How to Be Successful with Camping Meal Prep

By viola wallace | May 23, 2018

Camping during the warmer months is a way of life for many of us. Children love the adventure and adults love the opportunity to take a break from regular life and enjoy some quality time in the great outdoors. It’s great to unplug for a while and enjoy a campfire.

Like most things in life however preparation is necessary to make the most out of your camping trip. Food is key. Without the right food (or enough food) you’ll end up with a whine-fest from kids and adults alike! Imagine running out of food two days before your scheduled departure or eating only s’mores and hotdogs for one week straight!  That’s why meal prep should be at top of your to-do list when planning your trip. But how do you do this successfully? It’s as simple as 123.

How to be Successful with Camping Meal Prep

1. Plan Your Menu

A meal plan lets you incorporate healthy and (delicious) options into your meals and snacks. You need foods that will give you plenty of energy to go hiking and find that hidden waterfall or the best sunset without necessarily sacrificing taste. That doesn’t mean you have to jettison the classic “camp fare” if you are interested in those as well. It just means that shouldn’t be all you eat.

Before you even begin to think about grocery shopping write down your meal ideas. Think in terms of how many breakfasts lunches and dinners you will need.  Also consider who will be eating. Does anyone in your camping party have dietary restrictions or allergies? Are you travelling with all adults or there kids coming along too? Kids have slightly different nutritional needs and tastes than adults so make sure you have stuff that’s suitable for them.

Take into account your food storage options. If you’ve got an RV and a powered site you probably have less to worry about. But if you’re in a tent and relying on a cooler you’ll want to plan to use your perishable items (like eggs and dairy products) during the earlier part of your trip so that they don’t spoil.

Also take into account what cooking tools and methods will be available to you. Having a backup plan if you can’t start a fire is important too. Try as much as possible to pick meals that can be mostly or completely prepared ahead of time or that are easy to make at a campsite. For example chili is an easy option that can be made ahead of time and reheated in a Dutch oven or foil pan. Here are some easy delicious meals we’ve actually made and here is a list of more “gourmet” options .

2. Write out your grocery list.

Now that you have your meals planned write out your grocery list. Go through each meal in your mind and write down the ingredients and supplies you will need.  Don’t forget your condiments utensils and lots of ice if you’re relying on a cooler. Don’t be tempted to buy more than you’ll need. It will just go to waste.

3. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time.

Meal prep can mean making everything advance or it can simply be about preparing your ingredients so that they’re very easy to assemble into a meal.

Baked goods are easy to prepare ahead of time can last slightly longer and usually don’t need to be refrigerated.  It’s very easy to toss in some ingredients that will help boost the nutritional value – some protein powder chia seeds or flax seed for example.  Ready-made pancake mix is a super easy item to prep ahead of time. You can even toss in dried nuts or fruits!

TIP: Scrambled eggs can be prepped ahead of time and poured into empty water bottles for easy transportation and clean up.  When you’re ready for breakfast just warm up an aluminum foil pan or Dutch oven and pour it in.

 Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Cups are another excellent and easy to make food that can be done ahead of time. They’re healthy and work well for breakfast throughout the week. Other great meal ideas that you can prepare ahead of time include:

And don’t forget the snacks. Pack healthy high-protein snacks firm fruits and vegetables. Apples hard boiled eggs cheese sticks peppers celery energy bars carrots and trail mix tick all the right boxes. For something a little different you can make some healthy Coconut and Lime Energy Bites to take along.

While you want to keep your diet as close to what you eat at home as possible be realistic. Some foods just don’t work well within the cramped confines of a camp.