Camping favourites for fussy eaters
Fussy eaters and cooking for kids can be difficult when you’re camping, but keeping those super picky eaters happy is even tougher for the camp cook.
One of the best bits of advice I could give to make the whole process easier is just not to try and force them to eat too adventurously on your camping trip, that will come with time!
Although this blog does have a few tricks you can do to get in the veggies where you can, I’d recommend making some of their favourite foods on your camping trip.
And there’s no need to worry that you won’t be able to just because you don’t have an oven!
Mac and cheese
Mac and cheese has everything that picky eaters usually love – namely pasta and melted cheese. If you’d like to try out our fool proof recipe for a basic macaroni cheese, be sure to check out Macaroni Cheese or Vegetable Stew. It is an especially perfect camping meal that you can make in advance, and reheat once you get to the campsite.
Macaroni cheese (with secret veggies!)
But if this seems a bit unhealthy, and you’d like to try and add some veggies to the meal, then here is a great hidden veggie recipe that you can make in advance for camping. Start by cooking some macaroni pasta (or any pasta shapes that you have in the cupboard) in a pot until al dente. You can do this by cooking the pasta for two minutes less than it states on the back of the packet.
Add 120 ml water, 300g cauliflower florets, 200g diced butternut squash and 120g diced carrot to a pot over medium heat. Then cover with a lid and cook the vegetables until they’re tender. Then add everything to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the vegetable mixture back into the pot, then add 480ml milk, 200g grated cheddar cheese and 115g cream cheese. Stir until the mixture is smooth, then add the pasta back into the pot and mix until all the pasta is thoroughly coated in the sauce. To finish, just cover for 20 minutes on a low/medium heat.
Then add the mac and cheese to aluminium trays, you could add them to multiple smaller trays or one big one. Keep them in the fridge until you leave and then pack in freezer bags inside an ice box for camping. When you’re ready to eat, cover the top of the trays and place them onto a grill a couple of inches above a fire that has burnt down to its embers (make sure they’re spread out evenly). Then allow it to cook for 10-15 minutes until the mac and cheese is hot all the way through.
More pasta dishes for picky eaters
Another great creamy and cheesy camping meal is lasagne. And although this may be one of your child’s favourites at home, if you have a Dutch oven you can actually make this a camping meal as well! For a detailed recipe on how to make a Dutch oven lasagne, be sure to check out Camping Staple – Pasta.
This blog also contains loads of camping pasta recipes for your kid who refuses to eat anything other than pasta. It doesn’t have to be the same boring, pasta with sauce out of a jar every day- there’s so much you can do with pasta!
Although I’m sure any Italian would revolt at even calling these pizzas, they’re delicious and perfect for keeping any picky eaters happy.
Use a pitta or naan bread for your base, then add some pizza sauce from a jar on top. Top with a handful of grated cheese, and any toppings you’d like. You can go for fresh or sundried tomatoes, olives, onions, mushrooms, any other fresh veggies, some fresh basil and even the controversial ham and pineapple.
Then all you have to do is put the pizzas on a grill over the campfire that has burnt down to the embers and enjoy! You can always wrap it in foil if you’re worried about losing the filling.
If you’re feeling more adventurous and you have a dutch oven then have a go at a Dutch Oven Pizza.
Camping baked potatoes
Just because you don’t have an oven at your disposal, camping doesn’t mean you can’t make a baked potato for picky eaters who love to eat things with a potato base. Just prick the potatoes all over with a fork, rub in butter, and wrap in some sturdy tin foil. Then bury them in the embers of a campfire and allow to cook for around 45 minutes (depending on the size of the potato) and until soft and fluffy all the way through.
Top tip is to buy a packet of frozen part baked potatoes. They’ll naturally defrost if you don’t put them in your cooler and you can bake in same way as before but in less time.
You can enjoy these with whatever you usually have your baked potatoes with. Why not go for some butter, grated cheese, baked beans, coleslaw or any leftover salad, tuna mayo sweetcorn or anything else you feel like.
Talking of beans, how could we write a blog on camping with picky eaters and not mention the iconic beans on toast? This is a super quick and easy meal to whip up when you need to feed hungry kids, quickly. For loads of tips on how to make it a more nutritious meal, and even how to make your own camping beans from scratch, check out my don’t overlook the understated – Jazz up your Beans and cheese on Toast– fast happy food.
If you want to make beans on toast, or toast for any breakfast, lunch or dinner, here’s how! You can toast bread over your stove by heating up a tiny bit of oil in a saucepan over the camping stove and letting your bread toast for around 2 minutes on each side, or until it is browned to your liking.
Another option is to buy a campfire toaster, these come in all shapes and sizes and are often quite cheap. Or you could just use a camping fork or prongs with a long handle to toast your bread over the fire, just like you would toast a marshmallow.
Camping fried rice
This is another great meal for picky eaters, and also a fantastic way to use up food at the end of your trip. Preferably in a wok, scramble three large eggs until just cooked through, then set aside. Then fry a small chopped onion and a few cloves of chopped garlic for one to 2 mins. Then add any veggies you want, such as red pepper, carrot, mushrooms, some corn (even from leftover corn on the cob) and even some peas. To bring frozen peas camping, just store them in an ice box with lots of ice. Cook for another 2 mins and season.
Then add 600g leftover, cooked rice and cook for several minutes until the rice is completely heated through, making sure to break up any clumps of rice. Then add around 2 ½ tbsp soy sauce, ½ tsp five spice powder, some sesame oil and mix. Then add the scrambled eggs and stir to mix again. Enjoy while it’s still warm!
I hope you feel confident with some meal ideas that will feed the pickiest of eaters, and also the rest of the family will enjoy.
Hopefully, it has also shown you that cooking for kids while camping can actually be nutritious.
Here’s me signing out and thank you so much for reading.