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 (backpackerspantry.com) 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.