Food ideas for a school car wash

This Saturday, the debate team I coach is getting together with one other team and we are hosting a joint car wash to fundraise for our two programs. As the car wash is from 10-2, I’d like to have some food for the kids, particularly since a number of the participants are lower income kids and, well, I’d like to make sure they get something nutritious to eat while working so hard.

Of course there’s the obvious stuff: pretzels, veggie plate, fruit-- but what else? I was hoping for some sort of “lunch” main dish that is yummy and healthy, but I’m sort of at a loss here. Googling turns up a whole mess of things that are just soaking in fat and grease, which is not going to be pleasant for them on our still-hot California Saturday.

So, ideas for both main dish type things and snacky things that will be ok at room temperature? (I plan to bring an ice chest, but you know what I mean). Oh, extra points if this is cheap, since I’m personally paying for the food :).

Google some tailgate recipes for ideas. You want cold and ready to serve. Some little sandwiches all made up or even wrap sandwiches with hummus and a vegetable like ready-made shredded carrots would hit the spot. Hummus is dirt cheap to make yourself.

I also like that ready-made broccoli slaw for additions to sandwiches and salads. Throw that in there and you’ll have healthy, happy car-washers.

If you’ve got a Costco nearby, take a run down the food aisles. The have lots of bulk ideas there that might save the day.

Rolled sandwiches - use lavash or tortilla, spread with fillings, roll and slice.

Some good ideas here:

Fillings like hummus & tabbouleh, pb&j are fine at room temp.

At that age, I’d have been thrilled at any excuse for a pizza party. Have someone go out to Little Caesar’s and pick up a few piping hot pies at noon (only $5 each!). Given that they’re lower income, they might not get to eat out often. And, no offense intended here, but I think broccoli or hummus will seem more like punishment than reward.

If you don’t want to go the pizza party route, which I understand, I think you should aim for healthy foods that are more likely to be inoffensive to the average teenage palate. Maybe one of those big Subway party subs with no mayo would be good. Don’t forget vegetarian options, if you have any non-carnivores coming.

Go to local grocery stores and restaurants and ask for food donations. If you’re talking low cost food they may give it away just for good will. A sign indicating their donation would be more incentive.

We host several tournaments throughout the year where we feed hundreds of people breakfast and lunch, I use these community connections for that. When it’s snacks and whatever for just 30 kids, I have no problem taking care of that out of pocket.

At that age, pizza is about the ONLY food universally accepted.

Car washes are incredibly FILTHY experiences. Bring hand sanitizer, Wet Wipes, and gobs of paper towels. Any kind of fruit or veggie tray where people help themselves would be EXTREMELY “ick” because of the crud factor.

Another idea would be a huge sub, sliced into individual servings.

And you might want a vegetarian option. That’s the age where some kids are starting to embrace the vegetarian diet.

I heard the Twilight Zone theme while I was reading this post.

In my experience, some teens will eat healthy food. However, most of them want carbs, grease, salt, and sugar in various ratios.

Usually, the party subs look great, but when you actually consider the cost, it’s cheaper to get an assortment of regular sized subs. Personally, I’d get the 12 or 13 inch subs, and cut them into quarters, not just halves. And get veggie subs as well.

I keep thinking of Frito chili pie. NOT healthy, but most teens like it. Get the big cans of chili, warm up chili at home, and stick it in a cooler. The coolers will keep it warm enough. Get the individual sized bags of Fritos (no other brand will do, I’m afraid). Chop up some onions, and get some grated American or Cheddar cheese, and disposable forks. To serve, open one sack, dump a scoop of chili in it, add some onions and cheese, and hand out to kid with a fork and paper towel. Point out garbage can. Girls will eat one or two, while boys might eat as many as half a dozen.