How to Plan a Camping Menu

How to Plan a Camping MenuCamping doesn't have to mean surviving on bologna sandwiches and s'mores. Planning your camp menu ahead of time allows you to put some thought into what would be the best and tastiest meals for your trip. This also allows the camp cook to know each day what needs to be prepared and cooked for each meal and prevents overpacking or underpacking of food and supplies.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Trip itinerary or calendar
  • Printer
 
Step 1
Check your trip itinerary or calendar to see how many breakfasts, lunches and dinners you'll need to plan. Make sure to note any plans that may dictate the prep time or method of any meals. For instance, if you are planning an all-day boating excursion, it doesn't make sense to plan an elaborate meal that needs to be prepared over the campfire. Match the meal to your daily activities.
Step 2
Make a general plan for each meal. On a blank sheet of paper, write down "Day 1 Breakfast, Day 1 Lunch" or "Friday Dinner, Saturday Breakfast." Leave a few lines to write in your food and drink plan for each meal. They should all include a main dish, a few side dishes, and a drink of some kind. Also be sure to plan a few snacks and desserts, just for fun.
Step 3
Plan some sort of protein as your entree, and use plenty of fruits and vegetables as side dishes to ensure maximum energy for your outdoor adventure. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans (see References below) includes information on the recommended daily calorie intake and which foods are important to include daily. Use these guidelines to help plan the meals for your camping trip, and your menu will be both delicious and healthy.
Step 4
Gather recipes for the meals you want to make. The U.S. Scouting Service Project offers a large collection of recipes that can be cooked over a campfire, in a foil packet or with a Dutch oven. As you collect the recipes, print them and place them in waterproof sheet protectors in a small binder. This will make them easily portable for the trip and give added protection from dirt and spills. Make sure the recipes produce the amount of servings you need to feed everyone on the trip, and make adjustments to the ingredient quantities if needed.
Step 5
Make a grocery list that includes the ingredients of all the recipes. Buy nonperishable foods at least a week in advance, but wait until just a few days before the trip to shop for foods that need to be refrigerated or frozen. Pack the food in waterproof and airtight bags or plastic containers in a well-insulated cooler. Check your supplies to make sure you've packed each spatula, spoon and mixing bowl that's needed for your meals.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Keep perishable foods cold with a fresh supply of ice in your insulated cooler each day. Take a meat thermometer to ensure meat and poultry are cooked to a safe temperature. Download the Partnership for Food Safety's Cooking Temperature Fact Sheet (see References below) and include it in your recipe binder for quick reference.
 
Keep perishable foods cold with a fresh supply of ice in your insulated cooler each day.
 
Take a meat thermometer to ensure meat and poultry are cooked to a safe temperature.
 
Download the Partnership for Food Safety's Cooking Temperature Fact Sheet (see References below) and include it in your recipe binder for quick reference.
 
Throw out foods that have been sitting longer than 4 hours. Be careful when cooking over a campfire. Foods, liquids and the pots they are cooked in can become extremely hot when cooking over an open flame. Watch food carefully to avoid burning it or starting an unplanned fire.
 
Throw out foods that have been sitting longer than 4 hours.
 
Be careful when cooking over a campfire. Foods, liquids and the pots they are cooked in can become extremely hot when cooking over an open flame.
 
Watch food carefully to avoid burning it or starting an unplanned fire.

Article Written By Myrrh Hector

Based in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Myrrh Hector has been a professional writer since 2007. Her work has appeared on Helpful Mother and other websites. Hector studied English at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and specializes in outdoor and health-related articles.

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