Winter camping is an exhilarating experience, yet thorough food planning and preparation is essential. It would help if you had winter camping food ideas that are hearty, nutritious, and easy to prepare in cold weather conditions. In this guide, let us help you prepare your shopping list for your next winter camping trip’s meals.
Considerations for Winter Camping Food
- Calories: You will burn more calories adventuring in cold weather, so it’s important to pack plenty of high-calorie foods. An active person camping outdoors in winter should aim for 3,500-5,000 calories daily. If you’ve had a more active day, you’ll want to aim for the higher end of that range.
- Fats and Proteins: These nutrients provide sustained energy and keep you warm. Choose nuts, seeds, cheese, dried meats, and fatty fish for healthy fat and protein options.
- Carbohydrates: This is a nutrient that provides quick energy. The best carbohydrate-focused energy comes from complex carbs like whole grains and starchy vegetables over simple sugars.
- Fluids: Stay hydrated even in cold weather. Drinking plenty of water can be difficult when you’re feeling chilly. Heating your water, making hot cocoa, and sipping broth will keep you hydrated and warm up from the inside out.
- Ease of Preparation: When choosing winter camping food items, choose meals that are easy to cook and require minimal cleanup. Remember that you’ll prepare, cook, and clean up after your meal while exposed to the elements.
Easy Winter Camping Meal Ideas
Very few aspects of winter camping are easy, but luckily, your meals can be! Here we’re sharing winter camping food items that are easy to prepare and nutritious.
You burn more calories while being active in winter. You must begin your day with a hearty, nutrient-dense breakfast. Here are five great winter camping breakfasts.
- Overnight oats with dried fruits and nuts: Soak oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in milk or yogurt overnight. In the morning you can choose to eat this meal cold or add hot water to help you warm up.
- Warm granola with powdered milk: Mix instant oatmeal or granola with powdered milk and hot water for a quick and filling breakfast. Throw some fresh fruit and nut butter on top for additional flavor and calories!
- Pancakes: This breakfast item does require a little more preparation than the others, however, it’s still pretty simple. Throw your pancake mix in a shaker, add some oats and chia seeds, and then pour it out into a skillet. Top your warm pancake with nut butter and fresh fruit for additional nutrients.
- Tortillas with peanut butter and banana: Spread peanut butter on tortillas and top with sliced bananas for a portable and satisfying breakfast. Add berries and granola for additional nutrients and flavoring.
- DIY trail mix: Combine nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and granola for a customizable and nutritious snack. If you have a sweet tooth, you might ever find that adding a chocolate or peanut butter chip helps it hit the spot!
Lunchtime meals may require a bit more preparation, but fret not, for here are some easy food choices to keep you warm and fueled during cold winter camping adventures.
- Thermos Soups: Pack pre-made soups or stews in a thermos for a hot and hearty lunch. These are also easy to prepare over an open fire or camping stove. Pop the can, pour it in, and add your favorite toppings.
- Dehydrated Stew with Added Veggies: Rehydrate pre-packaged stew and add fresh or frozen vegetables for extra nutrients. Purchase your favorite rehydrated stew or make and dehydrate your own!
- Easy Rice: Cook instant rice with spices and top with your favorite toppings like cheese, beans, or vegetables. KAMUI Mixed Rice is a great option because it does not require cooking! Simply pour hot water, wait for 15 minutes, and savor the flavors.
- Sandwiches: There are a few sandwich classics but few pair better with winter weather than your classic grilled cheese or a toasted peanut butter and jelly.
- Camp Quesailla: Throw your favorite meats, vegetables, and cheese into a tasty tortilla and fry it up! Bring sour cream, salsa, and guacamole for tasty dipping.
Sit down after a long day of winter adventures with a warm dinner.
- Hearty Quinoa Bowl with Fixins: Combine cooked quinoa with roasted vegetables, mixed nuts, and dried fruits for a complete and flavorful meal. Add roasted chickpeas or canned chicken for easy protein options.
- Mac and Dogs: Saute up some onions in a pan alongside cheddar cheese hot dogs. While these are sizzling, prep your favorite mac and cheese. Cut up the dogs and add them, alongside the onions, to your mac for a hearty winter meal.
- Grilled Chicken Wraps with Avocado: Marinate chicken breasts and grill them over the campfire. Wrap them in tortillas with avocado, salsa, and cheese. Add veggies like fresh bell peppers and onions for additional flavor.
- Homemade Ramen: Prep your favorite veggies at home before frying them up in sesame oil in a pan at camp. Add chicken stock, canned chicken, and soy sauce, and let it simmer. Add ramen noodles and any toppings you love for a warm, hearty meal.
- Chili and Cornbread: Combine all of your favorite chili ingredients into a large pot and let them cook. Make cornbread over an open fire in a cast iron skillet. Add jalapenos to your cornbread for a bit of extra flavor!
Ten Tips for Cooking in Cold Conditions
There are some challenges that come with cooking in cold conditions. Here are a few winter camping tips you should keep in mind to ensure a successful cooking experience.
- Plan your meals ahead of time and pack all the ingredients you need.
- Line coolers with insulating materials to keep food from freezing.
- Use a camp stove for faster and easier cooking at camp.
- Build or bring a wind block to help with efficiency.
- Pre-chop vegetables and meats at home to save time.
- Melt snow for water instead of relying on streams or lakes, but know that this will use more fuel than running water.
- Pack insulated mugs and bowls to keep your food warm.
- Enjoy your meals in your tent or a sheltered area to stay out of the wind and snow.
- Bring water wipes to clean out your cookware after preparation.
Camping during cold weather conditions poses challenges, yet the experience can be both demanding and fulfilling. But with enough forethought, you can enjoy mouth-watering and nutrient-rich winter camping recipes that will keep you fueled for your adventure. So pack your bags, grab your appetite, and head out for a winter camping trip you’ll never forget!