Michelle Barrington, from Gee You’re Brave, shares her most important food tips for easy family camping.
The word camping makes most people think about toasted marshmallows. Beyond sweet holiday treats, how should you prepare to ensure your hungry tribe is well-fed when camping with kids?
1. Make a list of meals and snacks
Think ahead! If you are bush camping then this is even more important. It can be easy to plan for three main meals each day, but don’t forget the snacks. Being out in the fresh air can leave kids hungry (and adults with no time to relax). Remember to keep recipes simple and aim to reduce the number of ingredients in each meal. Also consider the utensils required for cooking.
2. Prepare before you go
We always do prep work before we leave and most other campers we know are the same. Pre-mix ingredients for items such as pancakes and carry them in a zip lock bag. Our best tip is to pre-scramble eggs into zip lock bags. If possible cook a meal at home and freeze it before you leave. This makes for a quick dinner if you have had a long drive and wrestled to put up the tent.
3. Pack two eskies and clear boxes for food
Many families take more than one esky with them on a camping adventure. If kids are always coming back to the campsite looking for a drink and opening up the esky then you will never have a chance of keeping food cold. Take one esky which has drinks and snacks (which kids may be tempted to enter). Take a second esky for the bulk of your perishable food. Do NOT store either esky in the heat of the car and rotate their position during the day to keep them in the shade. In the second esky LAYER YOUR FOOD. Pack your esky in the order in which you will eat the food so that you are only ever reaching for the items on the top. Freeze bottles of water (if you add a tiny bit of salt the bottle will remain frozen for longer) and use ice bricks. This will keep your esky colder than using loose ice bought from a servo.
All pantry items and utensils can be organised in clear plastic boxes to simplify the camp cooking process.
4. Food ideas
For first time family camping here are some easy meal suggestions:
· Pre-scrambled eggs with bacon. Or dip pieces of toast into the egg mix and have French toast.
· Bagels will not squish like bread and may be a more filling option.
· Weetbix with fruit.
· Pre-mixed pancake batter.
· Jaffles are an easy lunch option that works well in hot or cold weather. Combine with a piece of fruit.
· Hot dogs with frankfurts are easier to cook than sausages in a bun, and frankfurts tend to last longer in the esky.
· Baked potatoes – prebaked and frozen at home. Add mince or topping of choice.
· Bolognese gnocchi – gnocchi is quick to cook and travels better than spaghetti.
· Pizzas –you can bring easy to pack toppings such as avocado, cheese, salami, olives and cold meat.
· Pre-prepared chicken skewers with salad – skewers will freeze easily and are quicker to cook than a larger piece of meat.
· Pre-prepared foil packages – a piece of fish with all the vegetables inside, wrapped in foil. This is then steamed over the campfire or stove burner. A nutritious and mess free meal.