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. My big thing is to make food stretch, even camping. I make a huge meatloaf, freeze it raw, and use it to help keep stuff cold. Usually, on the second day, it is ready to cook. So, meatloaf the second night, cooked on in a dutch oven over sliced potatoes and onions. Then, some of the leftover meat and all of the veggies are used the next morning for hash with fried eggs over the top, and we have meatloaf sandwiches for lunch. Major hit every time. It is my husband’s favorite part of camping.

  2. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi. Are you talking about the Marshmallows? No money was made by answering that question. Marshmallows are a rare indulgence for the Leakes and that is the brand they buy when camping. Beyond that, Lisa does recommend some products that are tried and tested in her family. She is very open about affiliate sponsors/partnerships that are a part of some posts. She’s very picky about those sponsors, as well. ~Amy

  3. What brand are the marshmallows without high fructose corn syrup? I can’t quite read the name in the photo. I have been looking everywhere for these! Thanks!

      1. I love your posts and have been following them bc I felt they were real. But this clearly is a post for money. (Which clearly you deserve!) It’s sad that it has come to that and I am glad for your sponsers. But do YOU really believe in your heart, this is the best product OR are you getting paid to tell us that?

  4. Thanks for sharing these great ideas for real food when camping! I love camping but find it hard to stick with my real food diet…definitely gonna try some of these!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Leslie. You can find them at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and other health food stores. ~Amy

  5. We have a camper that has a small refrigerator/freezer. We make ahead soups, grilled chicken, breads, and muffins and store in fridge and freezer and bring a lot of fruit and veggies. We take organic beef and homemade sandwich buns for burger night. We like to visit farmer’s markets while traveling. Great for picking up local fruit and produce along the way

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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

    1. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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 :)

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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 😊

  16. 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!!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

    1. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. We r actually leaving to go camping tomorrow. And again in Nov …in Texas its too hot yo tent camp in the summer! This is our first trip since going real food and organic….I’m planning eggs bacon French toast and burritos for breakfasts….tacos and sandwiches for lunches ..and steak (pre-marinated) as well as some local chicken spinach n feta sausage/hot dogs for dinner

  23. Whole-Food (Non-Processed) Plant-Based (Vegan) Campers here.
    We pre-chop all of our veggies, pop into containers and into the cooler. Easy-peasy meals.
    Breakfast is Oatmeal (with Maple Syrup), fruit and/or juice, tea.
    Other meals consisted of Whole Wheat Pasta with herbs and veggies, PB and honey (we eat honey) on our homemade wheat bread, baked potatoes (I pre-cook them some of the way in the microwave before we go, wrap them in foil, cool and then toss them in the cooler) topped with vegan chili, hummus and veggies, salsa and tortilla chips, bean burritos…
    Dessert is a nice piece of dark chocolate and talking around the fire with friends.
    Yeah – we like to cook and we enjoy being healthier!

  24. Thanks for posting the few “non-real junk foods”. Would you mind sharing where you found these items? I would love to treat my children (and husband!) to s’mores again :-)


    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jennifer. I don’t have the bag anymore, but, I know I’ve seen them at Whole Foods and Earthfare. Jill

  25. My family and I have been camping for a week for 21 years now and it is more like camp as there are anywhere from 30-45 people and our food is made together but planned ahead of time…my new husband and I just went camping this weekend and I marinated chicken in ziploc and made hamburgers before we left and cooked them on the propane camp stove…our only challenge was the clean up since this is only the second time ever camping with just one other person

  26. I’m not a huge camping fan but we’re supposed to go next weekend (Hubby and two boys means I’m outnumbered!). The thought of food was stressing me out, so this was super helpful. Thanks! I’m sure we’ll take lots of eggs and burgers and chocolate banana muffins.

    1. Also, I never knew it was called “car camping” until I got married. I thought everyone went to a campground with bathrooms and electric hookups and air mattresses!