Family Camping Meals
Alright, you’ve made it to the finale in our camping with kids series. I hope you feel as accomplished as I do. For real, there is so much more family camping to cover, but since I literally could write an entire second blog on camping (and mama don’t got time fo dat); I will be giving you the meals and moving on. For now.
Who knows, I’m liable to get a wild hair and go off and running at the keyboard about family camping again. It happens to the best of us.
If you are looking for those free camping worksheet freebies – you can sign up to receive those here!
This post contains affiliate links. Any products purchased through these links provide a small commission to us at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting this blog!
Jumping right into meal planning, I will give you a basic idea of how I plan for meals.
Honestly, I love to try new things and bring along different menu options depending on the trip. However, also honestly, if we have just one or two camping trips for the whole summer I have developed a pretty basic (and thus easier for moi) meal regimen.
Hey, if I’m going to pack for 7 out of 8 of us, and pull most of the camping gear out of the garage before my husband gets home, I might as well make the food as easy as possible.
Our basic weekend camping excursion is a Friday night to Sunday afternoon affair.
This usually requires –
- Friday dinner
- Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Sunday breakfast and lunch.
Once I’ve mapped out how many/what meals to plan for I will go through and start filling them in.
Family Camping Breakfasts
The easiest family camping meals have food that doesn’t require heating or cooking.
Most of our breakfasts fall into this category – such as cereal and milk, or some sort of breakfast bar. I suppose one could even do overnight oatmeal and just pull it out of the cooler. Heck, my kids will eat peanut butter bread for breakfast. Or trail mix. Or really just about anything that isn’t what I explicitly offer them.
Here are my top breakfast ideas –
Milk and Cereal
You can just bring along your normal cereal, or if you prefer, buy the cute little individual cereal containers. For the price, I don’t find those to be worth it myself.
We do bring disposable bowls, but I am planning on investing in some reusable camp bowls sometime in the future.
Monkey bread, that deliciously gooey cinnamon bread treat, is one of our favorite morning foods to make when we are camping with a group. To make it, we throw it all into a Lodge Dutch Oven and let it cook for 45 minutes over hot coals.
Whenever we use the dutch oven, we are extremely careful to set a place aside that the kids are prohibited from going near. Typically, as close to the fire ring as possible (or even in the fire pit if it’s not still hot from the evening before).
A couple of years ago, our friends found a recipe for omelets in a bag, where you boil your omelet ingredients until the eggs are set. It was AMAZING. I loved the easy cleanup, I loved the taste, I just plain loved it.
If you are bringing along your Rome pie irons, which I cannot recommend enough, be sure to try some breakfast sandwiches! Anything you can put into an omelet can be put into a breakfast sandwich and toasted over the fire. These are always worth the wait.
When it comes to lunch, I am a complete bore.
There are unlimited things we could eat for lunch, but let’s face it, I don’t feel like being creative for our afternoon meal. After all, there’s a good chance we want to eat quick and head out hiking or bring along a picnic to the beach.
For this reason, I generally only plan two types of lunches.
Filling of your choice, bread of your choice, sides of fresh vegetables, fruit, trail mix. Whatever you and your kids will eat.
Cheese, Meat, and Crackers
Literally just crackers, summer sausage, brick cheese, and whatever fresh vegetables, fruit, or snacks you wish to have.
I love that I really don’t have to think too hard about it, they will all eat it, and they both make a great picnic lunch for an on-the-go type meal.
That’s it. That’s all my lunch knowledge for you.
Dinner is where all the fun is at. You’re tired from an exciting day out, or relaxed after a midafternoon siesta in your hammock. All you know is that it’s time to make the evening meal, and you can’t wait.
These are my favorite camping dinner meals.
Hotdogs and Brats
I would be remiss to leave out the classic roasting hotdogs and brats on the fire. This is almost always our go-to for Friday dinner if we have gotten to the campsite early enough (otherwise we end up eating before we leave when my husband gets out of work). I love my roasting sticks that safely point toward the handle instead of straight out. They are amazing. Don’t forget the buns, ketchup, and mustard and make it a roasting night to remember.
Pie Iron Sandwiches
We bring our pie irons with on nearly every camping trip. The combinations for sandwiches are virtually innumerable.
- Peanut butter and jelly for a melty gooey kid-friendly sandwich
- Our personal favorite – Reuben sandwiches – butter your iron, throw in bread, sauerkraut, corned beef, swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing. Toast over coals until brown and awesome.
- Pizzas – this is how we entered the world of pie irons. It’s a classic and it’s delicious. Butter your iron, throw in bread, pizza sauce, and whatever toppings you love on a pizza. Toast over coals until your inner pizza lover is drooling and your pizza pocket is toasty.
Tacos or Fajitas
These can be made over the fire, but it’s easier to cook up your meat over your propane stove.
A working propane stove is a must when camping. If your weather doesn’t hold out, you are going to want an alternative to cooking over the fire. We also use our stove to heat up water for doing dishes, washing up the kids at the campsite, and making hot cocoa.
The year we made shish kebabs on a tripod grate over the fire with our group of friends was incredible. It was this grilled, healthy, delicious meal and completely worth the preparation and wait.
The only suggestion I would make, and this actually applies to all the food, is cut up and bag everything before you leave home. The more prepped everything is, the easier it is to throw it together when everyone is starving because they haven’t eaten in 3 hours. Kids don’t get anymore patient just because you are in the woods.
Foil wrapped meals that get thrown on hot coals. We like to make them with burger, carrots, onions, and spices to keep it simple, but you can add literally anything you might want in a skillet type meal.
- Watercooler – bring a big 5-gallon water cooler for access to water that will last nearly all weekend. Pro-tip, fill this the day you leave with water and ice and have cool, clean water for while you set up your tent and before you’ve hauled water from the nearest water station.
- Other beverages – For us, this means milk, beer (for hubby), juice boxes, and occasionally bottled water.
We have two desserts that are pretty standard fare
- S’mores – we have started making some more creative s’mores with peanut butter cups, and chocolate stripe cookies, but I’m perfectly blissfully happy with the standard issue graham cracker, chocolate bar, and marshmallow variety.
- Dutch oven cobbler dump cake – just three ingredients – two cans of pie filling, a box of cake mix, and a stick of butter cut up over the top. I recommend lining your dutch oven with parchment paper, as this is pretty sticky and can be a little difficult to clean-up.
Well, there you have it. I do have a couple of last things to bring and thoughts on meal time.
- Most invaluable mealtime tool for kids – foldable chairs that attach to the picnic table for the kids. Those picnic tables aren’t built for little kids, and we’ve had more than one child fall off the picnic table benches.
- Vinyl coated tablecloths and metal clips, easily cleaned, not bothered by any wet weather.
- A good set of camping cookware and indestructible dining ware.
- Extra propane for your stove
My general feeling is that you shouldn’t feel like camping food costs any more than you would normally spend during the week. It might feel ‘special’ but it doesn’t have to take a giant chunk out of your wallet. Eat what you normally eat!
Don’t forget to sign up for your free camping packing list and meal planning worksheets here!