Summer vacation is the perfect time to pack up the car, hit the road, and go camping with the family. But spending days in the car (and at the campsite) can make it difficult to keep up your healthy diet.
It’s not always easy to find affordable and quick spots that are also healthy to eat on the road – especially if you’re headed through smaller towns on your way to a state or national park for some time in the woods. Cooking lots of fresh vegetables from scratch requires cutting boards, knives, peelers and seasonings that can take up a lot of extra space in your car and be inconvenient to wash with limited amounts of water. All of this is front of mind when our team members are planning for a camping trip, on top of battling with the kids’ desire to eat all the traditional camping foods: s’mores, hot dogs, and trail mix.
As tasty as they might seem in the moment, traditional campsite foods and highway offerings are not only less than perfect for your health, they’re also not the best for providing the energy you need for hiking, camping and other outdoor activities!
So what can you do if you want easy-to-prepare, healthy food on your camping trip? The answer is simple: take frozen vegetables camping!
Why Take Frozen Vegetables Camping
Camping trips mean spending a lot of your time outside hiking, swimming, and setting up your site. These activities are great for your outdoor spirit but can also be a lot of hard work for your body, especially if you’re under the sun all day. Frozen veggies provide key nutrients for your days outdoors, making sure you have the energy to enjoy your time in nature and with your friends and family.
If you’re worried about storing and preparing frozen vegetables for camping, we’ve got you covered. Check out our tips for the best way to get healthy camping foods:
Storing Frozen Food
When it comes to saving frozen vegetables for camping, there are a couple of options. Obviously, for backpackers, frozen foods are a no-go. But if you’re a car-camper (as many of us with small children are), a cooler makes it possible to eat veggies with minimal prep even far out in the woods.
Keeping Frozen Food Frozen in a Cooler for Shorter Trips
If you’re taking a shorter 1-2 day trip, storing your frozen veggies is easy. As long as you plan on eating them within 24 or 48 hours, all you need to do is pack your favorite vegetables in an insulated container or cooler covered with ice. Here’s how…
- Place a layer of ice or frozen water bottles on the bottom of the cooler, then add your bags of frozen vegetables.
- Keep frozen foods at the bottom of the cooler to ensure that they stay perfectly frozen until you’re ready to cook them.
- Cover frozen foods with a solid layer of ice, making sure that all the nooks and crannies between your food are filled in with ice cubes, then put “refrigerated foods and beverages at the top of the cooler.
At your campsite, make sure to store your cooler in a shady area and don’t open it more than necessary. The less you open it, the slower the ice inside will melt.
Keeping Frozen Food Frozen in a Cooler for Longer Trips
Taking a longer trip? No worries — you can still bring frozen vegetables with you! You can store frozen vegetables for up to 3-4 days with some dry ice and an insulated container. The higher quality your cooler, the longer it will help keep food frozen. If you have enough dry ice, you can portion out your veggies and eat them for several days of your camping trip!
Want more tips on how to pack a cooler like a pro? Check out this article from Fresh off the Grid.
Preparing Frozen Food at a Campsite
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that storing frozen vegetables at a campsite is easy. And guess what? Preparing them is too!
Option 1: Cook with a Cast Iron Skillet over a Campfire
As we’ve shown above, a cast iron skillet is a great option when you’re camping at a campsite that has a fire ring with a grate attached. Cooking in a cast iron skillet over a campfire is very similar to cooking on your stove at home. Here’s how:
- Start a fire in your fire ring and place the grill across the top.
- Place your skillet on the grate and allow it to heat up for minute or two.
- Add olive oil and follow the instructions for stovetop preparation for your frozen vegetables, but note that you may need to stir more frequently if the flames are higher.
- When done, remove from heat (be careful, the skillet handle will be hot, too!), serve and enjoy!
Option 2: Cook Frozen Vegetables with Aluminum Foil for Easy Clean Up
One simple tip for cooking frozen veggies when water for cleanup is limited or if your fire ring doesn’t have a grate: bring along some aluminum foil! You can easily cook vegetables on a campfire with aluminum foil. If you want to prepare your veggies this way, follow these steps:
- Get your fire going and spread some coals to one side.
- Wrap your veggies up in your aluminum foil, and make sure they’re sealed up!
- Once you have your vegetable packets ready, set them on top of the hot coals (not directly on the fire).
- Cook according to the time noted on the package, but you may need to shake or flip the foil package to ensure the veggies inside don’t burn.
- Remove them from the fire, unwrap, and eat!
Option 3: Cook Your Veggies on a Camping Stove
Another way to prepare frozen vegetables is with a camping stove. Camping stoves are great for campsites that don’t allow open campfires or campers who want to have more control over the heat. You can choose from a wood-burning or gas stove, and a variety of sizes for any number of members on your camping trip.
For a camping stove, just bring along a skillet and follow these steps:
- Take out your skillet and fire up your stove.
- Follow the instructions for stovetop preparation with your frozen vegetables, just like you would at home.
- Voila! Eat and enjoy your favorite veggies.
Take Tommy’s Superfoods Camping
Frozen vegetables are a great way to get nutrients and fuel up your body for outdoor activities. Eating healthy when camping doesn’t have to be a hassle!
Tommy’s makes it easy to bring your healthy diet with you on your next camping trip. Our products are pre-cut, pre-seasoned, and easy to portion out and save for later. And because they’re pre-seasoned, you won’t have to pack spices and seasonings that take up valuable space in your car.
If you want to take Tommy’s on your next camping trip, we recommend keeping our veggies in their packaging at a temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Make sure any excess liquid in your insulated container from melting ice is drained regularly too. When you’re ready to eat, just pick your favorite to pop on the fire, or follow our instructions for stovetop cooking on a camping stove. It’ll be the most satisfying dinner you’ve ever eaten under the stars.