It’s that time of the year!! CAMPING SEASON! Camping has been one of our all-time favorite summer adventures. We’ve visited some beautiful hidden treasures over the years; our favorite thus far has been Bruce Peninsula. If you’re not sure what that is, Google it! It’s a National park that’s about 3.5 hours away from Toronto, filled with lots of forestry and magical scenery. And we promise, it looks EXACTLY like the pictures that you’ll find online!
Now onto the good stuff.. Aside from camping gear, one of the most critical concepts to prepare beforehand is: you guessed it, food! There are so many ways you can still enjoy your all-time favorite camping foods, while keeping them healthy, hearty, and plantbased!
Over the years, we’ve gained quite the experience learning about what foods are the most convenient, quick to prepare, and delicious for camping. We’ve come up with some great hacks that will not jeopardize your nature-filled adventure.
Here are some suggestions that we’ve had great luck with, along with a few pointers:
– Corn on the cob: this works best with the husk intact. Place it over the firepit (most campsites have fire-pits with bars clinging over them), and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes. With a fork or long wooden pick, carefully poke through occasionally to check for tenderness. We’ve brought Earth Balance in a large cooler before, but we’ve also had luck with lathering a bit of olive oil from a sealed container. Sprinkle with salt or your favorite spice.
– Potatoes: You can buy a bunch of potatoes and wrap them in foil to place over the fire/grill. Similarly, spread some Earth Balance and top with your favorite spices. We’ve also used pre-packed chopped green onions and Daiya cheese as toppings. Alternatively, you can also buy pre-packaged potatoes that are ready to cook.
– Veggie Shish-kabobs: this is something you would have to prepare prior to heading to the campgrounds. In a sealed container, chop up an array of mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, etc. Optional: you can marinate your favorite meat-alternative, such as tofu or tempeh in a sealed container. Make sure you bring the wooden sticks to assemble the veggies into. You can heat these over the fireplace, or a portable grill. Tip: soak the wood in water for a few hours so they do no burn.
– Veggie burgers and hotdogs: you don’t have to worry about fully cooking these over the fire, because they all mainly consist of plantbased ingredients 😉 Just bring a re-usable bag or sealed container with your favorite buns, alongside with pre-sliced tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, etc. Gardein has some of the best veggie burgers out there!
– Oatmeal: this is a hearty, satisfying and quick breakfast to have in the mornings! You can buy oatmeal containers (packed with dried fruits and nuts) that just require hot water! We boiled hot water in our portable camping pots/mugs over the fire.
– Cereal: if you’re not a fan of oatmeal, you can bring along cereal and a nut-milk to enjoy in a re-usable bowl. Our all-time favorite is Nature’s Path: they have an organic line of cereals which are made with flax, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and other grains.
– Sandwiches: Peanut butter and jam; versatile, delicious, and quick to prepare! There are tons of variations you can have when it comes to sandwiches. You can get pretty creative with veggie deli slices, grilled veggies, and hummus.
– Wraps: falafel, pre-made cooked veggies, or *just* raw veggies combined in a wrap! Beans, such as chickpeas and lentils, also make a hearty and protein-filled addition. Don’t forget to bring some hummus as a mayo/tzatziki alternative.
– Make-ahead meals such as pasta salads, eggless egg (tofu) salad, cooked quinoa with green veggies , mock tuna, stir-fry rice, etc. These are excellent to have as sides, or a meal on its own.
– Canned Chilli/Beans/Soups (such as Amy’s). We’ve heated these over a campfire in portable camping pots (which are a must!).
– Dehydrated fruits such as mango, pineapple, banana chips, etc.
– DIY Trail Mix: select your favorite treats at your local bulk store and combine them together! We love a combination of dates, dried mango, oat clusters, and goji berries. Keep these in a sealed container for optimum freshness.
– Protein/Granola bars: These are excellent for mid-day snacks or when you’re heading out on a trail. Vega and CLIF bars have some amazing options to choose from. You can purchase these at most grocery stores or a natural foods/health store.
– Primal Jerky Strips: high in protein, low fat, meaty textured jerky strips. These are also found in most natural foods/health stores.
– While we do recommend pre-cutting your fruits and veggies to reduce meal prepping, we’ve had some fruits and veggies turn ‘mushy’ in the heat. Therefore, if you’re a fruit-fanatic (like we are) bring some fruits in sealed containers (such as strawberries, blueberries, apples, oranges, raspberries, grapes, etc.) that are easy to snack on and do not require any preparation. Raw veggies that are great: carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, radishes, and mini cucumbers.
– If you or your children have a sweet tooth and enjoy bringing a few candy treats on your travels, Goody Good Stuff has a line of gelatin-free gummies ranging from sour bites to tropical fruits.
– Chips and Cookies: you’d be suprised as to how many chips and cookies are accidentally vegan (such as Doritos Sweet Chili Heat and Oreos)! Kettle has a wide variety of Non-GMO chips which are flavorful, crispy, and savoury! Enjoy Life offers decadent gluten-free, crunchy, and chewy cookies that pair up well with almond milk.
– Who can forget the most important treat in camping foods: S’MORES!! Dandies marshmallows (gelatin-free marshmallows which can be found in most grocery stores at the natural/health section, or Whole Foods), your favorite non-dairy chocolate, and graham crackers (Kinnikinnick which are now 100% vegan and gluten-free)!
– Pre-cutting your fruits and veggies: you will not have to use too many pots while cooking, you will also keep your campsite bear-proof by not making more of a mess, AND you’ll save so much time preparing the meals at your campsite. As a result: you’ll have more time to spend enjoying the nature!
– Camping cooking set: these mainly come with 1-2 campfire-safe pots and mugs (which are great for tea and coffee!) – Olive oil and condiments, such as ketchup or BBQ sauce (in airtight containers) and spices (in Ziploc bags) are great for flavoring your foods
– Re-usable utensils, sealed containers (for leftovers), recyclable/biodegradable plates/bowls are all essential eco-friendly tips that will minimize waste.
– Water: and lots of it to keep you hydrated in the heat!!! We normally bring a few large gallons of water, along with re-fillable/BPA-free bottles. Coconut water is also a great thirst-quencher to enjoy while hiking or enjoying the outdoors. If you or your kids enjoy fruit juices, Kiju has organic and no-sugar added juices.
Camping is a rewarding and exciting experience for you to share with your friends and loved ones. Being around nature is definitely healthy for our bodies and minds; so nourish yourself with healthy foods and enjoy your adventure
Veggie Shish-kabob sticks with marinated tofu, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms.
Corn on the Cob roasting over a flame. Be very careful when you peel the husk off!
Portable camping pans and pots can be purchased at Outdoor/Hardware stores, such as Canadian Tire. The pan pictured above has a foldable handle for easy storage.
Bean chilli and veggie burgers are delicious, versatile, and quick and easy to heat up.
Algonquin Park and Killbear Provincial park in Southern Ontario have remarkably spacious camp sites and phenomenal trails!