Be sure to also check out the entire Week In the Woods series, with tips on camping with kids, planning what to do, and why it’s all worth it!
Part 2: What to Eat
Yesterday I encouraged you to give camping a try. Whether you are a seasoned camping family or if you are just starting out. If you want to get away for a couple’s weekend or if you will be taking along a crew of kids. Single family, church group, camping with friends. However you decide to make it happen, just go!
Deciding to go is the first step. If you don’t have the gear yet, then buy, borrow, or beg some to get you outfitted for your adventure.
Next comes one of my favorite parts of any trip… Planning the food!
My friend Amanda, (who is a much more awesome camper than I), once told me that they eat better at the campsite than they do at home. I am indebted to her for the idea to start a tradition of steak dinners on camping trips.
Camping food does not need to simply be cans of baked beans and hot dogs.
Though it’s almost a rule that at least one meal should be hot dogs skewered and roasted over the fire. What you eat while you are camping can be as complicated or as simple as you make it.
Whether you choose complicated, simple, or somewhere in between, camping food should be delicious and healthy. No one wants to eat sub-par, bland food all week. And you don’t want to be worried about upset stomachs or fatigue from poor food choices all week either.
A day or two before our camping trip, I am busy in the kitchen preparing food. If I’m lucky, I send the kids away with their dad (or grandparents) and get to work. If all my help is busy, I do the best that I can and figure out fun things for my kids to do while I’m working in the kitchen.
It’s a day’s investment that results in a week of food ready to be cooked, eaten, and enjoyed.
Below are three lists–
- what I make on prep day
- what we eat at each meal and for snacks
- what kitchen supplies we pack for campsite cooking
Prepping food for a week…
Your meal options will vary depending on what kind of camping equipment you have available to you. Almost every campsite will have an area to build a fire over which you can heat food and cook meat. Having a camp stove adds a little more diversity and convenience. Assess what supplies you have and make a plan from there.
Our plan is based upon having a fire, a camp stove, and multiple coolers.
I will also note that since our kids are so young (4, 2, 6mo), we only do car camping. Our van is nearby the campsite and we are able to return coolers of food at the end of each day to keep them protected from wild animals. If you plan on hiking to your campsite, your list of meals would need to be altered a bit.
What I make on my prep day:
*in parentheses is how each item is stored to be ready to pack
- smoothies (3 two-cup jars per day)– blended and frozen
- our favorite garden salsa (jar)
- pasta salad (freezer bag)– here’s one idea
- cookies (freezer bag)
- muffins (freezer bag)
- bagels (freezer bag)
- carrots and pepper spears (jar)
- cheese slices (jar)
- vegetables cut up, ready to be tossed with marinade before cooking (freezer bag)
- ground beef seasoned and formed into patties for hamburgers (freezer bag)
- steak seasoned (freezer bag)
- ranch dressing (jar)
- ground beef browned and seasoned for nachos (freezer bag)
- chicken cut up and tossed with marinade (freezer bag)
- milk transferred to jars
- sweet tea (jars)
- grind coffee (jar)
- trail mix (jars)
Items I pick up from the grocery store or pull from the pantry for the trip:
Meal by meal menu plan:
- Scrambled eggs, smoothies
- Steak and eggs, smoothies
- Bagel sandwiches, smoothies
- Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, chips, fresh fruit
- Salami and cheese crackers, veggie spears & ranch, fresh fruit
- Pasta salad
- Hamburgers and hot dogs, chips, veggie spears & ranch
- Pasta Salad
- Marinated chicken and vegetables
- Steak, sauteed onions & potatoes, corn on the cob
- Fresh fruit
- Cheese and crackers
- Chips and salsa
- Veggie spears & ranch
- Trail mix
- Fruit & vegetable pouches
Kitchen supplies to pack:
- tea kettle for heating water
- stainless steel french press for coffee
- spatula (one large, one small)
- chef’s knife, paring knife
- 2 plastic cutting boards
- dish towels
- hot dog roasting skewers
- 2 cooking pans (we prefer cast iron)
- 6 gallon water jug (for filling up at the well)
- mixing bowl
- metal tongs
- paper towels
- pair of heavy duty leather gloves (for handling hot items from the wood fire)
- 1 set of eating dishes (plastic plates, silverware, stainless steel camp mugs, small glass jars for drinking, Nalgene water bottles)
- 2 large empty plastic containers for washing dishes
- dish soap and wash rag
And that’s it. A week of food that is both tasty and nourishing enough to keep everyone ready for the next adventure!
Do you have a special meal that is a camping tradition?
A Week In The Woods: Series on Camping
What to Eat
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