Camping is such a fantastic was to disconnect from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature and family. While cooking meals can be a fun part of the whole camping experience, it can also be time-consuming and require a lot of equipment, planning, and time.
When I camp, I like to make my trip as easy as possible and no cook meals are the perfect was to simplify a trip! In fact, I lovingly call my style of camping “lazy mom camping“! So, below you’ll find all sorts of great lazy, no-cook, easy prep meal ideas to try on your next trip!
Note: I have written this list of no cook meals for camping with the expectation that you do have a means of keeping foods cold. If you’re looking for camping foods that don’t need to be refrigerated, you’ll want to read this list instead.
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Our top 5 family favorite no cook camping food ideas:
These are our go-to quick meal options when we’re planning the camping foods for a trip.
1. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches or Wraps (add some honey and granola for a bit of sweetness and crunch)
2. Salad with added protein (use pre-cooked chicken breast or rotisserie chicken and toss that with a bagged salad mix)
3. Hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit, and yogurt for breakfast or lunch
4. Camping charcuterie board: summer sausage, cheese, pickles, crackers, and a side dish of cut fresh vegetables
5. Ice Cream Sundays: a very special camping treat!
The Benefits of No-Cook meals for camping
Convenience: No-cook meals are quick and easy to prepare, saving you the stress, time and effort.
Saves space: No-cook meals often don’t require as much camping cooking equipment, so you can save a bit of space in your camping gear.
Less Dish Washing: No-cook meals usually don’t produce as many dirty dishes reducing the amount of time you’ll need to spend washing dishes, yay!
Handy when you can’t cook with a campfire: If you’re a camper who usually cooks with a campfire and there’s a fire restriction in place, having some no cook meal ideas ready can be helpful.
Keeps you cool: Cooking meals (especially inside your camper or RV) can generate heat, which can be uncomfortable on hot days. No-cook meals don’t produce any heat, making them a great option for keeping your unit cooler.
Easy No-Cook Camping Breakfast Ideas
When I’m camping I really don’t ever want to cook breakfast. I like slow lazy mornings. I don’t mind boiling up some hot water for oatmeal and tea, but anything more than that and I’d just rather not.
Cereal and Milk
Probably the easiest no-cook breakfast idea there is! Just bring along your family’s favourite cereal, and your family’s choice of milk and voila! Super easy no cook camping breakfast!
My girls really enjoy, what they call, peanut butter cereal. They add a heaping scoop of peanut butter, mix that well with the soy milk before adding honey nut cheerios. It’s actually pretty good!
Super easy breakfast because you prepared these the night before. In fact, you could even fill a bunch of mason jars with the dry ingredients and just add the wet ingredients when you’re ready to eat them.
The basic overnight oats recipe:
- Quick oats
- Variety of nuts and seeds
- Yogurt or milk
- Fruit (optional)
When making overnight oats my family dumps some quick oats into a jar, then adds a few scoops of chia seeds, hemp seeds, and random other nuts and seeds (pumpkin, almond, sunflower, pecan, etc). The night before wanting to eat the overnight oats, they’ll also add a scoop of frozen or fresh berries and about as much yogurt needed to make sure everything is mixed well. If it looks dry, a splash of milk can be helpful. Then leave it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, mix it up and enjoy!
Such a yummy and healthy no cook breakfast! Our camping version usually consists of a banana or canned fruit, yogurt, and granola.
Peanut Butter and Banana (wrap, sandwich, or as is)
We tend to eat this more for lunch than breakfast, but any time of day, this is an easy meal! Grab a flour wrap, spread peanut butter all over, put a peeled banana across the middle, drizzle some honey if you’re craving a bit of sweet and sprinkle on some chia seeds or granola. Roll it up and it’s ready to eat!
If your family doesn’t eat much gluten you can skip on the wrap all together and just spread the peanut butter right onto the banana, then sprinkle the granola or seeds mix, slice and enjoy!
Hard Boiled Eggs
Make these before heading out to the campground. They make the perfect no cook protein for breakfast or lunch!
Favourite no-cook lunch idea
Sandwiches and wraps
With a bit of planning, sandwiches really do make the perfect meal! There are so many great options to choose from. Grab your favourite cold cuts, some cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo and you’ve got lunch!
Here are a few more favourite sandwich options:
- Turkey or Ham & Cheese
- Tuna Salad Sandwiches,
- Chicken Salad,
- Egg Salad,
- Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato
- Peanut or Nut Butter and Banana
Hummus & Fresh Cut Vegetables
When we’ve camped with younger kids, I noticed it could be challenging to get the kids to settle down enough to sit still and eat a full lunch. Having easy to grab healthy foods out and available is a good way to make sure they’re getting some healthy foods and not just snacking all day.
I like to wash and cut my vegetables before heading to the campground. Preparing them ahead of time makes it easy to quickly pull them out when the kids (or adults) are getting hangry. Hummus adds a bit more protein than just regular dip. My kids like to dip crackers and cheese into hummus too!
Cheese and Crackers
The perfect accompaniment to veggies and hummus… adding a cheese board ups your protein and flavour options. Again, you can prepare this ahead of time by cutting up some cheese before heading to the campground.
Snackables and Tuna/Cracker Boxes
You can probably find these at your local grocery store. The typical snackable box will have some sort of sandwich meat, crackers, cheese, and a treat. Or the ‘adult option, the tuna/cracker box… it will have a small tin of seasoned tuna (I’ve even seen chicken recently), a small spreader spoon, and crackers to spread this seasoned tuna onto.
The Random Lunch Spread
Our typical camping lunch is a combination of various easy no-cook foods. Here’s a photo of one such camping lunch. You can see that day we were having strawberries, bananas, hard-boiled eggs, cucumbers, and oranges. Yum!
Easy Dinner no cook camping meals
Camping Dinner and Lunch foods are pretty similar for our family. We’re not too fussy about which foods should be eaten at which meals. I’m even happy with a big bowl of cereal for supper every now and then.
There are so many fantastic salad recipes out there! If you’re choosing a salad as a main dish I’d suggest choosing a salad that has a variety of vegetables with added protein to make it a substantial and healthy meal. Here are some favourites:
Greek Salad: both the vegetable only option or the pasta salad version. Basically, chop up some cucumbers, red onion, and bell peppers. Mix those veggies with Greek salad dressing and lettuce or pasta (for the pasta version). Don’t forget to add feta cheese and olives for extra yumminess, protein, and healthy fats!
Tex-Mex Summer Salad: A can of beans (black beans are my choice), few cups of cooked corn, a few diced bell peppers, and one or two chopped avocados with a cilantro lime dressing.
Bean Salad: Your standard bean salad is usually an easy meal and a great way to get a good serving of protein into your day. You can choose to make-ahead or bring all the ingredients and mix it fresh at the campsite. Here’s a standard bean salad recipe, very similar to the one I grew up eating at family potlucks!
Lazy Sandwich Salads: Take the same chicken, tuna, or egg salad that you would spread onto bread for a sandwich and instead scoop that onto a bed of lettuce, chopped cucumbers, and shredded carrots.
Chef’s Salad: Just your basic everything salad… take a bed of lettuces, then top it with all your family favourites – shredded carrots or beets, cucumber slices, baby tomatoes, artichoke hearts, hardboiled eggs, feta or cheddar cheese, some roasted seeds or nuts, and your favourite dressing.
If you’d like a recipe, this Chop-Chop Salad from Whitewater cooks is fabulous (actually, everything from the Whitewater Cookbooks is fabulous). Yes, this salad has more specialty ingredients, but you can do the roasting and making of the dressing prior to the camping trip.
Chicken Caesar Salad: One of our favourite go-tos… Shred up some cooked chicken at home before the trip. Then, bring along some Romain Lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing (or just bring a few Caesar Salad Kits). Before dinner, mix up your salad, top with the chicken and enjoy! The Camping Charcuterie Board: In my opinion, this is one of the best camping foods! You can customize it, prep most of it ahead of time, and doesn’t take use a lot of dishes so you’ll have an easy clean up afterwards.
Ideas for your Camping Charcuterie Board
I love this as an easy camping meal! Just take some of the following and put them out on a tray or in small serving containers… or just throw some spoons and forks in the pickle or antipasto jars and call it done!
- smoked or preserved meats
- pickles, pickled vegetables, olives
- antipasto spreads
- sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
Camping Snacks & Desserts
No cook snacks are sweets are easy! Here are some of our favourites:
- Trail mix
- Dried fruit
- Fresh fruit or fruit salad – add some whipped cream for an extra delicious dessert!
- Banana Bread: add some chocolate chips or icing to turn this into dessert
- Popcorn: no-cook if you make a big batch and pack the popcorn into a big reusable Ziplock plastic bag.
- Store-bought Snacks: Chips, Cookies, Crackers, Candies
- Granola Bars
- Apple Sauce cups / pouches and Fruit cups
- Tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole
READ MORE: This photo is taken from an article full of healthy hiking snack ideas for kids. Click to read more!
Ice cream Sundays
What a camping treat! If you have a freezer in your unit you could easily bring ice cream to the campground. To make Sundays bring along all the fixings and have your kids make up their own treats. If we were making Sundays, we’d want brownies, chocolate or caramel sauce, whipped cream, and sprinkles!
Freezies and Popsicles
Again, you’ll need some way to keep these frozen. But, if you do have a freezer, these are a great way to help kids cool down and stay hydrated. Get yourself some popsicle molds and make your own fruit juice or fruit smoothie popsicles!
To make smoothie popsicles:
- Dump a cup or two of frozen fruit into the blender. I like to use mangos, peaches, and / or strawberries.
- Pour in just enough water or juice to help the frozen fruit blend.
- Blend until smooth.
- It should pour well. If it needs more liquid, add small amounts between blending.
- When the consistency is smooth and pours, fill the popsicle molds
- Place the filled molds into the freezer
What food to take camping without a fridge?
If you don’t have access to a fridge or cooler, your easy camping meal planning might be a bit more challenging! Here is a list of some of the above that can be adapted if you don’t have a fridge:
- Bagels with peanut butter and jam
- Beef Jerky
- Canned fruit with granola
- Trail mix and dried fruit
- Apples or bananas spread with peanut butter
- Peanut butter and banana wraps
READ MORE: If you’d like a longer list with more tips and suggestions of what foods to eat when camping without a refrigerator, click here.
Enjoy No Cook Meals on your next camping trip!
No cook meals are a fantastic way to simplify your camping trip and enjoy more time relaxing and exploring the great outdoors. With the quick and easy camping meals listed above, you can create delicious and satisfying meals without the need for extensive cooking equipment or the hassle of washing up a bunch of dirty dishes.
Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert ideas, these no cook meals for camping options are sure to satisfy your taste buds, keep your kids fueled up, and let you enjoy a relaxing, stress-free camping trip! So on your next camping trip, try some of these easy ideas into your menu and see how much more enjoyable your trip can be. Happy camping!