We love going camping as a family. It is such a great opportunity for us to connect with each other and make some awesome memories. We’ve been camping together since Matilda was just a little bean and even managed cloth diapers while camping. Camping with kids can certainly be an adventure, especially when it comes to food (and then add allergies into the mix!) so I’ve put together a handy guide to serving up real, healthy, meals for the whole family while camping. In this post I’ll share my tips and tricks for planning and preparing real food in the wilderness and in part 2, I’ll share our meal plan with you.  That way, you’ll be all set for your next trip.

Guide to Real Food While Camping

  • Plan, Plan, Plan:  Back when I was a camp director, we used to teach our staff to plan twice for every day.  Meaning that, when camping, things change quickly and a back up plan is key.  When it comes to meals on a camping trip, it’s important to plan not just for what you are going to serve but also what you’ll need to make that happen.  It’s also important to keep the weather (and how quickly it changes) in mind.
  • Bring Lots of Snacks:  I don’t know about you but camping makes us hungry! We don’t often eat a lot of pre-packaged foods but I make some exceptions when we are traveling.  Some of our favorite easy snack foods are KIND brand granola bars, Buddy Fruit (with veggies) pouches, and Lara bars.  All have very few ingredients and give us a little boost when we are hungry.

Serving Real Food When Camping


  • Make Meals with Similar Ingredients: This will help keep things simple and make packing so much easier! As you’ll see in part 2, I used a lot of the same ingredients in different meals to cut down on what I would need to bring.  It means you’ll have to be creative but it also means less time packing and preparing meals.
  • Use Hardy Fruits and Vegetables: Avocados are great but, they aren’t really going to hold up being half cut up and shoved in a cooler.  I plan to use vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes because they are tough.  They won’t get banged up and bruised easily and they won’t take up precious cooler space.  I also typically stick with oranges or clementines as our main fruit.  They can handle being tossed in a backpack and still taste great!

Eating Real Food When Camping

  • Worried About Waste? We try to be very waste-free at home.  We pack leftovers and lunches in reusable containers, use cloth cleaning towels and napkins, and more.  When camping, I am a bit more relaxed about it (a roll of paper towels is a must pack) but I still try to use a lot of our waste-free techniques.  We bring one leak-proof water bottle per person and use that for all of our drinks (water is pretty much all we’ll have anyway).  I also pack in reusable containers like the Smart Bottoms Mission Lunch bag in the picture.

Ready to see what we served all weekend? In part 2  I’ll share the simple menu and snacks that we had and let you in on a few easy cooking secrets.

Camping with Real Food Meal Plan