I am super excited to share this post with Ideas for Camping Meals and Hiking Snacks from my recent camping trip. Being in Yosemite for 7 days and being responsible for prepping and cooking dinner each night, for 8 – what an absolute honor and a task. Calling upon my knowledge as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and bringing my food blogger vibes, all while keeping it easy, accessible and making everyone happy – that may have been one of my favorite food challenges, to date.
Obviously (and selfishly) all the food I cooked for the week had to be gluten-free with options for being paleo-friendly, as there were three of us that ate this way. The rest of the group could eat everything, which made it quite easy. Given that the days were filled with epic, day-long hikes, some as long as 14 hours and 22 miles or boot camp style workouts and yoga, I also wanted to be sure I was nourishing everyone adequately and providing high-quality, nutrient-dense food while keeping it affordable and doable given the restricted nature of camp cooking. Also full disclosure, I still wanted to keep it all fun and campy, because after all, camping is a time to relax, let loose and have a good time.
Below you will find all of the meals I cooked for the week, along with links to recipes where appropriate and info on how I made it happen. At the bottom you will also find some suggestions for hiking and trail snacks, supplements, etc.
These may not be the best photos, I left my DSLR camera at home and chose to just enjoy the trip and relish in the moments rather than focusing on food styling and perfection. So, instead we have lots of iPhone shots from myself and my girl Natasha of The Feisty Kitchen, who also coincidentally makes a really rad prep and sous chef / partner in crime.
A Week of Camping Meals
Sunday: Organic Poultry Chorizo Sausages*, Cast Iron Sweet Potato and Greens Hash with Onions and Garlic
Utilizing just the camp fire for our first meal, I laid some foil down so the sausages wouldn’t stick to the permanent grate that is situated over the fire pit. I cooked up the hash in the large Finex cast iron skillet, starting first with diced fresh onions and garlic and cooked in some Terra Delyssa Organic Olive Oil. I covered the pan to let the heat steam the potatoes for a bit, before removing the lid to let them crisp up. I added the greens right at the end, just before serving, to gently wilt. I seasoned the potatoes with Balanced Bites Diner Blend Seasoning Mix. This is a recipe for sweet potato and poblano hash that would be also be great.
Monday: Organic Turkey* Chili with Sweet Potato and Kale
I cooked this chili in my 6-quart Enamel Dutch Oven Pot on the camping stove, so that I could control a nice low heat for a prolonged low and slow cook. This chili was basically a combination of these two recipes: Beef Chili and Chicken Chili with Squash and Kale. The not-so-secret ingredients in every pot of chili I make – a bar of super super dark chocolate and a little cinnamon. I went heavy on the chipotle as well, because I like the smokey flavor. I added in the sweet potatoes early in the cooking, just before I added the canned tomatoes, so they would fully cook through. The greens got added right at the end prior to serving, stirred in to wilt down. I cooked up some canned organic beans on the side for anyone that preferred beans. For toppings we had shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onions and avocado.
Taco Tuesday: Grass-fed Beef* Tacos with Mexican Rice
It doesn’t get much more simple than this. In a cast iron pan I cooked up the grass-fed ground beef with diced onion and minced garlic and seasoned it all with Balanced Bites Taco and Fajita Seasoning Blend. Adding additional ground cumin, because I can’t get enough of the stuff. The meat was ready in minutes and I charred the tortillas over one of the open burners on the camp stove. For toppings we had shredded lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, various salsas and hot sauces, cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onions and avocado. I made a small batch of rice and made it Mexican-style by adding some salsa, chipotle powder, onion and a little cilantro just before serving. If you tolerate corn, I recommend a high-quality organic, sprouted corn tortilla. For grain-free / paleo tacos simply opt for grain-free tortillas or lettuce for wrapping.
Wednesday: Grass-fed Hamburgers*, Avocado Oil Potato Chips
This was the night of the half dome hike, 14 hours on the trails for the 6 of us, so I left the burgers to my girl Natasha because I knew I would be beyond exhausted. She pan fried the burgers in the cast iron on the camp stove, to control them and we left it super simple with the sides and opted just for quality avocado oil potato chips. Sometimes ya just gotta let go of the nutritionist in you and live life! For grain-free / paleo opt for lettuce-wrapped burgers and swap in sweet potato chips or whatever side you are into. Obviously some veggies would have been nice here, but I was dead to the world after 22 miles of hiking so burgers and potato chips were perfection! We used Sir Kensington’s Ketchup, Avocado Mayo and Spicy Brown Mustard for condiments.
Thursday: Grain-free Salmon Cakes, with Sprouted Quinoa and Wilted Greens with Shallots and Bacon
I wanted to have a meal option that didn’t require a fresh/frozen protein that had to be stored cold, just to cut down on the amount of storage space needed for the week. These simple salmon cakes were a perfect option. I made them from canned wild caught salmon, used almond flour instead of cassava flour and whipped up a super quick Old Bay Aioli with some Sir Kensington’s Avocado Mayo, a little Old Bay Seasoning and some fresh lemon juice. For those that wanted more carbs I cooked up some sprouted quinoa in chicken broth with a little garlic. For the greens, I cooked up 4 slices of bacon in the cast iron skillet, removed and chopped, then added shallots to the bacon grease, cooked until they were caramelized, added the baby spinach and baby kale blend, to the pan, cooked them down until wilted and added the chopped bacon back just before serving. Seasoned with salt and pepper, to taste.
Friday: Grass-fed NY Strip Steaks*, Crispy Cast Iron Potatoes, Sautéed Zucchini and Summer Squash
The last night of camping deserved an epic meal to celebrate an incredible week! We had beautiful 8-ounce grass-fed NY Steaks from Diamond Mountain Ranch that I cooked over an open fire, to everyone’s preferred done-ness. I keep my steaks super simple, they get a gentle rub down with a little olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. For medium-rare over a hot fire, they get about 3-4 minutes a side, give or take a few minutes depending on the heat. When I take them off, they get another coating of freshly ground black pepper, a sprinkle of Maldon flaked salt and a pat of grass-fed butter. Let rest. The potatoes were waxy baby potatoes, a blend of red bliss and Yukon gold, both of which hold up well to high heat pan cooking/grilling. I made these in the large cast iron skillet over the open fire. They got an epic amount of olive oil and butter to keep from sticking and just like the sweet potatoes, I gave them some time with the lid on to steam before taking the lid off to get crispy. I cooked them up with onions and garlic. The summer squash got a simple saute on the camp stove in a cast iron with garlic, olive oil and dried herbs.
Breakfast Ideas: For the mornings we were at camp and didn’t trek out early for a hike, we generally had eggs and bacon somehow. Scrambled eggs, fried eggs to order, etc. Some mornings we cooked up breakfast potatoes, one morning we used the leftover taco stuff and made an epic breakfast taco spread complete with fresh guacamole. Most mornings I at my eggs and bacon with a massive pile of greens, on the side, half an avocado when we had them. I had packed the stuff to make chia puddings for on-the-go fuel, and we had the option of instant oatmeal for anyone not gluten-free, that preferred a more carb-focused start, but generally everyone stuck to eggs and bacon! We also cooked up a few dozen hard boiled eggs to have on hand for the mornings where we were off to hike before dawn. Of course, every morning started with some percolated organic hot coffee, thanks to Thunderking Brewing.
Snack ideas/ Trail Food: Hard Boiled Eggs, Phat Fudge, Paleo Valley Grass-fed Beef Sticks**, Trail Mix, Lorissa’s Kitchen Grass-fed Beef and Organic Chicken Jerky, Mammoth Bars, Kind Bars, Rx Bars, fresh fruit, bananas, apples and berries, pistachios, cashews and other nuts. We tried to have a little something for everyone. For the long day hikes we packed sandwiches made ahead of time with quality deli meat (I always recommend True Story, Fork in the Road or Applegate brands), for a nice mid-day meal lunch break. For us gluten-free folk we either lettuce-wrapped or used Canyon Bakehouse’s Heritage-Style Whole Grain Gluten-free Bread. We used Sir Kensington’s Avocado Mayo and Spicy Brown Mustard for condiments.
Drinks: We brought along a Berkey Water Filtration system to be sure our water was as pure and clean as possible. In addition, to maximize electrolyte replenishment and for additional options, we had Maple Water and C2O Coconut Water on hand for the week. Full disclosure, there may have also been some rosé and possibly some bourbon consumed, too. Just sayin’.
Supplements: We had MCT Oil Powder from Pure Keto and Vital Proteins’ Collagen Peptides for our morning coffees, along with the Bone Broth Collagen single-serve packets. We had the Vital Proteins’ Veggie Blend Greens Powder on hand for stirring into water or coconut water, for a boost on the days where we didn’t have quite as many fresh veggies in our meals as I would have liked. I took my daily Vital Proteins Beef Liver Capsules (a great source of Vitamin A, B12, copper, folate, choline, and hyaluronic acid, etc), but it was really nice to be able to share this with the group to make sure everyone was getting enough nutrients to fuel the long, epic days. I also never leave the house without activated charcoal, great for protecting your gut from unwanted stuff, toxins, bugs
(ahem too much booze), for this trip we brought the Bulletproof Coconut Charcoal. We also had Redmond’s Real Salt both for cooking, but I also personally used it on the trails while hiking, as it is a great source of trace minerals and electrolytes for a sweaty, long hike. Literally I just sprinkle a little on my tongue, you can also just add a pinch to your water bottle. I, of course, also took my daily turmeric and magnesium (among my few other other daily supplements). I take turmeric daily for inflammation and the magnesium for muscle recovery/relaxation and better sleep.
*All of the meats on our camping trip are 100% grass-fed and raised responsibly from Diamond Mountain Ranch.
** Use coupon code “yosemite” to save 30% site-wide with Paleo Valley until August 22.