There is so much more to camping food than hotdogs and s’mores over the fire. Take it up a notch this Summer by spending a little time planning your menu ahead of time.

Here are my top 5 tips to make your outdoor holiday a success!

  1. Plan ALL meals and snacks before you pack up the car for your adventure. Planning your meals ahead of time and thinking through the cooking process will help you pack all of the appropriate gear required to make your meals. On one family getaway, we found ourselves in the predicament of pancake production without a flipper!
  • Eat highly perishable items near the beginning of the trip and pack the cooler in order of use.
  • Freeze drinks to use as extra ice packs. Keeping all drinks in a separate cooler from food will also help keep the perishable foods from being in a cooler that is often opened.
  • Tape 3-5 empty, ‘tic-tac,’ containers together and fill with spices such as salt, pepper, garlic powder or cinnamon. This makes your spices easy to find and in a user friendly container.
  • Dedicate a large plastic tote to your make outdoor makeshift kitchen. We keep this bin in our basement with all of our other camping gear and pull it out every trip. This bin has shaved off hours of prep because it contains all the miscellaneous items we might need…and have forgotten in the past. The items in our bin are mostly retired things from our kitchen that we upgraded or replaced.
  • Dish cloths, tea towels, dish soap and a rectangle bucket for a, ‘sink.’
  • Can opener, bottle opener & at least 2 sharp knives.
  • Frying pan, oven mitts, long tongs and a flipper.
  • Plastic or metal plates, bowls and cups.  Consider cups with lids to keep out curious critters!
  • A full set of cutlery.
  • An electric kettle and a toaster.
  • A box of plastic baggies, plastic wrap, foil wrap and a roll of paper towel.
  • Lighter and newspaper for starting a fire.
  • Rope and clothes pins for drying kitchen linen, etc.

Now What to Eat?

A few tips before we get right into the menu ideas. Do whatever washing, chopping or prepping that can be done ahead of time. It is so worth the investment of time before you go! We always take with us a large container of pre-cut veggies. Fruit is pre-washed, dried and stored in large plastic storage bags.

Here are some ideas for you to consider:

Breakfast:

  • hard boiled eggs
  • whole grain pancakes that just need to be warmed in the toaster – don’t forget the real maple syrup!
  • oatmeal – add in raisins, nuts, cinnamon and maple syrup
  • granola

Lunch:

  • whole grain wraps or pitas filled with tuna, avocado & veggies, hummus & veggies
  • mini pita pizzas – mini whole grain pitas, pizza sauce, sliced nitrate free turkey pepperoni, diced green peppers and grated cheese
  • sandwiches – sliced cheese, nitrate free deli meat, whole grain bread, lettuce, tomatoes and mustard
  • Good old PB & Jelly – whole grain bread, unsweetened peanut butter and naturally sweetened jam

Dinner

  • foil dinners – prepare these ahead of time at home and use near the beginning of your trip. (chicken & veggies, roasted potatoes)
  • steak
  • precooked sausage

Snacks

  • produce that doesn’t bruise easily – oranges, apples, carrots, celery
  • hummus
  • trail mix
  • nut butter & apple slices

Now, don’t get me wrong – a gooey s’more or fire roasted hot dog here and there is definately a part of our family camping experience too! We just try to round out the treats with whole food options that keep us feeling our best!