Camping is a great way to get away from the everyday grind, enjoy the outdoors, and spend some quality time together. But the stress of meal planning for camping can be enough for people to avoid camping all together… especially when you’re cooking for kids or don’t have a passion for cooking.
Here are some ideas for easy camping meals that are simple and kid-friendly.
If you’re looking to make your family camping trip as stress-free as possible, I suggest you plan for the majority of your meals be easy to prepare and clean up and plan for only one or two more involved meals.
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Easy Camping Breakfast ideas for kids
Obviously a no-brainer. Whether you bring milk or not, cereal is usually a hit dry or with milk! Make it extra special and purchase some of those single-serving cereals for your little ones.
Poptarts great because they come in packages of two and don’t take up cooler space. Plus they come in so many fun flavours… although, maybe not the healthiest of breakfasts!
Muffins and Breads
You can buy muffins or specialty breads, or you can make your own before the camping trip! Make them a week ahead and freeze them, if you don’t want to have last minute baking to do. Plus, the frozen muffins will help keep other items in the cooler cold as they thaw.
Scrambled Eggs and Precooked Bacon
This may not seem like an easy option, but it is possible to prep this meal before your trip and have it be pretty simple to throw together in the morning. For example, you could bring along wraps, warm up the already scrambled eggs and bacon, add it to the wraps with some shredded cheeses… and voila! Or, make up the breakfast buriotos at home, wrap them in foil and just heat the whole thing at the campsite.
Another simple and non-cooler breakfast option, pancake batter can be prepped ahead of time and contained in a former coffee creamer bottle (or cleaned out ketchup bottle). This one does take some time to complete, but pancakes are a very filling breakfast, so it’s great for before a big day of hiking.
Note: if you are going to prepare the batter ahead of time and cook at the campsite, do make sure to keep the batter refrigerated until use.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Make these ahead of time and store them in a plastic egg carton in the cooler for a quick protein breakfast. Remeber to draw little happy faces on them to remind you of which eggs are cooked and which are raw (if you’re bringing both!)
Grab some packets and all you’ll need is hot water to have breakfast ready. If you’d like to make your instant oatmeal a bit healthier, check out our homemade instant oatmeal for camping recipe here.
Topped with butter, cream cheese, jelly, or honey, bagels are filling and simple.
Don’t want to bring along fresh fruit that can spoil? Grab dried fruit for a sweet and tasty addition to your breakfast. Put it in your pancakes or oatmeal for some variety!
With so many options available these days, you can bring granola bars for both breakfast and snacks!
Grab some apples, bananas, oranges, or even canned fruit for some variety and a quick addition to any breakfast.
When are doughnuts ever the wrong answer?
Easy Camping Lunch ideas for kids
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Grab the bread, peanut butter, and squeezable jelly for a quick lunch that is great to take on hikes or picnics. Don’t forget you can also pair peanut butter with bananas or honey… or both!
Banana and Nut butter wraps
A family favourite of ours! We use whole wheat wraps, spread on the almond or peanut buttter, then add a whole banana to the middle. For an added treat we might drizzle some honey and a few sprinklings of granola or yogurt topping (hemp and chia seeds and coconut flakes). Oh, and when I had little ones they loved a banana and peanut butter in a hotdog bun!
Macaroni and Cheese
Grab a variety that uses liquid cheese to avoid the milk and butter addition if you’re not bringing along any of those on your trip.
Meat and Cheese Sandwiches
Mix it up with different meats and cheeses and grab some lettuce and tomato for variety. Canned meats will stay longer if you are worried about refrigeration.
There’s never a bad time for charcuterie. Especially if your kids like to graze! I find that the excitement of camping sometimes gets in the way of my kids eatng. When this is the case, a selection of finger foods usually does get eaten up.
Cheese, crackers, pepperoni, dried salami, fruit, nuts, and veggies will give your kids a fairly well rounded meal. Want some more variety? Try adding some olives, pickles, and dips too.
Pita Bread, Hummus and Carrots
High in fiber and protein, hummus is a fantastically healthy option that is pretty versatile. Grab some pita bread and some carrots (my kids love celery and hummus) or another dippable veggie and you’ve got a snack or a full meal. It’s also tasty spread on some bread with meat and cheese as an alternative to mayonnaise or mustard.
Peanut Butter or Cheese Ritze Crackers
Quick and filling for an on-the-go lunch. Buy the pre-made or make up a version at home and they’ll likely be a bit healthier.
Technically, it’s an on-the-go charcuterie option, but you can eat it at the picnic table too! Make your own, if you want specific options!
Prep some tuna salad (or egg salad, ham salad, chicken salad…) for quick sandwiches or to dip crackers in.
Easy Camping Dinner ideas for kids
A super simple make-ahead dinner, tacos is as versatile as it is easy! Cook and season the meat before you leave your house and freeze it in a gallon ziploc bag nice and flat and it can double as an ice pack for a day or so. Grab shredded cheese and shredded lettuce for basic tacos. Or spice them up some with taco sauce, tomato, onion, black olives, avocado, and sour cream.
Make the tacos super exciting by cutting open single serving chip bags and dumping all the ingredients inside. Read more here to learn how we make these camping tacos with our kids.
So easy to toss together! Use a jar of pasta sauce or make your own sauce ahead of time and freeze it to bring along. Once you’ve cooked the pasta, you just need some veggies and bread to create a full dinner!
A classic camping meal, hot dogs are simple and generally liked by everyone! Don’t want to bring hot dog buns that will just get squashed during travel? Try wrapping your hot dogs in Pilsburry crescent rolls, loosely wrapping them in foil, then cooking them over the campfire for 15-20 minutes.
Have leftover taco meat? Grab some chips, Velveeta, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and veggies and make some epic nachos.
If your family loves pizza, then flatbread pizzas are perfect for camping! Each family member can customize their little pizzas however they like, since they are miniature pizzas. All you need is the bread sauce, cheese, toppings, foil, and a nice and hot campfire.
Check out this pita pizza campfire recipe here.
Always a simple solution. Add some beef jerkey for added flavour and protein.
Breakfast for Dinner
Traditional breakfast foods are tasty any time of day!
These eggs cooked in muffin tins are an easy campfire meal, and you can customize them to everyone’s preference.
Beef Stew and Baked Potatoes
Grab some canned beef stew and cook the potatoes over the fire for a filling dinner.
Baked Potato Bar
Cook your baked potatoes in foil over the fire (or on a grill) and bring all the toppings! Bacon, sour cream, green onion, tomato, and cheese are a great place to start.
Soup and Crackers
Make ahead and freeze your favorite soup or bring cans. Don’t forget the crackers! And, for added novelty, eat your soup out of your camp mugs.
Beanies and Weenies
Heat up baked beans and cut up hot dogs on the stove or over the campfire for a surprisingly yummy meal.
These are so versatile, you could do all your meals pudgy-pie style and never run out of options! Try spaghetti inside bread that’s buttered and seasoned with garlic, or here is a huge list full of yummy and new campfire pie iron recipes.
These are the pie irons we have. One is cast iron, one is aluminum. The kids prefer a pie iron with the longer handle and the littler ones find the cast iron pie iron quite heavy to hold over the fire, but it’s fine if there’s a grate to rest the pie iron on.
Foil Packet Dinners
If you have some patience and a good fire going, foil packet dinners can be varied to suit everyone’s favorite foods. With options like cooking veggies like potatoes and carrots with hamburger, brats, salmon, or shrimp, the only limit is your imagination!
I find that my little kids prefere the simplest of combos… sausages, carrots, potato, and brocolli is their favourite.
But, if you’re looking for more campfire foil packet recipes, check out this great list!
Many campfire pits are armed with a grill that swings over the top. You could also bring your own, just in case. Hamburgers are simple to do on a grill and are often very kid-friendly.
Simple to whip up at the campsite or even prep at home, use a canned sloppy joe sauce for a simple meal!
Easy Camping Desserts for kids
Don’t forget those sweet treats! Here are a couple camping options for desserts:
A giant watermellon, basket of strawberries or fresh peaches are wonderful desserts!
The classic camping dessert! Switch it up by using peanut butter cups instead of chocolate or fudge stripe cookies instead of graham crackers. My favourite is chocolate chunk cookies with caramel chocote bar pieces inside!
Or, put all your s’more ingredients into a waffle cone, wrap in foil, and roast that over the fire!
So many options available! All you need are campfire pie irons (pudgy pie makers) and a little imagination.
We recently tried blueberry pie filling with marshmallows! Yummy!