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We’re big camping fans in our family. While camping has some impressive health benefits, it’s also a lot of fun and a great bonding experience. Planning healthy camping food for our camping and backpacking trips is one of the necessities of any camping trip. Here are some easy camping meals for your next trip.
Healthy Camping Meals for the Whole Family
Summer adventures are a favorite highlight for our family. All year long, we plan road trips, visits to family and friends’, cultural experience trips, and, one of our favorites, camping. Camping takes a lot of planning, especially when you’re with kids. Even more so when camping with a baby or really little ones (not so easy!).
While planning out healthy food while traveling is second nature for me, planning for healthy camping foods is more of a learning curve. Fortunately, many of our family’s favorites can be prepared ahead of time to make food prep out in the wild much simpler.
Supplies for Camping Recipes
Our family doesn’t do “glamping”, aka a comfy RV with all the amenities. You’re much more likely to find us miles into the woods, each carrying our own backpack with all the supplies. Even if you’re not that kind of camper, there are a few cooking necessities you’ll need for your next camping trip.
For shorter camping trips or backpacking adventures on foot you might not want to lug a cooler and ice around. Since there’s no refrigeration in the wild though, it can be helpful sometimes for storing cold drinks, meats, and other refrigerated items.
Cast Iron Skillet and Oven
A cast iron dutch oven for camping is similar to the one in my kitchen but without the enamel coating. Almost anything you can bake in the oven or cook on a stovetop at home can be made in one of these dutch ovens.
Of course, you’ll find a cast iron skillet in my kitchen, but it does double duty on the campsite. These are great for camping breakfast foods like cheesy scrambled eggs with bell pepper and cilantro. Then pull it out for dinner and make some black bean and beef burritos with corn tortillas.
Cast Iron Cookers
These handy two-sided cookers are often used for sandwiches and french toast, but you can also cook healthy s’mores in them or veggies like zucchini and sweet potatoes. They’re not totally necessary, but can be nice to have on hand sometimes.
This goes over the top of a campfire so you can set a pot or pan on it. You can also cook healthy recipes, like meat and veggies directly on the grate like you would any other grill. This granite grill has a lifetime warranty.
Stainless Steel Pot
This is a lighter-weight option for camp foods and is good when you’re making something that doesn’t work as well in cast iron. You can use them for soup or to hardboil eggs. These stainless steel pots are nickel free.
These are a really popular option because you can wrap something in foil and set it in the coals or ashes to cook. While I don’t recommend aluminum foil (since it leaches metal into foods), there are a few options here. Sometimes I’ll wrap food in parchment paper first, then wrap that in aluminum. While it does make for easy clean up, almost anything that you can put in foil will also work in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven (my preference).
Another item that’s not really a necessity, but some people like them. While I prefer cooking over an open campfire, sometimes a camping stove can be helpful. If you won’t have access to firewood or are camping in an area with a burn ban (due to unsafe conditions), then a camp stove is your best option. Keep in mind that you’ll need to haul enough propane tanks with you to cook with if using a camp stove.
As much as some of us like eating with our fingers, utensils are a nice commodity to have on hand. We use these for serving, stirring, and eating the food. Here are some options:
- Wooden or large metal spoons
- Metal ladle
- Spoons, forks, and knives (I like these 3 in 1 utensils)
- Metal skewers for kebabs
Healthy Camping Foods
Our family has been known to cook a rabbit we caught on the trail or steam some fish from the nearby lake. Although we do a lot of survival type camping meals, prepping food ahead of time is also helpful. So we can have a side dish of quinoa with chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil with our fresh caught fish.
Here are some ideas for a food packing list on a family camping trip!
- Guacamole with veggies
- Nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts)
- Grass-fed beef sticks (our favorite!)
- Veggies like carrots, broccoli, and sugar snap peas
- Fruit like apples, bananas, and oranges (my kids love apples roasted over the campfire!)
- Lemon poppy seed muffins
- Banana bread muffins
- Coconut flour apple cinnamon muffins
- Pumpkin bread and muffins
- Homemade trail mix with dried fruit and nuts
- Homemade fruit leather
- Homemade Nutella
- Chia seed energy balls
- Energy bars
- Hummus with veggies
- Coconut granola
- Popcorn made in a pot on the campfire
- Peanut butter with bananas and apple slices
Meal Ideas with Healthy Camping Foods
Some of these recipes work best if there’s a little prep work before hand. I don’t really want to tote a whole pantry full of baking ingredients with me to a campsite. However, it’s easy enough to whip up a batch of cookies, muffins, or granola bars before we leave on a trip. And recipes that call for a baking sheet work just as well in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven.
- Crispy bacon or sausage patties and scrambled eggs over the fire. Add in a little pesto, grass-fed cheese, or red onions for an even better version!
- Coconut flour biscuits with sausage patties
- Breakfast burritos with scrambled egg, sausage, and veggies wrapped in a tortilla.
- Oatmeal with raisins
- Breakfast cookies with healthy chocolate chips
- Lemon poppyseed muffins
- Pancakes and maple syrup
- Vegetable frittata
- Sausage and sweet potato hash
- Breakfast sausage
- Grain-free breakfast pizza made in a skillet
Most of these recipes are written for a stove top or oven, but they can easily be converted to campfire food. Simply use your pot, cast iron skillet, or grill grate as needed.
- Gluten free pasta and tomato sauce
- Steak and red potatoes
- Honey garlic sausage with veggies
- Taco bar
- Seasoned chicken and veggies over the fire
- Lettuce turkey wraps with meat and sliced cheese
- Roasted cabbage slices
- Roasted Brussel sprouts
- Pesto chicken salad (keep in cooler or eat right away)
- Sausage stuffed apples (easiest to make ahead of time and cook on site)
- Chicken apple stir fry
- Philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers
- Roasted corn on the cob
- Grass-fed, nitrate free hot dogs or sausage
- Grilled chicken
- Browned ground beef for tacos and stir fry
- Cut veggies, potatoes, and cubed meat
While I’m not a huge sweets fan, sometimes it’s nice to end the day with a little (healthy!) treat.
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Healthy marshmallows to roast over the fire
- Chewy chocolate cookies
- Gingerbread cookies
- Gluten free carrot cake (skip the frosting and use a cupcake pan for single serve)
There are so many delicious, healthy camping food ideas out there, that it’s hard to narrow it down for a camping trip! Hopefully, this list gives you some new meals to try on your next adventure.
What are your go-to camping foods? Anything else you would add to this list?