Planning ahead for mealtime doesn’t just help you stay organized — it will also encourage you to pack only the necessities. While we have a camp store at Bethy Creek, it doesn’t have the wide variety that a grocery store keeps in stock. Write detailed menus for each day of your camping trip, and include healthy and easily prepared foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon snacks. Choose versatile foods like potatoes, beans and rice that you can cook several different ways; this will save space in your vehicle or backpack for other essential camping items.
- En route to your camping site, keep hungry bellies satisfied with car-friendly snacks. These could be trail mixes or beef jerky.
- To save time preparing meals around the campfire, always make a note of foods on your grocery list that can be chopped and cooked before you leave. Prepare or dehydrate stews and soups, then freeze them and keep in the cooler for an easy, quick meal during your trip. Prepping meats in your home kitchen is significantly more sanitary than attempting to cut chicken or beef on a chopping block in the woods, and it will also save you from having to wash multiple utensils and cutting boards at camp.
- Look over your daily menus to build your list of essential cooking gear. Indispensable items for camping include: pots and pans, a skillet, knives,, flatware, paper plates, tongs and a can opener. Fireproof, nonstick cookware is also handy and will allow you to prepare meals over a fire without difficulty
- Storing food properly is perhaps the most important aspect of camping. You should pack everything securely to prevent spoilage and spillage. To keep food at a cool temperature, remember that block ice lasts longer than cubed ice, and wrapped frozen meats packed tightly with other food can keep the ice chest colder for longer. Watch your cooler closely, and always replace melting ice to keep meats and other perishable foods from going bad.
- Do without several different bottles of ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise and opt for condiment packets.
- Store leftover food in airtight containers, and bring plenty of aluminum foil and garbage bags for easy cooking and cleanup.
- Everyone enjoys a gooey marshmallow, graham cracker and milk chocolate s’more or charred hot dog toasted over the campfire. Make sure you included those items in the supplies!
While it’s exciting to plan your excursion adventures, like kayaking, bird-watching and mountain biking, don’t forget to plan for plenty of food for your family to enjoy around the campfire!