deal, and looks super easy to pour.
Another way that you can keep your food warm while skiing is with a 12V powered slow cooker that plugs into your car cigarette lighter. These are super handy and a surprisingly great deal, and are a great option for keeping a ski lunch warm.
What do I need to take with me to ski tailgate?
If you’re planning on eating your ski lunch back at the car, then it’s time to fully embrace ski tailgating. While you don’t need to bring a full grill and parking lot games, there are a few things you can easily bring on your family ski trip to make lunch a little bit more fun.
First of all, make sure that you bring a few folding camp chairs. After a full morning of skiing, your feet deserve a rest, so make sure to bring a few camp chairs in your car with you. We drive an SUV, so we open the back and let the kids sit back there, while the adults enjoy the camp chairs.
Next, make sure that you’ve got a battery powered speaker to play some music. Ski tailgating is only done right when there’s music involved, and it’s even more fun if everyone creates the playlist together in advance. You can even bring along some games to play while everyone is eating.
Best Soups To Make Ahead for Skiing
Below, you’ll find a list of the best soups that you can make ahead for skiing. They’re all amazingly delicious, and many of them can be assembled the night before and left to cook in the slow cooker while you sleep. If you’re in a time crunch or want to keep things simple, these dehydrated soups are easy and work well for a ski lunch as well. Keep them in an insulated jug for a piping-hot lunch while skiing.
Best Sandwiches, Wraps, and Salads for Skiing
If you don’t need a hot lunch for skiing, these recipes below will likely blow your mind. These great spring skiing lunches are all much more than your typical sandwich.
Whatever you decide to make for your skiing lunch, the options really are quite endless.
If you’re wanting a delicious, homemade apres-ski meal that the whole family will love, we’ve got some great apres-ski food recipes for you right here.