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Recently my husband and I went on a week-long camping road trip in New York and then down through West Virginia. We camped out of our minivan, which I would highly recommend as it’s so easy and comfortable! Whenever we go on a trip like this, I always plan our meals ahead of time, so that we’re not eating out. It saves money and it’s significantly healthier!
Most camping meals are highly processed foods (ramen noodles, boxed rice or pasta, etc.) For several years now, I’ve scoured the internet for ancestral meals to cook while camping, and I have found no such suggestions! SO, I decided to write my own!
A bit about ancestral eating:
Ancestral eating focuses on local and nutrient-dense foods. It means eating head to tail, meaning all parts of the animal that can be consumed are consumed (organ meats, bone broth, and the more gelatinous cuts of meat). Ancestral eating is EXCELLENT for the human body, and leads to overall good oral and physical health! It’s really all about getting back to the basics of food.
Most foods that you would eat at home could theoretically be brought on a camping trip with enough preparation and the right tools. However, my goals were easy meals, few dishes, and little/no raw meat, as we use a cooler and then do our cooking and cleaning outside. That proved to be difficult since high-quality meats are a huge staple in ancestral eating. I also wanted lunches with minimal prep and little to no dishes. Usually, during the day, we’re out and about, so I wanted something quick and easy.
What we brought:
We brought a cooler, propane stove, small knife, pot, and skillet to cook with. We always bring two plastic plates, two plastic bowls, two spoons, and two forks. Instead of bringing a cutting board, we just chopped any veggies or meats on the plastic plates. We also bring a collapsable dishwashing bin to wash dishes in after meals. If you're interested, you kind find our gear here:
Our cooler (This is an expensive purchase, but WELL worth it, as it stays cold for many days! Also watch out for sales, as we were able to buy ours on sale and save a ton of money!)
Homemade energy balls
I made the recipe up for these energy balls on the spot, but they turned out SOO good! The ingredients are dates, oatmeal, walnuts, peanut butter, and collagen powder. They are calorically dense and full of bio-available proteins (mostly from the collagen powder)! I used organic ingredients and peanut butter that is free of seed oils and added sugar! They are super easy to eat for a quick breakfast or an on-the-go hiking snack!
Yogurt and homemade granola with fruit
Opt for a high-protein yogurt like Greek yogurt and a granola free of seed oils or other additives. I made my granola ahead of time because it's super easy and I can easily use whole, organic foods at home. I used oats, walnuts, maple syrup, butter a bit of vanilla in mine.
You can use any fruit that you like, but I opted for raspberries.
Eggs on sourdough toast
This meal does require using a skillet, which means an additional dish to wash, but it’s one of my favorite breakfasts, so worth it to me! You can add avocado for a bit of extra fat, fiber, and flavor!
Cheese, salami, and crackers
This is a go-to lunch for me! Camping or not, it’s a favorite. I used organic, nitrate-free salami with clean ingredients and organic pepper-jack cheese, and I added some carrots and fruit to the side. I also use Mary's crackers as they're made with clean, all-organic ingredients.
BLTs do take a bit of extra work but are still very easy to make for lunch while camping. The key to keeping this meal quick and easy is to precook the bacon and keep it in a plastic bag in the cooler. You can also pre-wash and cut the lettuce and tomato. I opt for homemade mayo to avoid unwanted additives like seed oils, but there are brands out there with really good clean ingredients, like Primal Kitchen.
Pre-made chicken salad on sourdough
This is also a super easy meal. I made the chicken salad ahead of time and kept it cool in the cooler. Again, I opt for either homemade mayo or a good brand like Primal Kitchen to avoid seed oils.
Chicken and rice
Don't let the photo fool you into thinking this is a bland meal! We heavily seasoned this chicken, so it's a delicious dish! You can either bring pre-cooked shredded chicken or find a good brand of canned chicken. I also used store-bought bone broth instead of water to cook the rice, which added tons of flavor and boosted the nutrient content of this meal! I also measured out seasonings beforehand into a plastic baggie, so that I did not have to pack individual seasonings.
Potatoes, chicken sausage, bell peppers, onion hash
This is one of my FAVORITE meals we ate while camping. It does take the most prep work as everything has to be chopped, but it’s well worth it. I opted for pre-cooked sausages and brought potatoes, onion, and bell pepper from my garden (that’s why the potatoes are purple). The only thing that needs to be kept cold is the sausage. The veggies don’t need to be stored in the cooler. The key to this meal is to use a good amount of butter to cook everything and dice the potatoes into very small cubes so that they don’t need to be boiled beforehand.
Hamburgers on sourdough
This was the one raw meat we brought with us. We brought frozen patties with us and ate this meal early in the trip to prevent the patties from thawing and potentially leaking into the rest of the cooler. We used sourdough bread instead of traditional buns because I have not found a brand of buns with clean ingredients.
Chips and salsa (I opt for Siete chips as they're made with avocado oil.)
Fruit and peanut butter
Pre-mixed adrenal cocktails
This is one of my favorite hacks! Instead of packing orange juice, coconut water, trace mineral drops, and salt all separately, I simply pre-mixed a batch in a bottle of orange juice before leaving. We stored it in the cooler and poured a little cup whenever we wanted. Read more about adrenal cocktails here!
We always bring our own water with us when we go on a trip. We started doing it years ago because we didn’t like the taste of tap or bottled water in other cities, but now we do it because our water at home is filtered. We use a large 3-gallon bottle for most of our water, but we also freeze plastic water bottles at home to use as ice packs in our cooler. On a longer trip, the ice will eventually melt and we will have a few bottles of additional drinking water. At that point, we buy a bag of ice to put in the cooler.
I hope you enjoyed this post! These 3 days of eating looked a bit different from our normal routine, as we usually don't eat that many nuts, peanut butter, or oats, but these foods are convenient and can be prepped in a way that they're easy to pack and eat on the go.
As always, eating well is not about being perfect! We definitely stopped at Subway driving out to New York and definitely did not pass up donuts at an apple orchard!
Want to know more about ancestral eating? See my other posts: