Easy Meal Prep for Your Camping Adventures

If you’re a camper or a road tripper, you’ve purchased copious amounts of ice. You’ve experienced the soggy food in the coolers. You’ve embraced the hot dog and burger meals for convenience sake. But what if it could all be a bit simpler? With a little planning ahead, you can enjoy all sorts of non-soggy meals around the camp fire. 

Michael’s parents are avid campers, so they’ve learned quite a few skills over the years. These are some of the tips I’ve learned from them. 

1) Freezer Meat

To avoid needing ice right off the bat, plan to pack your frozen meat around your refrigerated foods. These will act as ice packs for the first few days. Then as each one defrosts you can cook it that night. Anyone say steak?? 

2) Prep Your Meals Ahead

You love a good chili around the fire while you swap stories. But who wants to spend hours by the tent or camper making that? If you make it and freeze it ahead of time,  it can also act as ice in the bottom of the cooler. 

You can use the frozen meats you brought first and save this meal for later in the week. The meat has already been cooked so you don’t have to worry about it defrosting. It’ll be good for a few days once it finally does. You can try this with other meals as well. Some good ones are spaghetti, shepherd’s pie, and taco meat. 

Mmm … tacos on the beach

3) Get Creative

If you don’t want to take the time to make chili before you go, look for the canned version. Warm that up in a pot, purchase some tortilla chips, and grate some cheese. Bam! Dinner’s ready. If you prefer not to cook, or your looking for easy lunch options:

  • canned tuna or corned beef sandwiches
  • kielbasa, crackers, and cheese
  • lentil salad
  • Rice cakes and peanut butter

Most of these ingredients don’t need to be kept cold, or don’t take up much space in your cooler. 

4) Cut Up Food Ahead of Time

Let’s be honest. You’re on vacation. You may have every good intention to make great meals, but when you’re relaxed from being in the sun all day, you’d prefer to keep things easy. If you cut up your fruits and veggies ahead of time, you’re more likely to eat them, which means they won’t go bad. Make sure you put them in a well sealed bag or container. It’ll keep them fresher and the water won’t get into them when you eventually do purchase ice later in the week. Pick options like carrots, celery, watermelon, and berries. These will all last a number of days in a cooler.

5) Bottle Up Your Eggs

Okay, the cooler might be getting a little crowded now. It could be difficult to fit a whole container of eggs in there. Another little tip is to take a well cleaned water bottle and a funnel, and crack your eggs into the bottle. Store up as many as you think you’ll use. You can either keep them in their full state, or shake it up and use it for scrambled eggs in the morning. 

6) Buy Milk Powder

It’s way easier to keep items minimal in the cooler and purchase as many dried goods as you can. Instead of worrying about milk spilling in the cooler or taking up too much room, try buying milk powder instead. It just takes water to turn it into some milk you can enjoy. I don’t drink milk myself, so I can’t tell you if it tastes different or not, but I hear it works. 

7) Munchies

I find that I’m less hungry when I’m camping or at the cottage. You’re relaxed, enjoying the sun or a swim, napping, or reading a good book. During the day, I become more munchie than I am hungry for a full meal. Having healthy snacks on hand makes it easy. Getting things like mixed nuts and granola bars can help curb that craving and tie you over to your next meal. 

Try to pick healthy choices. You’re probably going to get slightly dehydrated from all the sunshine and heat. So you need to nourish your body with the good stuff rather than packing in the junk food most of the day. Enjoy a few treats here and there but keep your health in check and drink lots of water!

Hopefully some of these tips help to make the meal prep simpler and get you thinking about enjoying your blissful summer retreat.

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