Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Beginner Skills

Family Camping: Fun Food

Meal-by-meal tips to please the whole family

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

At home, mealtime rules are carved in stone: Finish your broccoli, drink your milk, easy on the snacks. In the woods, however, you have a rare chance to loosen up. Here’s how to use food as a great motivator for all ages.

Breakfast Bring an Outback Oven ( and cook up some gooey cinnamon rolls or banana bread. Or jazz up instant-oatmeal packets with yogurt-covered raisins or scavenged blueberries.

Lunch Keep it simple with PB&J on bagels or pita, or cheese-and-salami sandwiches. Add water to dehydrated hummus mix and dip tortilla wedges. Slice up an apple or orange.

Dinner Is there a kid alive who doesn’t go nuts for a bowl of steamy mac ‘n’ cheese? Make perennial kid favorites–cheese quesadillas or pepperoni pizza–in your Outback Oven. Or try our Pizza-in-a-Bowl recipe (top right).

Dessert Make a batch of chocolate-chip cookies in the Outback Oven–the-slice-and-bake logs from the dairy aisle work great. And remember: It’s not a camping trip without s’mores (see ideas at right).

Snacks (read: bribes) can make or break your trip. Some tried-and-true favorites:

  • fruit snacks or leathers
  • gorp with a high candy-to-fruit-and-nut ratio
  • fan pops, push-up pops, ring pops, bubblegum tape, or anything novel
  • cheese sticks

Beverages Some kids get bored with water, so spike their H2O with a sweet drink mix. Bring cocoa packets (bonus points for mini-marshmallows) to serve at breakfast and dinner.


All four food groups crammed into one easy-to-fix meal

2 cups whole-wheat couscous

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

4 oz. mozzarella cheese

4 oz. pepperoni

1 small red bell pepper (it will stay fresh for at least 3 days)

At home Pack couscous and herbs in a zipper-lock bag.

In camp Boil 4 cups water. Meanwhile, finely dice the cheese, pepperoni, and bell pepper. Once the water boils, remove it from the stove and stir in the couscous-herb mix. Cover and let stand about 7 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in the remaining ingredients.

S’more Ideas for Dessert

A few of our favorite insanely sweet creations

>> Place a toasted marshmallow between two chocolate-chip cookies.

>> Substitute a peanut-butter cup for the chocolate bar.

>> Substitute vanilla wafers for graham crackers.

>> Smush a toasted marshmallow between two graham crackers until the white stuff oozes out the sides. Roll it like a wheel through a plate of M&M’s.

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.