When selecting food for camping, you have one main advantage over backpackers, and that is that you will have more space. So therefore you have more options open to you, when planning your trip. There are two trains of thought when planning meals for a camping trip, and they are, to cook or not to cook!
If you wanted some easy good food for camping without having to cook, then you might want to go down the dehydrated/freeze dried meal route. There are companies (such as Mountain House) who produce these meals and can be ordered online. They offer a wide variety of choice to the consumer from main courses to desserts that are very calorie controlled, nutritious, and filling at the same time. So these would fit the bill perfectly. The downside is that they are quite expensive to buy and if you were planning a lengthy trip, then you would probably need to take out a small mortgage to purchase the food.
Another alternative for not cooking when camping are MRE´s (meals ready to eat) these are rations pioneered by the American Army, and can be purchased at most Army Surplus Stores. They consist of a case of 12 meals, (one for each day containing main meal and dessert). They come with their own heating source and spoon with each meal. They are literally “ready to eat” and are reasonably cheap to buy. The downsides are that they come in cans, so they are quite bulky to carry, and there isn’t a great deal of choice. However there are vegetarian options available.
If however you like cooking when camping then your options are endless. It’s true that you don’t want to spend your entire camping trip slaving over a hot campfire; however with a little bit of planning and preparation, then you could eat really well quite cheaply.
Think of bringing items like pasta, and pulses. They will keep indefinitely and will not spoil, and are also versatile. Pulses make great additions to “one pot stews”, and pasta is great with a tomato sauce. Foil meals make great camping fayre because you can just place all ingredients like chicken or fish and top with fresh vegetables in a piece of tin foil, wrap it up and put it in the embers for approximately 20 mins or until done, Eureka!, an instant meal. Plan the night before what you are cooking and prep as much as you can. That way you will not have to start cooking from scratch when you have completed a hard day’s activities.
Personally I would prefer to cook, as in the end it would work out cheaper, and you know you are getting a healthy balanced meal and something that you enjoy as well. Yes it’s more work, but if you get your planning right, it really is no big deal.
For some more great info on food for camping, then check out More Food For Camping Ideas.