Ahh…it’s that time of year again: Summer. With this wonderful season brings outdoor adventure, hiking, swimming, and best yet, camping. BBQing is the great American past time, but what do you do if you don’t eat meat? Planning ahead and making most of your meals at home is a great way to eat a delicious meal with the rest of the folks. Here a few tips for planning ahead and pleasing the vegetarian and omnivore crowd alike:
1. Plan your menu.
Eating outdoors for a picnic is a whole different experience compared to camping for several days in a secluded area. Planning a menu is a great way to pack the right kinds of meals for you and your loved ones. Make sure to incorporate vegetables, protein, omega-3’s, and carbohydrates into your menu. Plan for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner for each day you are away. Though this may seem like a lot, remember your loved ones can eat the same thing for several days.
2. Grocery shop a day or two before.
There’s nothing more discouraging then trying to prepare a big spread if you don’t have the right ingredients. Plan your menu before you head to the store to ensure you have all the right ingredients to feed your loved ones.
3. Recruit some help.
Depending on how many people you are planning to feed, preparing a few days worth of meals beforehand can take about an hour or two. Ask for help, if you need, for dishes, chopping, or even cooking some parts of the meal. Cooking together also makes for a great bonding experience with whomever you are with.
4. Prepare as much as you can before you depart.
Making most of your meals before you leave on a big camping trip can save you time later to enjoy being with friends and family and the beautiful scenery. Boiling pasta, cooking rice, chopping salad ingredients, etc. can make your life a littler easier too: less dishes and less waste. Try to prepare as many dishes as possible before you leave. And don’t forget to pack the cooler with all your tasty creations before you head out of the driveway!
Here’s a few ideas of easy to make vegetarian and vegan dishes with great nutritional value and lots of yummy flavor for your next camping adventure:
• Penne Pasta with garlic, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and Parmesan cheese
• Kidney and Garbanzo bean chopped salad with all your favorite toppings
• Hummus and Pita
• Black Bean Chili with crusty bread and avocado
• Guacamole and Tortilla Chips
• Veggie Platter with baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and your favorite dressing
• Tabbouleh salad with parsley, tomatoes and olives
• Fried rice using leftover rice, sauteed veggies, and egg (if you desire)
• Decadent Vegan Brownies (for your sweet tooth)
All of these dishes can be served cold and some can be heated easily in a skillet or pot to serve in less than 15 minutes. Packing healthy snacks helps keep the kids (and parents, friends, family) healthy and avoids filling them up on junk food. Don’t forget to pack a tasty little sweet treat for everyone as well like a vegan easy-to-bake dessert or fresh fruit. These keep well and are easy to serve once prepared.
Why not enjoy a home cooked meal while enjoying the great outdoors? Planning ahead is a great way to ensure your family has a fun, healthy and exciting adventure while spending some quality time in nature.