Camping trips are a great way to reconnect with nature, embark on outdoor adventures, and spend some quality time with friends and family. But just because you’re going back to basics, doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthy too. Here’s how you can have a fuss free and nutritious meal every day, by cooking the old fashioned way.
Before you get down to some fireside cooking, make sure you have all the essentials. Little things like strike anywhere matches can be easily overlooked, but are crucial for a weekend away in the wild. Same goes for lighter fluid. These two are the first things you should think of before setting out on any outdoor adventures. Aluminium foil is essential for preparing grilled food. Package your food in ziplock bags for secure storage. Measure your ingredients ad combine dry ingredients together. You’ll also want to bring a small pot and pan and grate, just in case the cap site doesn’t have one. Put all the sauces and dressings you want to take with you into disposable water bottles.
When setting up your cap fire, you might want to bring a hatchet for chopping wood and vaseline coated balls. Remember the wood has to be completely dry for a fire to ignite. Use paper or cardboard to get a small fire going, and don’t pile on all your logs at once. Let your fire build up first and add kindling towards the end. One or two large logs is perfect to start with. When your firewood has burned into white hot coals, then you can start to cook.
A popular method for campfire cooking is to cook using aluminium foil and hot coals. Another alternative is to place a grill over an open fire, as you would when you barbeque in your backyard. Campfire grills are inexpensive and much lighter than your oven grill. Stews and soups will require traditional cooking apparatus like pots and pans, but they can be frozen and kept in a cooler, ready to be reheated. You’ll also want to freeze your meats before putting them into a cooler. Bring some oil with you to avoid your meats sticking to the grill, and don’t forget to bring a sharp knife for cutting. With vegetables like potatoes that take a long time to cook, it’s better to cut them in half and pierce them so the heat can penetrate better.
After Cooking Tips
When you’ve finished with your meal, always have a cold bucket of water close by for putting out the fire. Stir the ashes with a metal skewer and you can even use sand to help with putting the flames out. Don’t forget to store all your leftovers in an airtight resealable bag and store in a cooler to keep your food fresh and out of sight from animals. Make it a group effort to do the washing up. Give each other specified role, for example one person can do the rinsing, and one person can dry. Another top tip is to bring along some biodegradable soap.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially on active holidays when you’re burning lots of energy. Dried nuts, seeds and fruit are great for a nutritious breakfast. Use them to make oatmeal by adding boiling water. You can also bring along milks that don’t need refrigerating like almond or soy milk. They come in handy for your tea and coffee too. Eggs are so versatile and are great for breakfast meals, but can be tricky to pack due to their fragile shells. Other camping friendly breakfasts include fruit salads, or why not try this filling and healthy recipe.
When it comes to snacking, fruity health bars, roasted nuts and seeds are a great source of energy, protein and fibre. Trail mix energy bites are ideal for campers. If you want to bring fruit and vegetables, make sure that they’re eating on the same day, as they won’t stay fresh for long. To solve this issue you could bring a cooler with you, if you have the space. Biscuits also make for a great campsite snack. Roast them on the fire and sprinkle on some cinnamon.
It’s hard to think about camping without dreaming about roasted marshmallows and barbecued chicken wings. It’s a good idea to plan your meals before you leave home and have your meats prepared in advance. Make sure that you’ve wrapped your all your meals in tinfoil for easy transportation. When it comes to grilling, you can’t get healthier than fish when it comes to meat. Salmon is a great choice, and can be eaten with boiled or baked potatoes and veg, for a well rounded meal. Pitta breads last longer than other bread and are great for stuffing with meats and vegetables.
When dinner time comes around, the sun will be going down and you’re going to be feeling like some hearty comfort food. A cast iron dutch oven or pressure cooker is the perfect cooking apparatus for a weekend away in the wild. It’s great for making stews and soups for warming Check out some cast iron dutch oven camping recipes for inspiration. Instant and dry soups are an easier alternative for rainy days. Casseroles are also a great option when cooking out in the wilderness.
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Baked apples are a tasty and easy dessert to make when your resources are limited. Or why not try grilled bananas with honey. Finally, for a tasty after dinner treat, we couldn’t not include good old roasted marshmallows. They’re not the healthiest dessert, but this campfire staple can be given a slight twist (if you’re camping without children). Simply dunk them in a bit of bailey’s and enjoy! Another alternative is marshmallow and strawberry kebabs.
If you have any food left over by the end of your stay, don’t waste it. Combine all your ingredients into an omelette for a quick and easy last meal.