Planning A Simple & Healthy Campsite Menu
Camping season is upon us! And with more people visiting local destinations this summer, booking a campsite and exploring unique areas in your own backyard has become one of the most popular ways to spend this summer vacation.
When it comes to planning meals for a weekend of camping fun, some people prefer to keep things as simple as possible, roasting weenies and snacking on chips the whole weekend. But this isn’t necessarily the healthiest way to spend a weekend away! So rather than trying to survive off junk food while on a camping vacation, we’re encouraging campers to take a healthier approach to campsite dining.
With a little bit of planning it‘s simple to prepare and pack healthy, delicious meals and snacks for your next camping trip. Here are some of our favorite camping-friendly recipes that you can prepare for the perfect campsite dinner.
How to Prepare the Perfect Campsite Dinner Menu
There are so many options when it comes to planning meals for a camping trip, but we’ve got your campsite dinner covered with this fresh-filled menu!
You are likely going to work up an appetite after spending a full day of exploring the great outdoors, so make sure you have some healthy pre-dinner snacks on-hand to tide everyone over until dinnertime.
We recommend setting out some pre-cut fresh veggies like Peppers, Cucumbers, baby carrots, celery sticks, broccoli, and cauliflower, and pairing them with a healthy dip. The combination of refreshing raw veggies and a homemade dip like our Bell Pepper Quinoa Dip will re-energize and hydrate your camping crew while also keeping everyone’s hunger at bay until dinner is served!
Here are a few tips for preparing and packing pre-dinner snacks:
- Pre-cut all your raw veggies before leaving for your camping trip. It’s incredibly easy to serve fresh veggies at your campsite if all you have to do is open up a container and start digging in!
- Make sure you put any dips into containers that seal well. The last thing you want is messy spills and spoiled food to ruin your meal plans.
- For more healthy foods to add to your campsite snacks list, check out these 12 tasty (and healthy) alternatives to your favorite junk foods. Many of these snack options are camping-friendly and will help to fuel your weekend fun!
Appetizers & Shareable Dishes
Before dinner is served, take a seat around the campfire to share some delicious grilled appetizers featuring fresh veggies. With a cast iron pan and campfire grill grate, you can easily prepare a range of starters that complement your campsite dinner’s main course!
One appetizer option is to put a fresh twist on classic fire-grilled nachos. You can use Bell Peppers instead of tortilla chips as your nacho base, load them with your favorite toppings, and heat them up in a cast iron pan over the fire until your cheese is melted and the Pepper skin is blistered. Find our full Bell Pepper nachos recipe here.
If you want to add some exciting heat to your campsite dinner menu, try blistering some Cilantro-Lime Shishito Peppers in your cast iron skillet. In every pack of Shishito Peppers, 1 in 10 Peppers packs some extra heat that makes this appetizer not only delicious, but also a ton of fun to eat with your camping crew.
If you want to keep your starters even more simple, check out our top 10 grilled veggies for summer barbecuing. Even if you don’t have access to a barbecue at your campsite, you can easily grill your veggies in your cast iron pan. Grilled veggies make the perfect starter that is simple, healthy, and flavorful!
Main Course: Mexican Chicken Tinga
And now for the main attraction: a steamy skillet of authentic Mexican Chicken Tinga. Not only is this dish full of fresh Tomatoes, shredded chicken, and flavorful spices – it is also incredibly easy to prepare and serve at your campsite!
To keep this recipe as simple as possible once you start cooking at your campsite, we recommend doing some meal prep at home before leaving for your trip. Cook and shred the chicken, dice your Tomatoes, onions, and jalapeno peppers, and mix your dry spices together. If you prepare these ingredients beforehand and bring them in three separate containers, you can easily start combining everything at the campsite in your cast iron skillet.
Your delicious Mexican Chicken Tinga can be served in hard-shell taco shells, on fire-toasted flatbread, or on its own!
More Tips for a Successful Campsite Dinner
For a successful campsite dinner, you need to plan more than just the meals you’ll be eating. Here are some extra tips to make sure you’re set up for the perfect campsite dinner!
- It’s important to bring a high-quality cooler that can accommodate a bag of ice or ice packs along with all your food and drinks. Bring multiple coolers if you need to – having more cooler space to work with is better than not having enough!
- Prepare as much food ahead of time as possible. One of our best time-saver tips is to pre-cut all your veggies before leaving for your camping trip. You can also prepare some other side dishes and snacks ahead of time including cold pasta salads, salsa, muffins, trail mix, and granola.
- Make sure you have a plan for dishware and utensils. If you want to keep garbage to a minimum, pack lightweight plates and utensils that are easy to wash and wipe down. And don’t forget to bring a roll of paper towels to use as napkins or for inevitable spills!
- Make a list of the extra cooking utensils or cookware you will need during your camping trip. Common cooking utensils you may need include a large serving fork, serving spoons, a spatula, tongs, oven mitts, and a cooking thermometer. And if you’re planning on cooking over the fire, a cast iron skillet and campfire grill grate are a must.
- Reusable food containers, chip bag clips, and elastic bands are a few extra items you should consider packing – they will make it much easier for you to transport any leftovers back home at the end of your trip.
Plan Your Ultimate Campsite Dinner
Along with these delicious recipes, we have lots of other fresh meal ideas that can easily be added to your next campsite dinner menu. Check out our Recipes page for more fresh inspiration and camping-friendly meal options!