As any parent knows, planning simple yet kid-friendly camping meals isn’t the most easy task out there. From foil-wrapped to fire-grilled, today, we’re rounding up a few of our family’s favourite camping meal ideas for kids.
When it comes to planning easy camping meals, the more preparation you can do at home, the more time you’ll have to kick back around the camp fire. After all – chopping vegetables in your kitchen at home is usually much easier than chopping them at a campsite. Simply store chopped vegetables and prepared meal ingredients in zip-lock bags until you’re ready to use them.
These ideas are easy to adapt to suit your family’s taste buds. Have fun and bon appétit!
Breakfast Meal Ideas
As the first meal of the day, breakfast sets the mood and fuels the day’s adventure. While instant oatmeal and packaged breakfast bars are fine, some campers want a little more “oomph” out of their morning meal.
Omelettes are a simple yet nutritious camping meal idea perfect for kids.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Eggs – a simple walled container is all you’ll need to protect your eggs
- Cheese – cheddar keeps best in a cooler
- Vegetables – optional – chop them before you leave home
- A frying pan
- A camping stove
Simply heat up your pan, sautée your veggies, give your eggs a quick scramble and cook over medium heat. If perfectly folded omelettes are beyond your skill level, simply turn your ingredients into a simple “breakfast scramble.”
Pancakes are a great source of energy – think of this meal as a way to carbo-load for the day’s adventures. Use a just-add-water mix to keep things extra easy.
For more variety, sprinkle some of these creative add-ins into your batter:
- Chopped nuts or seeds
- Crumbled sausage for added protein
- Chopped fruit or berries
- Mini chocolate chips, marshmallows and crumbled graham cracker pieces for s’mores pancakes
Looking for an even easier option? Cook your pancakes at home before you hit the great outdoors. Simply store them in a baggie or other container and heat them up at your campsite.
Burritos are a great way to start the day – they’re highly portable and perfect for little hands.
Stuff them with scrambled eggs (added taco seasoning gives them a Southwestern flair), cubed ham or sausage, shredded hash browns, and cheddar cheese. Roll your burritos and wrap them tightly in foil. When you’re ready for breakfast, place the wrapped burritos in the hot coals next to your campfire. Turn at least once. Serve when heated through.
Lunch Meal Ideas
When my family goes camping, lunch is often eaten away from the campsite. For this reason, these lunch ideas listed here are designed to be hassle free and easily portable.
Just throw your favourite lunch fillings on a tortilla, roll it up, and you’re good to go. Roll-ups are better than the typical sandwich, because the bread doesn’t get squished in your backpack.
Here’s a few of our favourite fillings:
- peanut butter and jelly
- turkey and cheese
- cream cheese and salsa
- hummus and veggies
High in carbohydrates and still better than bread, crackers can be hung on the outside of your day pack to keep them from getting crushed. Top crackers with high-protein options like peanut butter, cheese, vacuum-packed tuna or salmon, or summer sausage (it doesn’t have to be refrigerated).
Dinner Meal Ideas
While dinner is often the most exciting meal of the day, it can also be the most tiring. The secret to an enjoyable meal is to keep things as simple as possible. These quick and easy meal ideas do just that.
I can’t sing the praises of tortillas loud enough. It’s like they were made for camping. They don’t take up much space, store easily, and do a good job of filling hungry tummies. For all these reasons, quesadillas are one of our regular go-to camping meals. They cook easily on a skillet set over the fire or on a camping stove. However, they can also be wrapped in foil and heated over hot coals.
When my kids were small, they loved plain old cheese quesadillas. However, as they’ve gotten older and can appreciate a little variety in their diets, we’ve tried to make them a little more interesting.
Here are a few simple and easy ideas:
- Mexican Quesadillas – make a hearty quesadilla by adding shredded chicken or seasoned ground beef, shredded cheese, onions and peppers, corn and black beans.
- Pizza Quesadillas – simply slather on some pizza sauce and then stuff with cheese and pepperoni (which usually keeps well without refrigeration). Prepare like you would a regular quesadilla.
- Veggie Quesadillas – if you want to tempt the kids into eating vegetables, adding them to a gooey cheese quesadilla might just work. Broccoli, spinach, artichokes, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and even mushrooms can be tasty additions to a grilled quesadilla. The possibilities are almost endless.
Potatoes are one of the easiest things to cook when you’re camping. Just wrap each potato (sweet potatoes work just as well) in foil and let them bake on the hot coals of your campfire.
You can make a whole meal out of a potato by stuffing it with hearty ingredients. In addition to the obvious options like cheese, bacon, butter and sour cream, there are plenty of other tasty additions.
Here’s a few fun toppings to try:
- Pulled pork or chicken
- Chili – surprisingly tasty over a baked sweet potato
- Canned meat – corned beef and salmon are two potato toppings my family loves
- Gravy – we pop open a can of gravy and pour – the heat from the potato will warm the gravy
- Corn and black beans
- Fried egg
- Ranch dressing
- Buffalo Sauce
- Cooked broccoli
- Sautéed mushrooms and onions
- Pizza sauce and pepperoni
Foil-Wrapped Meal Ideas
Foil packet meals are fast, fun, mess-free, and offer plenty of delicious options. All you need to do is wrap your ingredients in tin foil and place them in the hot coals of your campfire. Use one foil packet per person.
When you’re finished eating it right out of the foil, you simply toss it into your trash (remember to “leave no trace” and pack everything out with you). With foil-wrapped camping meals, there are zero dirty dishes to wash!
Need some inspiration for dinner? Try one of these foil packet meals on your next family camping trip!
Low Country “Boil”
Shrimp, smoked sausage, quartered potatoes, half ears of corn on the cob, Old Bay seasoning.
Ground beef, sliced potatoes and carrots, chopped onion, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese.
Veggie Party Pack
Chopped onion, bell pepper, zucchini, potatoes, and mushrooms seasoned with paprika, cumin, and coriander.
Red Beans and Rice
Cooked rice, canned kidney beans, sliced smoked sausage, Cajun seasoning.
Freezer Meal Ideas
If you plan to camp for more than a few days, you can prepare full meals at home. Once cooked, you can pop them in the freezer. Place these frozen meals in the cooler until you’re ready to use them. Not only does this help keep your food fresh, it also cuts down on trips for more ice.
Freezer meals open up a whole new world of meal options. You can make your favourite casserole in the comfort of your own kitchen. Then cut it into portions, wrap it in aluminum foil, and freeze it. When it’s meal time at camp, you can heat it in a frying pan over your camping stove. Since reheating previously frozen food works best after it is completely thawed, you can save these yummy comfort foods for later in your trip.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for camping food, you’ve come to the right place. These ideas aren’t intended to be specific, step-by-step recipes. Recipes are hard to follow when you’re camping where precise measuring and cooking temperatures are impossible to achieve.