It’s finally summertime and that means one thing: boat season! And with boating comes the challenge of finding snacks for the boat.
After all, there’s nothing worse than being out on the water all day and then having to go home starving.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 23 best snacks for a boat trip. From fruits and veggies to chips and dip, we’ve got you covered. So read on for ideas that will help you stay fueled up and satisfied while you’re out on the water.
Table of Contents
What makes a good snack for the boat?
The best snacks for the boat are:
- Quick and easy to make
- Durable enough to withstand a little bit of rough treatment, and
- Tasty enough to keep everyone happy.
Oh – and they need to be easy to eat on a boat or pontoon! Think “pontoon picnic.”
And balance is important, as you want to have a variety of snacks that will satisfy everyone’s cravings.
No matter what, boat food should be prepared in advance and ready to eat. Nobody wants to be whipping up creamy coleslaw out on the water.
Everything should prepared, pre-cut and pre-packaged. For super-easy serving, package your boat snacks in one-serving containers. You could even use lunch boxes – one for each person.
The only time this doesn’t apply, is if you have a boat or pontoon grill. Cooking out on the water can be a lot of fun! If you plan to grill out on the lake, then make sure all your food is prepped and ready to just throw on the barbie. It makes mealtime slick, smooth & simple. And then the cook gets to enjoy the party, too, instead of fussing with food prep!
How to pack boat snacks
There are a few key things to keep in mind when packing snacks for the boat trip. You want to make sure your boat food is easy to store, transport and eat.
Keep dry snacks that don’t need refrigeration in a separate container. A simple grocery tote is good for this. Pack only one layer deep, so you can see everything without having to rummage around.
Single-serving packages are ideal for boat trips. Consider single-serving chip bags, granola bars, etc. They’re a little more spendy, but the convenience may be worth it.
Cold hoagies and wraps can be sliced and wrapped in individual, ready-to-eat servings. If you have more than one variety, label the outside with a Sharpie marker. Store them in a waterproof bag so they don’t get soggy in the cooler.
For appetizers like rollups and cold cuts, pack bite-sized servings together in a sealed, plastic container. Stack layers between pieces of parchment or wax paper.
Remember: Keep everything cold and dry. Make it easy to serve and enjoy.
And when you’re done, gather all trash together so your boat stays tidy and your lake stays clean.
Boat friendly snack ideas
There’s nothing like a day on the water to work up an appetite. But when it comes time to refuel, there’s no need to pack a lot of heavy, expensive snacks. These easy boat snacks will keep you fueled up without taking up a lot of space or breaking the bank.
Choose your favorites, and make sure your pantry is stocked and ready!
Boat snacks that are easy and ready to go
- Popcorn: Popcorn is a great snack for the boat because it’s light and easy to make. You can buy pre-popped popcorn or pop it on the stove. Add salt, butter, or any seasonings that sound good. (Hint: A dash of Lowry’s seasoning salt is mighty tasty.)
- Chips: Chips are the ultimate portable snack. There are umpteen varieties and everyone loves them. If you don’t want the extra expense of individual snack bags, just package your own using Ziploc bags.
- Granola bars: Granola bars come individually wrapped, so they’re easy to grab for the boat. They’re yummy, inexpensive and a quick, simple snack.
You’ll never go wrong with a box of snack crackers. Grab a few different kinds, and you’re good to go!
- Protein bars: If you love granola bars but want something a little more substantial, protein bars are a good fit. The extra protein will keep your crew fueled and happy. You can buy protein bars pre-packaged or make your own.
- Trail Mix: This classic mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit is perfect for a day on the boat. It’s packed with protein and fiber, and it’s easy to customize to your taste.
- Snack crackers: You’ll never go wrong with a box of snack crackers. Whether it’s thin wheat crackers, graham crackers, butter crackers, flavored crisps, goldfish crackers or the other 300 varieties, everyone loves snack crackers. Grab a few different kinds, and you’re good to go!
Boat snacks that are on the lighter side
- Watermelon slices: Is there anything better than sweet, juicy, ice-cold watermelon? How about sweet, juicy, ice-cold watermelon on the lake? One watermelon feeds a herd of hungry boaters, and they’ll love every summery bite.
- Veggie & dip cups: It’s easy to have healthy boat food that’s also delicious. Just spoon some dip into the bottom of a glass, then add sticks of cut-up veggies. You could use ranch dip, guacamole, salsa… whatever theme you want to go with. It’s easiest to do this in the kitchen and then wrap the cup in Saran wrap. But if someone wants to play server, it’s not hard to assemble veggie & dip cups on the boat.
- Fresh fruit: Grapes, apples, oranges, berries… Watermelon may be the official fruit of summer, but any sliced fruit is ideal for a light and refreshing snacks on the boat. Try freezing the grapes for a cool, tasty treat. Toss apple slices with a dash of citrus or salt to prevent browning. Bananas are easy to peel and enjoy, and berries just taste like the sun. Yum!
- Shrimp & cocktail sauce: You can serve this yummy snack in little plastic cups. Just put a few tablespoons of cocktail sauce on the bottom, then add a handful of toothpick-skewered shrimp on top. This is a light, keto-friendly boat treat!
- Pickles: If you’ve ever had a big, ice-cold juicy pickle, you’ll know why pickles made this list. A good Kosher dill pickle is crunchy, satisfying and downright fun. Who doesn’t love a giant pickle? The extra salt helps stay hydrated on hot summer days, and the sour tang is a nice finish to other, heavier boat food.
Boat snacks that keep you satisfied
- Tortilla rollups: There are dozens of recipes and variations for tortilla rollups (or “tortilla pinwheels”). Just add your favorite creamy spread, some meat & cheese, and maybe a veggie. Roll up, slice about one inch thick, and layer in a shallow Tupperware container.
- Sliced hoagies/sandwiches: Hoagies and sandwiches are simple and inexpensive to make. They’re also not too spendy to buy – so do whatever suits your time and budget. Slice them in half or even quarters, so they’re easy to eat, then wrap or store individually. Remember to add condiments at home, so there’s no fumbling with all of that on the boat or pontoon.
- Jerky: Beef jerky, turkey jerky, venison jerky… This snack is really satisfying without weighing a person down. And it’s low carb, so it’s perfect for swimsuit weather! It doesn’t need refrigeration, and it’s super light and portable. Jerky is a bit expensive, but a little goes a long way. And honestly? It’s kinda fun to make your own – which is MUCH more affordable than store-bought. Give it a try! (Not during your boat ride, of course.)
- Cheese: Cheese is high in protein and universally loved. It also doesn’t take much of it to be satisfied. Serve it in cubes, slices or sticks. Add it to your sandwiches, rollups and skewers. Cheese actually tastes better when it’s not chilled, so it’s perfect for enjoying on the boat or pontoon.
- Eggs: Whether hard-boiled or deviled, eggs are the perfect boat food. They’re easy, healthy, and packed with protein. Plus, they’re come in handy single-servings naturally! Eggs are a staple for anyone on a keto or low-carb diet, so be their hero and include some in your boat food menu. Deviled eggs are always a hit, but you’ll need a special container that stops them from sliding around. Plain old hard-boiled eggs are tasty with just salt and pepper. Shell them in the kitchen so they’re ready to eat.
- Cold chicken: There is nothing like some cold chicken to snack on while out on the boat. It’s a filling and satisfying snack that will help keep you going while you’re playing hard or just soaking up the sun. Plus, chicken is just so easy! Either grab a bucket of deli chicken on the way to the lake, or pack up last night’s grilling leftovers.
- Antipasto kabobs: Kabobs make an excellent boat snack. First, they’re easy to make. All you need is a skewer and whatever meat, cheese or veggies you have on hand. Second, they’re both portable and affordable. You can make a bunch of kabobs for very little money. And finally, they’re delicious! Antipasto kabobs are a great combination of smooth and savory flavors. They’re perfect for nibbling away your hunger while you’re out on the water.
- Nuts: Nuts are a great boat snack because they’re a good source of protein and fiber, and (for those who care) most are low in carbs. They also have a high satiety rating, meaning that they’ll help you feel full for a long time. Plus, they’re relatively easy to store and transport, making them the perfect snack for on the go.
Boat snacks for when you’re craving something sweet
- Donuts: Is there anyone who doesn’t love a donut? Cake donuts, glazed donuts, jelly filled and Bavarian cream. Donuts are a good boat snack because they are light and delicious, they don’t need any refrigeration, and they come flavors and varieties that appeal to everyone. Donuts are relatively cheap and easy to find, making them a great option for people who are on the go.
- Cookies: When you want something sweet, cookies are a perfect choice. Store-bought or homemade, there’s a cookie type to satisfy everyone. Oatmeal/raisin have some staying power, while chocolate chip are just plain good. Bring both!
- Muffins: Muffins are another good one! Buy them or bake them and enjoy every bite. Mini-muffins are better than the giant, Costco variety; they’re easier to eat and not the commitment. Or half the bigger muffins and wrap them in plastic.
- Rice Krispy bars: Of course, any bars will do for the boat. But Rice Krispy bars are so simple to make and so easy to eat, they won the spot on our list. Rice Krispy bars don’t crumble, melt or make a giant mess. And they’re always a crowd pleaser. Here’s our tip for award winning Rice Krispy bars: double the marshmallows.
A few last thoughts about boat snacks
Waiting until the last minute to pack snacks for the boat is never a good idea. Especially when planning boat food is so fun and easy to do!
The above list of our 23 best snacks for the boat will keep you energized on the water, all day long. From fresh fruits and veggies to sandwiches and dips, there’s something to keep everyone happy.
Don’t see your favorites on this list? Comment below and share your best snacks! We’re always excited to try something new.