I just returned from a week of hanging out with my husband, 3 kids, dog and a camper. It was our first camping experience since having 3 kids. It was actually the first camping outing I have done since I was a kid. I was kind of dreading it…because to me I would be doing the same things I do at home, but I would be surrounded by more dirt and red ants than usual. Ok, enough of the negative thoughts! So we survived and really the worst part was the bickering between the kids, which seemed to echo in the outdoors! The best part for me was the meal planning. And the best part of the trip was when I was sent into town to the store to get food for dinner! To me, camping means cooking in the outdoors—to you too? There is currently a ban of open fire cooking in any Florida state park—boo!, but understandable. We used our outdoor stove on the outside of the camper and it was great! Here is how I fed my family for 3 days:
Day 1: leftover fried chicken with skin removed–that a friend brought to our July 4 party…it was good to start with a food we just reheated. I also made a pesto pasta and mango chutney. So day 1 was super easy and was a nice ice breaker since we were starving after setting up the camp late in the day. S’mores rounded out the night and was dessert for the remaining nights too!
Breakfasts: boiled eggs and whole grain toast with jam or oatmeal, bananas, coffee, milk (Clif bar and coffee latte for me—and they were hungry for lunch before I was!).
Lunches were a quinoa/vegetable salad I made ahead of time at home and packed on ice. By the way: I really wished I would have brought a thermometer for the mini fridge in the camper. I sure did not trust the temp in there, so I kept the quinoa salad, a small amount of milk and cheese in the cooler on ice. Next time it is a must! The kids also had whole grain pb&j for lunches with fruit cups or fresh fruit and granola bars. We burned so much energy with swimming, biking, hiking, walking and running. They slept hard each night and I offered high-energy foods when they were hungry: cashews, almonds, 4-ounce 100% juice boxes, slices of cheese and fresh fruit along with water, of course.
Dinners: ground chicken burgers (fresh meat mixed with onions, peppers, seasoning and served on Cuban bread with shredded cheese, fresh papaya with lemon on the side-so good!
I asked my husband what he would have picked up for dinner if he was sent to town. Of course he said “something already prepared”. It is so easy to do that, right? Go through a drive through for burgers, pizza or whatever. But we want our kids to learn how to survive by preparing their own meals. So I encourage you this summer to keep on grilling, checking out the farmer’s markets and making meals with your kids. We DO have more time now than during the school year…so take advantage of this time. They will be on their own sooner than we think……