Camping Eats

What to eat while you are out and about in the great outdoors…

I don’t know about you guys, but most of my free time and weekends right now are spent in the great outdoors.  This also means away from my home kitchen, which may seem a little bit daunting to those of us who are trying to eat well and maintain some structure in our habits.  But, enjoying the great outdoors, whether your camping, hiking, biking, rafting or even glamping for that matter, doesn’t mean that you have to throw all structure to the wind.  It is actually way easier than you may think to eat well while away from home. 

Below I have compiled some of my favorite recipes/ideas for fueling up while enjoying the great outdoors.  Now, keep in mind, this does require some planning. Waiting until Friday afternoon, when you are about to take off for the weekend won’t quite cut it.  Do yourself a favor, think ahead and have a plan.  You won’t get to the end of summer and wonder why you’re feeling a little fluffier than normal. 

If you are out camping…

Dinner Ideas:

Taco Bowls
  • Your choice of protein with coleslaw and sweet potato salad
    • Okay, so I really like Teton Waters Ranch sausages- they pack some amazing flavors, are pre-cooked, and easy to pack while camping. But you could grill some chicken breasts or pre-make some burgers here for your protein…anything will work for this.
    • For the coleslaw- it’s easy to make and pack, and I feel like I’m getting some greens in here, because sometimes camping, I fail at that. I linked a super simple vinegar based recipe here (mainly because I didn’t want mayo, since the potato salad is mayo based). Feel free to find something a little fancier, if it suits you…I’m just usually packing and cooking in a hurry for the weekend.
    • The sweet potato salad I linked in is DELICIOUS! Just make sure you find a good mayo or make your own!
  • Bowls
    • Get creative here. I usually tend towards a Mexican style bowl, but Greek bowls are delicious too! Here is what I put in mine:
      • protein- ground beef or turkey, shredded chicken or pork…whatever you want really. I like ground beef and I use this homemade spice recipe (to avoid the packets with unwanted additives)
      • pico de gallo (this will take you to my loaded sweet potato recipe, that has guacamole and pico de gallo recipes in it)
      • guacamole
      • fresh corn
      • black beans
      • lettuce
      • brown rice
      • sautéed peppers and onions
    • All of these items are easy to prepare and pack for a weekend of camping. If you don’t have room for all of the individual items- premake your bowls at home!
  • Skillet hash
    • This one is for if you want to do some cooking while camping. Sometimes we find that we have more free time in the evenings when we camp, so planning a meal can be nice.
    • Ingredients:
      • 2 TBS of oil of choice (avocado, olive, coconut)
      • 4 sweet potatoes- white or orange (roughly 2#)
      • 1 yellow onion- diced
      • 2 cloves of garlic- smashed
      • 1 can of corn- drained (watch that ingredient label, make sure you are actually getting just corn!)
      • 2 green peppers- cut in to 1 inch pieces
      • Some sort of sausage or hot dog like this.
        • In a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven, heat the oil over the campfire (medium heat) and cook the onion and peppers until slightly softened. Add the garlic until fragrant. Add in sweet potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes or until soft. Add in your meat and cook for 10-15 minutes. Lastly, add the corn until it’s warm. Serve it up!
      • All of the ingredients can be easily prepared and packed so that no prep is needed while camping, other than the actual cooking part.

Breakfast ideas:

  • Sausage/egg scramble
    • I love to cook up some sausage in a pan and then add eggs in a scramble. Super easy while camping and you can easily add peppers/onions if you are so inspired.
  • Fresh fruit
    • It’s an easy way to add some carbs with breakfast and some healthy fibers as well!
  • Birch Benders pancakes
    • If the rest is too simple, add in some pancakes. Birch Benders makes a “paleo” pancake that has relatively few ingredients, and all you have to do is add water. Easy to pack, easy to make and easy to clean up.

Lunch Ideas:

  • Lettuce wraps
    • Find some high quality lunch meat- this is hard people! Consider making your own rotisserie chicken and cutting it up for meat.
    • Romaine lettuce works well for the “wrap”
    • Sliced tomatoes
    • Avocados
    • Cucumbers
    • Mustard
    • Get creative and add your own toppings. Point being, these are pretty easy to travel with, fit easily into your cooler and no prep/clean up really!
  • Veggies and hummus
    • I’m much more of a snacker for lunch- especially when we are out and about, so consider some cut up vegetables and hummus for a nice combo of protein, carbs and fat.

Snack ideas:

  • Homemade trailmix
    • This one is a little bit of a treat. While I generally stay away from processed foods, gluten free pretzels are one of my favorites (the Glutino ones especially). Rice chex you have to pay attention to the labels, but they do make ones that have very limited ingredients now.
  • RX Bars
    • These are great to take on a hike, bike, raft, whatever really. Easy to pack and pretty calorie dense.
  • Dried fruits
    • Watch for added sugars and oils in these. I have the best luck in the bulk section of a natural food store.
  • Homemade popcorn
    • Stovetop popcorn is not that hard. I skip the butter in that recipe, but I do sprinkle nutritional yeast over the finished product- it adds a cheesy flavor!
  • Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies
    • I always pack emergency treats- you know, when your hanging out and everybody busts out their cookies, etc…I have to have my own go to. These are easy to make, easy to pack- although they do fall apart a little bit, doesn’t make them taste bad, but fair warning. Also, I only put a fraction of the honey the recipe calls for in (maybe why mine fall apart).

If your out backpacking or going the non-cooler route:

  • Pouches of tuna
  • Rx Bars
  • Nut butters
    • Watch the oils and added ingredients in these. But for backpackers they make lightweight, small pouches that are so easy! I am addicted to Rx Bars nut butters!
  • Rice cakes
    • Again, you have to read labels, but it is relatively easy to find some decent options here.
  • Jerky
    • This one is a little bit harder to find ideal ingredients. They add a lot of stuff to jerky to preserve it. It is possible though you just have to be diligent about reading labels. Alternatively, you can learn to make your own!

That gives you all a good idea of what I’m packing along on the weekends! I know I missed some good stuff in here, this list could go on and on! Feel free to share some of your favorite things to pack.

Get out there and enjoy summertime- and remember, it isn’t an excuse to not fuel your body properly!

Have fun!


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