side menu icon

Girl Scout Nosebag Lunches


Have you ever heard the term “nosebag lunch” when going to Girl Scout camp or an outdoor program? That’s probably because the nickname dates to 1927. Here is the definition:

nosebag lunch (nōz′băg′ lŭnch)

n.  A bag lunch. The term comes from when a bag of oats was placed over a horse’s muzzle to eat. Commonly carried on hikes or outings.

With that in mind, Girl Scouts took the term and applied it to bagged lunches. They applied the name to when girls packed their own personal “nose bag” in a bandana, a paper or plastic bag, etc. The term grew and was even included in the 1963 Girl Scout Brownie Handbook. The handbook stated for girls to “carry something munchy, something crunchy, something juicy, something sweet, nothing squishy, nothing squashy, nothing sticky, nothing soggy.”

The term now is used loosely across different Councils. 

Want to pack your own 1963-inspired nosebag lunch? Here’s how:

Try to include a balanced meal – a protein sandwich, vegetable munchies, thirst quencher (fruit), and something sweet for a dessert. Pack heavy things on the bottom, light ones on top, and avoid “squishy” things that will ooze and/or leak. If you are traveling far or hiking for a long time, note that fragile fruits such as peaches and pears will not survive. Be aware of the weather and things that will melt. Tip: potato chips tend to have a low survival rate!

Once you have that sorted, here are some no-cook recipe and snack ideas:

(Ants) Bugs on a Log

Fill ribs of celery with peanut butter or cream cheese and top with raisins or nuts

Cereal Necklace

Using a piece of string or yarn, pipe the string with bits of cereal rings


An acronym for “good old raisins and peanuts” or trail mix, GORP is an easy and fun snack to put together. Customize it with things like salted peanuts, dried cranberries, dried fruits, granola, and different seeds or nuts! 

The information above is brought to you by the GSACPC History Committee and the Barbara Anderson Girl Scout Museum. If you would like to learn more about Girl Scout history or schedule a visit to the museum, please visit