Planning camping meals for kids can be a challenging task for parents, especially if they are picky eaters.
The key to a successful family camping trip is to make mealtime fun, simple, and nutritious. Combining variety with familiar favorites can help strike the perfect balance between adventure and comfort that kids will enjoy.
Keep reading for our favorite kid-approved meal ideas for your next camping adventure!
1. Pancakes and Bacon
Nothing beats a classic breakfast combo like pancakes and bacon. Prepare pancake batter ahead of time and bring the mix in a resealable plastic bag. While you cook the bacon in a pan over your campfire or camping stove, have someone else pour the pancake mix directly from the bag onto a hot griddle. This setup ensures that both elements are ready at the same time, and everyone can enjoy their breakfast together. Remember to bring maple syrup or your favorite topping to complete the hearty meal.
2. Oatmeal and Toppings
Oatmeal is a nutritious and filling breakfast choice, perfect for providing kids with the energy they need while camping. You can either prepare instant oatmeal or cook it over a campfire or camp stove. Bring a variety of toppings such as nuts, dried fruit, honey, or chocolate chips, allowing the kids to customize their oatmeal to their liking.
3. Bagels and Cream Cheese
Bagels and cream cheese are a fuss-free option that does not require any cooking. Simply pack your preferred bagels and some flavored or plain cream cheese in your cooler. To make it more interesting, you can bring a variety of spreads and toppings like smoked salmon, sliced tomatoes, fruit preserves, or even a few slices of bacon. Encourage the kids to get creative and build their own bagel creations.
4. Fruit and Cereal
Fruits and dry cereal make for a refreshing and convenient breakfast while camping. Choose fruits that hold up well for the duration of your trip, such as apples, oranges, or bananas. Combine these with a bowl of your favorite cereal and some milk or yogurt for a healthy and easy-to-prepare breakfast.
5. Walking Tacos
These tasty and convenient tacos are perfect for kids who are always on the go during camping trips. Walking tacos are made by combining taco ingredients into a small, portable bag of corn chips. They can be easily customized to suit different tastes – just chop up some grilled chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and any other favorite taco toppings, then mix and match as desired. Provide some shredded cheese, salsa, and sour cream to complete the taco experience. These walking tacos are not only fun to eat but also make clean-up a breeze.
6. Hummus and Veggie Wraps
Hummus and veggie wraps make for a healthy and delicious lunch your kids will love. Start with a whole wheat tortilla or wrap, and spread a generous layer of hummus on it. For added flavor, you can add some tzatziki sauce or pesto. Next, layer on a variety of fresh veggies such as cucumber, bell peppers, carrots, and spinach. To make it more filling, consider adding some grilled chicken, turkey, or tofu. Roll up the wrap, cut it in half, and enjoy. These wraps are not only tasty and nutritious but also provide the energy needed for a day full of camping activities.
7. Pita Pockets with Avocado
Pita pockets with avocado are a great way to get your kids to eat a balanced meal while camping. Start by toasting some whole wheat pita bread over the campfire or on a camping stove. Once it’s warm and slightly crispy, open the pita pockets and spread avocado on the inside. The avocado acts as a natural, heart-healthy replacement for mayonnaise in this lunch idea. Next, add some protein, such as grilled chicken, tuna, or beans. Finally, pack in some veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, and bell peppers. These pita pockets are an easy, mess-free lunch option that adults can also enjoy.
8. Dutch Oven Macaroni and Cheese
One popular and delicious dinner idea for kids while camping is Dutch Oven Macaroni and Cheese. This meal is simple to prepare and requires minimal ingredients. To make it, cook macaroni noodles in a Dutch oven filled with boiling water until they are al dente. Drain the water and add milk, cheese, butter, salt, and pepper. Stir well and let it cook over a low campfire for a few more minutes so the flavors meld together. The result is a creamy and satisfying dish that kids will surely love.
9. Campfire Nachos
Another fun and easy dinner option for camping with kids is Campfire Nachos. This dish is perfect for getting children involved in the cooking process and can be customized based on personal preferences. Start by layering tortilla chips, shredded cheese, beans, diced tomatoes, and any other desired toppings in a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. Place the skillet or oven on a grate above the campfire and let it cook until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are heated through. This meal is best enjoyed with guacamole, sour cream, and a selection of salsas.
10. Beef and Cheese Burritos
For kids who enjoy more substantial meals, Beef and Cheese Burritos are a fantastic camping dinner option. To make this dish, cook ground beef with your preferred seasonings in a skillet over a campfire. Once the beef is cooked through, drain any excess grease and add refried beans, shredded cheese, and salsa. Stir well and let the ingredients heat up for a few minutes. Meanwhile, warm up some tortillas by placing them directly on the campfire grate for a short period. Fill the tortillas with the beef and cheese mixture, fold them into burritos, and serve. This meal is filling, delicious, and easy to customize with additional toppings like lettuce, sour cream, and guacamole.
Camping with kids can be a fun and memorable experience. Keeping them fueled and satisfied with easy and nutritious snacks is crucial. This section will cover some kid-friendly snacks perfect for camping.
11. Trail Mix and Granola Bars
One of the best camping snacks for kids is trail mix. It is easy to make, customizable, and packed with nutrients. A good trail mix usually includes a combination of nuts, dried fruit, cereal, and some sweet surprises. Here are some options:
- Nuts: Peanuts, almonds, and cashews are great sources of protein and healthy fats. Other options include pecans, walnuts, or even pistachios.
- Dried Fruit: Raisins, cranberries, cherries, or even banana chips add natural sweetness to the mix.
- Cereal: Dry, whole-grain cereal such as Cheerios or bran flakes provide some fiber.
- Sweets: Mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, or yogurt-covered raisins can be a treat for kids.
Granola bars are another convenient snack for camping. They come in various flavors and are easily portable. Look for bars with whole grains, nuts, and dried fruit for the most nutritional benefits.
12. Fruit Kabobs and Dips
Fruit kabobs are a fun and mess-free way to enjoy fruit while camping. Skewer a variety of fruits like strawberries, pineapple chunks, grapes, and melon cubes for a colorful and vitamin-rich snack. To keep things interesting, provide kids with an assortment of dips, such as:
- Yogurt: A creamy yogurt-based dip adds a protein boost and pairs well with most fruits.
- Peanut Butter: A peanut or almond butter dip adds a nutty twist and complements fruits like apples and bananas.
- Hummus: A savory hummus dip may appeal to older kids and is delicious with apple slices or jicama sticks.
13. Veggies and Creamy Dips
Lastly, don’t forget about veggies as a camping snack option. Raw vegetables like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, and bell pepper strips have a satisfying crunch and are packed with nutrients. Pair them with creamy dips for a delicious and healthy snack. Some choices include:
- Ranch: A classic ranch dressing is always popular with kids and can be made with Greek yogurt for added protein.
- Hummus: This versatile dip offers a change of pace from the usual ranch and is packed with protein and fiber.
- Guacamole: Avocado-based guacamole brings healthy fats and a creamy texture to the dipping experience.
By offering a variety of kid-friendly snacks, camping can become an enjoyable and nutritious adventure for everyone involved.
Desserts for Camping
14. Campfire Banana Boats
Campfire banana boats are a delicious and easy-to-make dessert for kids while camping. Start by cutting a slit lengthwise in a banana, leaving the peel on. Fill the slit with chocolate chips, marshmallows, or other desired toppings. Wrap the stuffed banana in aluminum foil and carefully place it on the campfire coals. After 5-10 minutes, remove the banana from the fire and let it cool for a bit. Use a spoon to scoop out the warm, gooey treat, and enjoy.
15. Pop Tarts
Pop Tarts are a simple and convenient option for campfire meals. Bring along a variety of flavors to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. To warm them up, wrap the pop tarts in aluminum foil and place them near the campfire, turning occasionally for even heating. After a few minutes, they’ll be warm, slightly crispy, and ready to eat. This no-fuss dessert is a hit among kids because of its familiarity and the fun of heating them up by the fire.
No camping trip is complete without chocolate. From classic s’mores to melting chocolate for dipping fruits, it’s a versatile and beloved dessert ingredient. Ensure you have marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars to create s’mores over the campfire. Alternatively, melt chocolate in a small pot or wrapped in foil and use it for dipping strawberries, apples, or pretzels. With chocolate, there’s a dessert option for every kid’s preference.
Meal Planning Tips
Prepping Meals for Picky Eaters
When planning camping meals for kids, it’s essential to consider their preferences and dislikes. Picky eaters may not be open to trying new or unfamiliar foods in the great outdoors. To make mealtime enjoyable for everyone, plan meals around kid-friendly favorites like hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and breakfast burritos. You can still introduce some healthy options without making it obvious: for instance, incorporate fruits and vegetables into the dishes where possible, like apple slices with peanut butter or vegetables in omelets.
Considering Dietary Restrictions
Account for any dietary restrictions when planning your camping meals for kids, like allergies, sensitivities, or lifestyle choices. For example, if a child is lactose intolerant or has a gluten allergy, make sure to include suitable alternatives. When shopping and packing food for the trip, double-check the ingredients, and consider using the following substitutions:
- Gluten-free pasta or bread for kids with gluten sensitivity
- Non-dairy milk for lactose intolerance
- Nut-free trail mix for those with nut allergies
Your Kids will Love Eating While Camping
Camping with children can be tricky, especially when it comes to meals–but it doesn’t have to be! Planning kid-friendly and kid-approved meals for your trip ensures that everyone ends up happy with full bellies.
We hope this list gives you plenty of ideas and inspiration for your next family camping adventure!
And for more meal ideas, check out this post on 12 One-Pot Camping Meals the whole family will love!
- About the Author
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Hey there, I’m Ryan, the face behind Beyond The Tent.
With decades of camping experiences, my journey into the wilderness began on the rustic trails of a farm in southern Minnesota, where my childhood was filled with explorations and camping by a picturesque river.
My family’s adventures across the United States, from the majestic Colorado mountains to the serene national parks and the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Northern Minnesota have given me a broad perspective. With each journey, whether in state parks or private encampments, and through the homely comfort of our camping trailers, we’ve amassed a trove of stories, experiences, and invaluable camping wisdom.