Real Food While Camping

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Camping Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Whole-Wheat Banana Nut Muffin, Bacon, and Fruit

If “camping” is on your Labor Day agenda and you’d like to do it without straying too far from real food then you are in luck. Car camping is a lot of work (blow up beds, fluffy mattress covers and all!), but at the same time it’s SO much fun. We go once or twice a year ourselves and I just love spending time outside with family and friends and best of all being truly unplugged. It’s also hard to beat the excitement of the kids when taking them on such an adventure! We just went camping with two other families a couple of weekends ago (we scored a great campsite right on the lake) and before we left I made a list and took photos of all the food we brought, which is detailed below.

Before I get started with my list though I’d like to introduce one of our newest sponsors, Wise Choice Market. If you love the idea of organic raw cultured vegetables and juices, but don’t have the time (or patience!) to make them yourself then you should definitely check out their site. Wise Choice recently gave away $59 worth of their products to one of our readers…congrats to Nicole Chaput!

Okay, so back to camping. I divided up the food into three pictures: pantry goods, perishable items, and non-real food. Yes, even the “100 Days of Real Food” family would never go camping without bringing along some marshmallows to roast! Plus sugary treats are definitely okay on occasion and I think camping is the perfect time to indulge in our weekly treat. :)

Pantry Goods for Camping Trip

The pantry goods we brought camping (from left to right):

  • Homemade whole-wheat banana nut muffins
  • Ak-mak crackers
  • Multi-seed crackers (original)
  • Peanuts
  • Organic milk boxes (we thought this would be easier than dealing with one of our glass milk jugs in the cooler…I agree it’s weird these things fall under the “non-perishable” category!)
  • Balsamic vinegar (for Caprese Salad in the next pic)
  • Apples
  • Trader Joe’s whole wheat hot dog buns (these have more ingredients than I’d like, but they are an occasional food for us)
  • Lara bars (just in case)
  • Homemade granola
  • Sandwich bread (just a few slices) and small hamburger buns both from Great Harvest Bakery
  • Raisins

Perishable Food for Camping Trip

The perishable food we brought camping:

  • Prepared vegetable kabobs
  • Prepared burgers (in foil)
  • Trader Joe’s organic hummus
  • Homemade pimento cheese (yum)
  • Eggs (next time I’ll bring these in a styrofoam container so it will hold up better in the cooler)
  • Raw spinach leaves
  • Diced fruit (mango, peaches and grapes)
  • Pre-made caprese pasta salad
  • Plain yogurt (I mixed it with a little maple syrup and vanilla extract)
  • Applegate organic bacon (we also sometimes buy local bacon as well)
  • Sliced cantaloupe
  • Butter
  • Blueberries
  • Trader Joe’s havarti sliced cheese (have I mentioned how much we LOVE this cheese?)
  • Applegate organic hot dogs

Non-Real Junk Food for Camping Trip

The “non-real” junk food we brought camping:

  • Cheese puffs (Oh yeah, yummy cheese puffs. This was my second time buying these since cutting out processed food, and I confirmed they are still awesome. This was my special treat for myself. :) )
  • Dark chocolate
  • Whole-wheat graham crackers
  • Marshmallows (without artificial flavoring or high-fructose corn syrup)

Okay, so now the question is…what meals did we make with all of this food? Here’s a run down:

  • Friday night – Our family grilled vegetable kabobs and the other family brought a yummy quinoa/black bean side (if you try the recipe she recommends adding the cilantro at the end).
  • Saturday morning – Egg breakfast pictured above.
  • Saturday lunchCaprese whole-wheat pasta salad (my kids prefer theirs without the balsamic vinegar), pimento cheese on whole-grain crackers and fruit. Oh and this is when we dug into the cheese puffs.
  • Saturday dinner – Our family grilled burgers for the adults and hot dogs for the kids, another family wrapped potatoes and squash in foil and cooked them in the campfire (it was delicious!), and the other family brought condiments and a yummy avocado/tomato salad. Then of course we had s’mores after dinner.
  • Sunday morningGranola, yogurt, and berries.
  • Sunday lunch – This ended up being at home because the last day got rained out, but we had hummus/cheese/spinach sandwiches with fruit.
Please share your real food ideas for camping in the comments below!


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95 comments to Real Food While Camping

  • Karen

    I try not to cook in tin foil but salmon while camping is awesome. Take some wild caught salmon and put it in double or triple wrapped tin foil at home. Put 2 dabs of butter (optional) on top, salt and pepper and a little fresh dill. The first night we cook the salmon on the grill. It doesn’t take long. Have this with a healthy pasta salad and your campers will love you.

  • Rachel

    We just went camping this past weekend! We have a camp stove and a large pot, so we did ziplock bag omelets for breakfast both mornings. This may be questionable for your site because of the possible bpa contamination, but they sure are good,quick, and easy! We added fresh chopped bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and cheese to ours.

    In case no one above mentioned it, you can get a reusable egg crate in the camping section at most stores. Ours was only a couple dollars, and it kept the eggs safe in our cooler.

    We did the typical burger/hotdog fare for dinner the first night, but our second night we had “baked” potatoes. We wrapped them in foil with a little butter and salt and threw them on the campfire for a little under an hour. They were perfect. We used leftover peppers and onions and cheese that we had brought along for our omelets. The potatoes were a hit, even with the carnivores!

    • Ruth

      Just a note – When I was looking for economical freezer storage options for breast milk, I called and talked to Ziplock – their bags do not contain BPA in the formulation and never have. Not sure about Glad or any other brand, but if I use plastic bags for food storage, I make sure to use Ziplock!

  • Mel

    What is “non-real” about dark chocolate? I’ve always read that dark chocolate (70% and higher) is full of antioxidants and important to incorporate in anyone’s day.

  • If you’re going to use the eggs for scrambled eggs/omelets only, don’t even bother with an egg carton! Break them into a seal-able container (I like the tall kind with a screw on lid) and pop it in your cooler… Then there are no worries about your eggs cracking or breaking during your trip. Added bonus is that if you separate the eggs based on how many you need for each meal, you can just pour in a little milk, close the container, and give it a good shake – then just pour your beaten eggs right in your skillet.

  • Bridget

    Wanna really amazing the kids. Google homemade cardboard oven for camping. Great scout trick. You can make an oven using a cardboard box and bake those banana muffin fresh.

  • Paul

    No don’t use a strofoam egg carton please!!! It will out live all of us combined!!! I recommend the egg holders that you can buy at any store that sells camping supplys. Yes they are plastic, but you can use them over and over, I have used one for years and have never replaced it. It keeps eggs from breaking and takes up far less space. Additionaly you can even stand it up on end. Also I have found that protein shake mixing cups are perfect for beating eggs! Works like a charm! Now I am trying to figure out why your saying organic dark chocolate is junk food. Nope don’t make a meal of it but 2 squares are a perfectly healthy desert! Have fun!!

  • Wendy

    We live to camp. Everytime we go we take what we call campfire meals…cut potatoes & carrots sprinkled with our favorite seasoning and add in broken up sausage. You need to butter the foil so it doesn’t stick. Roll up in foil and cook over the campfire…delicious! We just made homemade marshmallows as well so we will see how well they roast. Super easy to make and waaaay cheaper than the store bought no artificial ingredients ones. Happy camping 😊

  • So glad to see this! This summer we’re going on the first week-long camping trip we’ve had in almost 12 years. When we camp I pre-mixed the dry ingredients for pancakes, muffins and bread with our home-ground whole-grain flours, which is a nice time saver and keeps me in control of the ingredients. We bring our own eggs and made the same mistake as you, not using foam cartons. But the comment above is true about bringing unwashed, never-refrigerated eggs. The only possible issue is if it’s super hot, if the eggs have been fertilized, they “could” start to develop blood vessels just from the heat of the air. But if there’s no rooster by those hens, you don’t have to worry about that.

    We also brought our own goat milk on that trip, in glass, which I agree is a pain to deal with. I’ll have to consider the milk you used, though changing from goat to cow and back again sometimes causes minor tummy issues that I don’t know we want on vacation.

    Thanks for sharing your menu and shopping list!

  • We always bring nut butter of one kind or another. It goes well with bread, celery sticks, apples, and so on. I also agree with the plastic egg containers. They work. And chocolate? Can’t it be real? We love the ultra dark kind. And a dutch oven for cooking.

  • Cheryl Zandbergen

    Gotta say that I’m pretty disappointed to see Green & Blacks in there as it is a Kraft food product. There are many non-Kraft, organic dark chocolates out there that are just as yummy! Otherwise, thanks for the ideas :)

    • Meredith

      Look at the original date on the camping post — August 2012. Her Green & Black’s purchase came LONG before the Kraft petition.

  • Martha

    To bring eggs camping just crack them all into a plastic jug-type thing to put into the ice chest. I love to do vegetarian breakfast tacos while camping and scramble the eggs, anyway.

  • Sandra Beil

    We like the Trader Joe’s Indian Fare because they are ready to boil on a camp stove.

  • Dana

    My husband and I also love camping! This year we’ve decided to go every time he has a two day weekend (about every other week). One of my favorite things to do is prep food for the trip and storing it in Food Saver bags. One thing that we’ve learned in the past is to put the eggs in a zip top bag, instead of styrofoam, and keep it at the top of the cooler so it doesn’t get squished. I also put the cheese in this bag too depending on the amount we are bringing.

  • Johanna Moon

    Normally the week before I made a big pot of chili. I freeze some of the leftovers in a ziploc bag (flat) and it helps with the perishables in the cooler. Also you can get plastic egg cartons for camping:

  • Shilpa

    Could you share your recipe for vegetable kabobs please?

  • Casie

    What brand are the marshmallows? Can’t tell from the picture.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Casie. Not sure of the brand but I’ve seen several varieties at both Earth Fare and Whole Foods and I’ve ordered vegan versions online. :) ~Amy

  • Amanda

    Can you please tell us about the “plate” pictured, the actual plate?

    • Hi Amanda – How funny…I bought that plate my sophomore year in college (about 18 years ago) in preparation for a camping trip. I had virtually no money so it was part of the cheapest plate/cup/pot kit I could find. The pots are terrible but we still use all that stuff when we car camp! – Jason

  • sarah

    2 words. Pie iron! Think fresh hot calzones made with whole wheat pitas, bubbly, cheesy egg sandwiches, spicy honey sweetened pies, endless opportunities for fun whole foods made to order.

  • shannon mowry

    we bring our eggs prescrambled in a pitcher from the dollar store. It has a pour spout for easy pouring and is spillproof. MUCH easier than using an egg container.

  • Michelle

    We are heading out for a long weekend of camping with our 3 and 6 year old boys and another couple with kids the same age. Tonight we’ll have turkey and vegetable chili that i made last night with from scratch chili-cheese corn muffins. Banana boats for dessert tonight (slice a banana in half in the peel – add marshmallows/dark chocolate chips and peanuts – wrap in foil and heat over fire). Breakfast tomorrow will be pancakes and lunch will be PB&J wraps. Dinner tomorrow night is chicken sausage packets with the last of our CSA veggies (squash, zucchini, red onions) and potatoes. Dessert will be baked apples with cinnamon sugar. Eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast on Sunday followed by pasta caprese salad for lunch. Dinner for the last night will be veggie burgers/brats and some olive oil bread. And smores. Not entirely clean eating but nothing was from a box/mix and its a lot of fruits and veggies. Now if only the rains stays away.

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  • Alexandra

    Great post! Thx- we love to camp, too, so I’m often searching for camp food ideas (which is how I found your site, btw!). I find myself amazed with the c-rrr-a-p people make during trips! Thanks for providing some wonderful, simple & healthful options, and spreading the word. :) yay!

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