Real Food While Camping

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

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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.

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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122 thoughts on “Real Food While Camping”

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  1. Thank you for the ideas! We are planning a camping trip this month and I have been nervous about what to pack! This makes it sound SO easy! It’s also during my birthday, so thanks for saying it is okay to indulge a bit. Haha.

  2. im curious how most of the ideas in the comments section are considered real food. Every meal consists of some kind of bread, pasta yogurt, oatmeal or rice which is not compliant in any of the whole food diets i have tried. I am looking for recipes that can use while camping that use only real whole foods. I was taught that this meant, if it wasn’t picked out of the ground or raised on a farm it is not considered real or whole foods.

  3. Just a small correction: eggs, butter, and yogurt are all non-parishable items surprisingly. Others if you hadn’t opened the package yet or sliced into it but would save you room if left outside the cooler until it’s time to use would be the hotdogs, the tomatos for the caprese, and if you bought packaged organic diced fruit

  4. I need ideas for backpacking, not the same as camping. Need healthy food that’s lightweight, compact and sustaining.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      Check out outdoor herbivore for freeze dried meals. I’m not affiliated with them at all, just another backpacking mama who wants real food when I hit the trails!

  5. We have a reusable egg container for camping. It’s just like the egg carton, but we don’t have to resort to Styrofoam and it doesn’t disintegrate in the cooler.

  6. I’ve been looking for ideas to camp with REAL food. So thanks for sharing your ideas. I just wanted to pass along an idea we use. Eggs. Break them open and put them into a jar with a lid. We use a glass jar. When you want to cook them they pour out individually like magic. The bonus… it takes next to no space for a dozen eggs and you don’t have to worry about breaking them. Just pack the jar carefully and no worries. :)