One of the best parts of camping is getting together to eat around the campfire. The smell of the food and smoke wafting through the air. The thrill of cooking over an open flame. It is a different experience. While out in the wild, we often think of convenient foods to cook and easy to prepare, like hot dogs and cans of beans.
It can be hard to develop healthy options for the family while a few miles away from the nearest modern kitchen. Here we are going to provide nutritious meals you can cook while camping.
Healthy camping meals, we will be covering:
• Healthy and hearty breakfast options
• Light lunch options
• Healthy Dinners to make while camping
Healthy and hearty breakfasts
Breakfasts are important. Especially when you are camping and are burning a lot of calories, it would be best if you were fueled to start your day. Here is a great time to load up on proteins to help your body recover from any activities you did the day before. Here are some options for you. Some will require you to make it ahead of time, but that means you can sleep in a little more while camping.
Breakfast in a Jar
• 2 Tbsp old fashioned oats
• 1 Tbsp chia seeds
• 1/2 banana, mashed
• 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
• 2 tsp natural peanut butter (or any nut butter, or even coconut spread)
• 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
• 20 drops of Stevia
In a mason jar, combine all ingredients. Add additional milk if it seems too thick. Close jar tightly, shake vigorously and place in the fridge to set overnight. These jars keep great as long as they are cold and can be altered to accommodate any picky eaters. These breakfast jars are great for first-morning camping, so you can start the day off easy after spending the previous day traveling.
Cast Iron Omelet
Eggs. The number will vary depending on hunger and the number of campers.
Meats. Bacon is a popular choice as well as ham or sausage. It is better to use leaner meats like turkey.
Vegetables. Spinach, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions or shallots.
Cheese. Dealer's choice.
• Cut up your meats so they mix in better with the omelet.
• Chop up your vegetables like onions and slice the tomatoes.
• Place your cast iron over the heat and add the meats to start cooking as they will take longer. Also, add any vegetables that will take longer such as onions and mushrooms.
• While the meat cooks, prepare your eggs. Mix whatever eggs you will be cooking that morning and add salt and pepper to taste.
• Once the meat and harder vegetables are done, drain any excess liquid from the pan and spread the contents evenly across the pan.
• Pour the eggs over the meats and vegetables. Add the cheese, tomatoes, and spinach.
• Let the omelet cook for a little longer, so the cheese melts, and it all mixes well. Then serve it up straight from the pan.
Chickpea Breakfast Hash with Veggies
• 1 tablespoon oil
• 1 summer squash or zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch half moons
• 1 small red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch half moons
• 3 mini sweet peppers, cut into 1/4-inch slices, or 1 bell pepper
• 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon coriander
• 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
• 2 eggs
• Heat the oil in a skillet over your campfire or camp stove on medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the onions, peppers, and zucchini and saute until beginning to soften about 5 minutes. Add the drained chickpeas and spices and cook until the veggies and chickpeas are cooked through and browned in spots, about 10 minutes.
• Move the veggies and chickpeas to the sides of the skillet to create a well in the middle of the pan. Add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan if it is looking dry. Crack two eggs into the well and cook to your liking. Add more eggs if you like
• Pull the skillet off the heat and serve.
Lunch options that are great for camping.
Lunches are often the meal that gets skipped when camping or gets dialed down. When people are out having fun on the trails or distracted by other activities, they forget to eat, especially if you did a great job at breakfast and they ate enough.
But lunch is a good time to refuel and keep people hydrated and well-fed until dinner. People sometimes forget how much energy they are burning through and forget that their bodies need fuel. Here are some excellent clean lunch options to make while camping.
Grilled Chicken and Veggies Skewers
• ¼ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup chopped basil
• ¼ cup chopped parsley
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 lemon, juiced
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ½ lb. chicken (boneless, skinless thighs work best), cut into 1-inch pieces
• 8 oz whole mushrooms, stems removed
• 8 oz cherry tomatoes
• 2-3 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
(The vegetables can be switched out for other things depending on what is available for that season and personal preference.)
• Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl or ziplock bag. Add the chicken pieces and thoroughly coat. Cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap or seal the bag and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to two hours
• Have the grill or campfire ready. You'll be cooking the kebabs over medium-high to high heat.
• Build the kabobs by threading the chicken and vegetables onto your skewers.
• Grill the kabobs over medium-high to high heat, occasionally turning so they cook evenly until the chicken is cooked through - about 10 minutes total. Then get ready to eat.
Easy Campfire Nachos
• 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
• ½ lb tortilla chips
• 1 (7.75 oz) can El Pato hot tomato sauce or equivalent
• 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
• 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained
• 1 large avocado, cubed
• 4-5 green onions, sliced
• a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
• 1 small lime, cut into wedges
• Lightly oil the bottom of a large cast-iron skillet to prevent the nachos from sticking.
• For the first layer, evenly spread ⅓ of the chips into the dutch oven, topped with ¼ can El Pato, ¼ can black beans, ¼ cup cheese, and a handful of avocado, green onions, and cilantro. Repeat for the second layer.
• For the third and final layer, use the remaining ⅓ portion of chips, ½ can El Pato, ½ can black beans, ½ cup cheese, and the remaining avocado, onion, and cilantro.
• Cover the skillet and place it on a metal grill over your campfire for about 10 minutes until the cheese has melted. Serve with lime wedges.
Prosciutto And Asparagus Bundles
• 1 bunch asparagus, thin stalks if possible
• 8 slices prosciutto
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Sea salt
• 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
• 1 small lemon
• Create the asparagus bundles by wrapping a slice of prosciutto around 3-4 spears of asparagus, then brushing with olive oil and sprinkling with salt.
• Place the asparagus on the grill and cook, 4 minutes on each side. Remove from grill, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and a squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately.
Healthy Dinner Options.
It is the end of the day. Everyone is tired and ready for one last good meal before hitting the hay. Here is a chance to wow with something that tastes great and is healthy. Dinner has to hold them over until morning, so make sure it counts. Dinner is where most memories are made.
Grilled Salmon with Sweet Peppers.
• 1 ¼ pounds skin-on salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
• 1 pound sweet mini bell peppers
• 2 medium red onions, quartered
• Preheat a gas grill to high, build a fire in a charcoal grill or build a campfire and let it burn down to high heat (about 500 degrees F).
• Brush or drizzle salmon with oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle peppers and onions with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
• Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Place the salmon, skin-side up, on the grill, along with the peppers and onions. Grill the salmon until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a metal spatula, gently nudge one of the pieces: it should release from the grill without much force, but if it feels stuck, continue cooking for another minute. When the salmon releases easily, flip and continue cooking until browned and the flesh is opaque, about 3 minutes more. Cook the peppers and onions, frequently turning, until tender and well browned 8 to 10 minutes total.
• Serve the salmon with the vegetables.
Grilled Vegetables in Foil
• 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and diagonally cut into 2-inch pieces
• 1-pound sweet mini peppers stemmed, seeded, and halved lengthwise
• 2 medium zucchinis, diagonally cut into 1/2-inch half-moons
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• ¾ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
• Preheat a gas grill to medium-high (400-450 degrees F). (Or, for a charcoal grill, build a fire with coals in the bottom center of the grill and let it burn down to medium-high heat, about 400-450 degrees F.)
• Toss asparagus, mini peppers, zucchini, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until evenly coated. Divide the mixture evenly among 6 sheets of foil. Working with 1 foil sheet at a time, bring up 2 sides of the foil to meet in the center. Create a tight 1/2-inch fold to seal. Fold over 1 more time, making sure to leave space in the packet between the vegetables and the foil. Fold the other sides of the foil in, creating a sealed foil rectangle.
• Place the foil packets, sealed-side up, on the grill rack; grill, covered, for 4 minutes. Flip the packets; grill until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes more. Remove from the grill.
• Stir butter, parsley, and chives together in a small bowl. Carefully open the foil packets. Place 1 teaspoon butter mixture in each packet; reseal the packets and let stand until the butter melts, about 1 minute.
Sausage, Pepper and Potato Packets
• 3 medium Yukon Gold or red potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1/4 inch slices
• 3 cups 1-inch bell pepper pieces
• 4 links cooked chicken sausage (12 ounces), cut into 1/2 inch slices
• 2 cups sliced onions
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon ground pepper
• Combine potatoes, peppers, sausage, onions, oil, paprika, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
• Cut 8 pieces of heavy-duty foil, about 12 by 17 inches each—coat one piece with cooking spray. Place about 2 cups of the potato mixture in the center of the coated foil and enclose it like a package. Place seam-side down on the second piece of foil and contain again, so the potato mixture is wrapped in a double-thick packet. Repeat with the remaining foil and potato mixture, making 4 total packets.
• Prepare a campfire and let it burn down to the coals. Cook the packets 4 to 6 inches above the coals, turning once or twice, until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
Trying different things while camping is half the fun!
With these recipes, you can have a satisfied, happy and healthy family while camping. There are many options out there, so if you did not find something to your liking, feel free to experiment. Trying different things while camping is half the fun.
Please remember just because you don't have a full kitchen at your disposal does not mean you have to get lazy or dull while cooking. Plan and pack what you need to feed everyone. Don't waste a camping trip with hangry people and make the most of the time together.