Your kids may know how to cook at home. But can they also cook while camping? While some things may be the same or similar, there are different techniques when it comes to preparing food without a kitchen. Being able to cook in the wild is an important survival skill for kids. Plus, it’s something impressive they can brag about to their friends. Our family enjoys camping and the outdoors and is well-versed on what to do with food in these situations.
Food safety is key. Keeping the food safe while camping is a little different than doing so in your kitchen. Kids should know that keeping meat cold involves making sure there is plenty of ice that is kept cold. The meat should be in the ice at all times unless being cooked or served. The same goes for anything else that needs refrigeration, such as milk or cheese. When we go camping, we try to eliminate as much refrigerated food as possible. Be sure the kids know food safety also includes keeping the food stored where wild animals cannot take advantage of the situation. Tightly sealed containers help ward off nature’s intruders. Remind the kids not to leave anything out in the open for too long and to keep food containers closed. The USDA has a more extensive guide to food safety while in the outdoors. Remember that these are just kids. So, adults will need to assist with certain things, depending on the ages of the children.
Foil wrapping keeps it simple for kids. Most any meal you can think of has a foil method. Place the ingredients in a thick wrap of foil and stick it over the fire for the required time period. Be sure to pull it out and check occasionally. If your child is old enough and understands fire safety, you can give them that responsibility. Some foil meal ideas include beef stew, fish and potatoes, eggplant Parmesan, and lemon chicken. Many desserts can also be prepared this way.
Put it on a stick. This method helps cook the food evenly and also keeps the kids at more of a distance from the fire. It’s also a really simple way to get kids involved in cooking at the campfire. Things that can be cooked on a stick or skewer include hot dogs and other sausages, apples, vegetables, sliced meats and fishes, and more. You can have the kids make kabobs or roast the items by themselves, depending on what they are. Don’t forget the marshmallows!
Have plenty of easy-access food available. Dried fruits, crackers, trail mix, and peanut butter are great foods to have readily available while camping. These will keep the kids full and help provide nutrition. Most kids can spread peanut butter over crackers. Trail mix can be used as a snack as well as to accent meals and desserts. Younger kids may not be able to do as much. But letting them throw in the trail mix can help them feel like they’ve contributed to the cooking.
Easy Camping Recipes Kids Can Make or Help With:
Chocolate Banana Melt
For this one, kids need a banana, a chocolate bar, some trail mix, and a handful of mini marshmallows. Cut a slit down the center of a banana with the peel still on. Place the marshmallows, chocolate and trail mix inside the peel. Wrap in foil and place over grill or fire until the banana is heated and the chocolate and marshmallows have melted. Yum!
Sausage in a Biscuit
For this one, kids can actually use any type of sausage or frank. So, this will work for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Simply take a hot dog, breakfast sausage, or any other link and place it on a skewer or roasting stick. Then, dip it into biscuit batter and roast over the grill or open fire. The heat cooks the link as well as the biscuit. Corn bread batter and pancake batter will also work for this simple camping meal.
Basic Camper’s Meal
For this recipe, all you need is a type of meat or fish and assorted vegetables. Suggestions include potatoes, carrots, onions, and bell peppers. Vegetarians can cook this same meal without the meat. For added protein, soy beans, spinach, and nuts can be an alternative to the meat. Dice up all the ingredients and wrap them in foil. Season to taste and place over grill or fire long enough to thoroughly cook the meat. The vegetarian recipe will cook faster than the one containing the meat. The kids like foil recipes like this because they can mix up a bunch of stuff.
*Note that the author is not a nutritional specialist and the advice herein is based solely on her personal experiences. Always consult your child’s pediatrician for proper diet recommendations.
More from Lyn:
Tips for Backpacking with Kids
Best Hiking Snacks for Kids
Raising kids who love the outdoors