One of the main challenges you will face when you are out camping will be food. Eating at nearby restaurants every meal is expensive, and cooking meals in a limited environment with basic kitchen equipment can be challenging, but also extremely rewarding. In case you want to know more about how to plan and cook delicious and simple meals, here is everything you need to know about camping food.
Create A Meal Plan
Just like everything in life, planning your meals before will save you from a lot of headaches. The key point is, you need to plan them before shopping, not before camping, so you can buy the necessary ingredients. While creating a meal plan, there are multiple factors you need to consider:
- The size of the group. The more people you bring with you, the more complicated the cooking becomes. You will have to consider each person’s choices and allergies. You will also have to pack way more ingredients and bigger kitchen equipment, like a Dutch oven.
- Are there any vegans/vegetarians in the group? If so, plan some suitable meals for them. Vegetarian food is often easier to make and they don’t go bad quickly.
- Does anyone in the group have an allergy to a certain food? If so, try excluding that from the meals.
- Are there any children in the group? If so, try planning some kid-friendly meals.
How Camping Meals Should Be
- Quick: Though cooking while camping is fun and rewarding, it shouldn’t be how you spend your precious couple days with your loved ones. Find some quick recipes to spend more time with various camping activities.
- Easy: You won’t have access to a full set of kitchen equipment, so planning easy meals is crucial. Plus, complex meals often take a long time to make, also violating our first rule.
- Nutritious and filling: Many camping side activities require you to use a lot of energy, like hiking and swimming. Feeling exhausted and tired is never fun, especially while camping, so make sure your meals are packed with quality carbs and proteins.
- Don’t go bad easily: Unless you have brought a huge refrigerator to your camp, chances are your small cooler won’t be enough to house a full set of leftover food. Limit your perishable foods like dairy and milk.
- Dairy: Stuff like milk and cheese are great to have while camping since they are both delicious and nutritious. Their biggest con is that they can perish really quickly, so pack only a small amount and make sure you have enough space in the cooler.
- Vegetables: While vegetables are healthy and delicious, they contain very small amounts of calories. Pack just enough for the planned meals.
- Meat: Meat is a great protein source and it tastes great, but just like dairy, it perishes fast. Again, don’t pack too much meat and consider your refrigeration space.
- Grains: Grains are the perfect camping food in every sense. They are filling, nutritious, delicious, easy & quick to prepare and don’t perish for a very long time. Base most of your meals on grains.
- Snacks: Treat snacks as bonus food, usually between meals. 1-2 snacks per day for each person should suffice.
- Desserts: Traditional camping desserts are a joy to prepare, and a bigger joy to eat. Plan 1-2 desserts per day for each person.
- Drinks: All that food has to go down, right? Well, drinks can help you with that. Pack at least 2 liters of water per day for each person, and don’t forget your tea, coffee and juices. Be responsible about alcohol; this isn’t your weekly happy hour.
- Canned food: Canned food should be treated as plan B. They are great when you are out of food/time or don’t want to bother preparing a whole meal, but nothing else.
Get the Essential Kitchen Equipment
Though you will mostly cook quick and easy meals while camping, you’ll still need an extensive number of essential equipment.
- Pot holder
- Forks and spoons
- Measuring cups
- Can opener
- Cutting board
- Zip-lock bags
- Trash bin
- Camp sink
- Kitchen sponge
- Firestarter (matches, lighter etc.)
- Roasting fork
Camping Meal Ideas
- Scrambled eggs
- Breakfast sandwiches
- Peanut butter jelly sandwiches
- Grilled bacon
- Hot dogs
- One-pot pasta
- French toast roll-ups
- Camping salad
- Chicken kebabs
- Mac & cheese
- Roasted marshmallows
- Campfire cones
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nut, bars and juices
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