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What’s the best way to eat when camping?

Campsite Ile de Ré > Camper tip > Eating well when camping

Synonymous with a return to nature, rejuvenation and a revitalizing break, camping isn’t always the healthiest place to eat. Cooking habits are turned upside down by the somewhat basic comforts, limited space and lack of equipment. If you love outdoor meals, the picnic spirit and getting back to basics, it can sometimes be difficult to diversify your meals on a camping vacation. In a camper van, tent or caravan, follow our advice to vary your pleasures and eat well at the campsite!

Cooking with limited equipment

Because you can’t take all your pots and pans camping, and you may have to make do with two hotplates or even a single stove, you’ll need to give priority to cooking dishes that can be prepared in a single large dish. This is true of all great mixed salads, but also of hot dishes like pasta, rice or quinoa, spiced up with pesto, cheese, tuna or mushrooms.

Save time and cook in a small space

Vacations in a motorhome or caravan don’t have to be all about chips and sausages! To enjoy elaborate dishes during your camping vacation without tiring yourself out, consider taking along preparations you’ve made before your departure in the comfort of your own home.
If you’re equipped with a small refrigerator or a quality cooler, these preparations will allow you to cook complex dishes at the campsite, simply by skipping the steps! Pancake or crepe batter in a bottle, various spreads, energy balls and even sauces for pasta or rice dishes can all be prepared in advance and taken to the campsite, so you can eat a varied, tasty and balanced diet every day. Complete dishes can also be prepared in advance, such as chilis con or sin carne, or risottos.

Managing food storage

If you’re not traveling in a motorhome equipped with a refrigerator, you’ll need a good cooler to store imported foods and those you can buy locally. There are many types of cooler on the market. The ideal choice is an electric cooler that can be plugged into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter. So it stays fresh throughout your journey. If you rent a campsite with electricity, you can continue to plug it in during your stay.
A cooler, even an electric one, is not a refrigerator: ice is absolutely essential to maintain a cool temperature. You’ll need to renew your ice blocks several times during your stay, on average every 48 hours.

Many campsites sell them at reception or in their mini-market. You can also find them at gas stations. Ice packs should preferably be placed in the upper part of the cooler, above your food. For best preservation, don’t open the cooler too frequently.

Find inspiring recipes for a varied diet at the campsite

Before you leave, think about what you’ll be able to eat when you go camping, and pack your cooler with the ingredients you’ll need to make these dishes!

Many recipes require few utensils and lend themselves well to vacations in the great outdoors: lentil or kidney bean salads, tagliatelle with clams you may have just caught, shellfish a la plancha or barbecued, mouclades, tacos or burritos. For once, ready-to-eat meals that can be reheated in a bain-marie, microwave or saucepan can help you eat a variety of foods without spending time cooking at the campsite: canned vegetables, dehydrated soups, rice and pulses in sachets also have the advantage of not needing to be kept in the fridge.

Finally, don’t hesitate to vary the contents of your sandwiches! Hummus, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, dried fruit or olives bring taste, variety and vitamins to your cold snacks.

Taste boost

Don’t forget to bring a number of seasonings with you to spice up ready-made meals, mixed salads, pasta, rice and potatoes.
Salt, pepper, oil and vinegar are the essential ingredients not to be forgotten. You can add piment d’Espelette, garlic powder, dried onions, a curry-type mix, and herbs such as oregano, chives and tarragon. These seasonings take up very little space, are easy to store and can change a dish completely!

To make sure you don’t forget anything, it’s a good idea to do a quiet checklist before heading off to our 4-star campsite on the Ile de Ré!