It’s camping season once again and more families than ever may be planning on heading out into nature this year. If you’re one of them, then you may be scratching your head when trying to come up with some easy family camping food ideas.
Being taken out of our everyday environment can do strange things to our minds. Those 3 meals a day you effortlessly rustle up at home for the kids can suddenly seem daunting when away from the creature comforts.
However, by having a few camping food ideas for your family tucked up your sleeve, you’ll ensure your youngsters don’t go hungry, or worse, get moody.
We’ve split our guide into Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Bon Appetit!
The great thing about overnight oats is that you can prepare it the night before, so breakfast is ready and waiting when you get up. And if you’ve got a good cooler that lasts for a few days, you can even whip up a 2 or 3-day batch at once.
What you need: Oats, milk (non-diary is better in hot conditions), chia seeds, cocoa powder (optional), fruit of your choice.
- How to make it: Put the oats, chia seeds, and cocoa powder into a large bowl, then pour over the milk and mix well, so it’s the same consistency as if you were cooking it on the stove. Put the mixture into an airtight container, then put it into a fridge/cooler overnight. Top with fruit before serving.
Potato and Onion Omelet
For a warm start to the day that gives you both carbs and protein for a boost of energy, this is a great choice. And even better is the fact that everything cooks in just one pan. Here’s a recipe for a family of 4:
- What you need: 4 medium potatoes, 8 eggs, 2 onions, 2 sweet peppers, 2-3 green onions, oil or butter.
How to make it: Chop the potatoes into thin slices, and chop the onions and sweet peppers into chunks. Heat the pan with butter/oil, then add the chopped ingredients. Cook until the vegetables are nice and tender, then add the eggs and mix them into the vegetables, and cook for about 4 minutes. Chop the green onions and add for garnish at the end.
You and the family will probably be burning through the calories when you’re camping, so a salad might not be everyone’s idea of sustenance. But with a few creative additions, you can increase the calories and replenish the kids’ energy supplies. Here’s what’s you need for a family of 4:
- What you need: 2 large ripe mangos, 2 cans of ready to serve black beans, 2 large ripe avocados, 3 tomatoes, 1 red onion, 1 can of ready to serve corn kernels, cilantro leaves, lemon juice, olive oil
- How to make it: Chop all the fruits and vegetables into small chunks and put them into a large bowl. Drain the black beans and corn kernels and add them to the same bowl, then mix all the ingredients. Finish by adding chopped cilantro, lemon juice and olive oil.
Camp NachosIf you want to treat the kids to something a little less healthy than salad, but arguably more filling, camp nachos is a great option. Once again, this is super easy to prepare and cook, so perfect family camping food. Here’s what you need to do:
What you need: Tortilla chips, shredded cheese, canned ready to serve black beans, sour cream, avocados (or pre-made guacamole).
- How to make it: Get a large frying pan and layer the tortilla chips in the pan, putting the beans and cheese between each layer, wrap foil over the top of the pan, then put them on a high heat, either on a camping stove or campfire. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the beans are hot. Once cooked, add the sour cream and guacamole.
Meat & Vegetable Foil Parcels
This also is a great dinner if you don’t want to do any washing up, as you wrap the ingredients in aluminum foil then cook them over a fire. This cooking technique is super versatile too and can be used with all sorts of ingredients, making it one of our most used family food and travel camping recipes. Although you may not want to cook in foil regularly for health reasons, this meal is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Here’s how we do it:
- What you need: Roll of aluminum foil, 2 sausages (such as turkey sausage or hot dog sausage), 2 medium potatoes, half an onion, and 1 bell pepper per parcel.
- How to make it: For each foil parcel that you make, tear off 4 equal-sized pieces of aluminum foil, making sure there’s enough length that each piece can fully wrap the food inside. Lay the foil layers one on top of the other in a criss-cross pattern, chop the sausages, potatoes, and veg into small chunks, then place onto the foil. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil onto the mixture and season to taste. Wrap the foil over the ingredients to create a foil-package, then place it into a campfire for 30-40 minutes.
Bubble and Squeak
We’re borrowing this recipe from across the pond. It’s traditionally a way to use up the leftovers from Sunday dinners, so you can throw all sorts into this dish. But as this is a camping recipe, we’re using just a few ingredients:
- What you need: 1 cabbage head, 4-5 medium-sized potatoes, 2-3 sausages (any type is fine), 1 cup of water.
- How to make it: Chop the potatoes, cabbage, and sausages into small chunks, then make several layers of the ingredients in a large pot, add water, cover, and simmer on a medium heat for about 20 minutes until cooked.
Mac and Cheese
No family occasion would be complete without everyone’s favorite high carb meal. You can cook this in a disposable aluminum pan to save having to wash off burnt cheese. The best way to prepare this is to cook the pasta at home before you leave, then cook this on the first night. Here’s how to feed a family of 4:
What you need: 1 box of macaroni pasta (ideally pre-cooked), 1 can of evaporated milk, 1 stick of butter, 2 cups shredded yellow cheddar, 2 cups shredded white cheddar, ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese, pepper and cayenne pepper for seasoning.
How to make it: Spread the pasta into the aluminum pan, then add all of the ingredients on top and mix well, cover the top of the pan in foil, then cook over a campfire or camping stove for about 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
This is another great no-mess meal, as our old friend aluminum foil is used instead of pans. As with the above meal, it’s best to do a little bit of prep beforehand and pre-cook the chicken at home, so you can be sure it’s cooked through, or alternatively, you could buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken on the way to your camping spot.
- What you need: Aluminum foil, 4 tortillas, 2-3 chicken breasts (pre-cooked), 1 can of ready to serve black beans, grated mexican cheese, your choice of salsa.
- How to make it: Place chicken, black beans, grated cheese, and salsa on one half of the tortilla, then fold it over. Wrap the tortilla in foil, but leave each end open. Place this directly onto the camp stove grill and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until heated through and the cheese has melted.
If you’re looking to cut costs on your trip, read our guide to camping on a budget, or for some inspiration on how to keep the kids entertained, read our guide to camping activities for families.
And remember to check off all your items with our family camping packing list.