Although summer is near its end, there are a few more weekends still left to fit in a family camping trip. Meal choices and preparation can prove to be a challenge while camping, especially with children in tow. A little planning beforehand will help to ensure that you and your family can enjoy satisfying meals without a lot of hassle.
Questions to ask yourself prior to the trip:
How many days will I need food? Will I be doing a lot of extra exercise, and so, do I need to account for snacks as well?
What amenities, if any, will I have access too? Refrigeration? Ice machine at the campsite? Electricity? Safe drinking water?
How much room do I have for storage? Will I be hiking/backpacking by day and setting up camp each night?
How will I be cooking? Campfire?
What cooking supplies and utensils will I need? Skillet? Sauce pan? Mixing bowl?
If you are “roughing it” you will not have access to refrigeration, so non-perishable items will need to be packed. Furthermore, without the modern convenieces of home ovens and microwaves, you will need to choose meals that can be easily cooked over an open fire or on a portable stove. If you will be backpacking, you want to keep supplies, and, their extra weight, to a minimum; therefore, choosing freeze-dried foods that can be reconstituted with water would be ideal.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Department offers this advice for easy meals while camping:
Recommended food items –
Canned meat and fish (choose lean and low-sodium varities; and don’t forget to bring a can opener if the cans don’t have pull tabs!).
Dried noodles, rice, soups, sauces, and other dehydrated or freeze-dried foods (choose healthier versions).
Nuts and seeds.
Nut and seed butters packed in small plastic jars.
Dried meats, such as jerky (watch sodium and fat content).
Powdered milk and drink mixes, such as Tang
Other food items that make for quick and easy meals and snacks while camping include –
Meal replacement bars, granola bars, and energy bars.
Instant hot cereals such as oatmeal and grits.
Instant mashed potatoes.
“Just add water” baking mixes (e.g., pancake, muffin, and biscuit).
Canned beans, fruit, and vegetables.
Camping trips offer many wonderful benefits that can promote health and wellbeing that range from strengthened family bonds to increased physical activity. To make the most out of your experience, prepare ahead of time by making a list of the food items and cooking supplies you will need during your trip. Visit your local outdoor sports and camping supply stores to get advice and the supplies you need.
What is your favorite camping experience? Share with us, we want to know!