Balanced, or indulgent, or both? Here’s our favorite workhorse day-to-day camping breakfasts!
Feeding a hungry family is always challenging, but all the more so when camping. For example, indulgent breakfasts full of pancakes, syrup, and bacon are wonderful. They’re not always what you want on the menu though, especially when trying to start the day with more balance. Our easy, balanced camp breakfast ideas for kids and parents give you some very simple ways to start the day with camp-cooked meals that are both tasty and delicious.
3 Camp breakfast challenges & tips
Your ingredient and prep considerations also depend on your setup. If your RV has a fridge or if you’re packing a cooler or two, it can be easier to bring more perishable ingredients. Regardless of your setup, here are some camp breakfast ideas that can help you pack, prep, cook, and enjoy:
1. Some foods spoil faster. Prioritize perishables.
Items such as more delicate fruits and veggies, raw meat, and dairy are inherently more prone to spoilage. Focus your camp meal plan on using those first. For example, if we’ve packed apples and grapes, we eat the grapes first, since they are be more likely to get bruised or crushed.
2. Big breakfasts are fun. It’s also okay to keep breakfast simple.
When you camp for a weekend or holiday, it’s so fun to go all-out on breakfast. However, it’s also okay not to. Plus, when you’re camping for longer periods of time, you might want day-to-day breakfasts to be simpler anyway. That helps you prep the first meal of the day faster, with less work. Then you and your family can more quickly get underway on the day’s adventures.
3. Family members can have different dietary needs. A simple breakfast can make it easier to fit everyone.
Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, food allergies, you name it. There are so many reasons why someone in your family may need to avoid certain foods. Breakfasts centered on simplicity can actually make it easier to work with what everyone needs.
Our workhorse camp skillet
Whenever we camp, our trusty 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet comes with us. It’s our workhorse camp skillet. We bust it out for just about every cooking task, such as sautéing meats or veggies, browning grilled cheese, or cooking up biscuits, sweet rolls, or desserts. (Cast iron is also much easier to clean up than you might think.) We can use our skillet over a campfire or a camp stove. Speaking of…
Our workhorse camp stove
Our blue Eureka! propane camp stove works so hard, yet it sips propane so daintily. During our 6-week California trip, at one point we were convinced our 11-pound propane tank was almost out of gas. Stopping to check it, we got quite the surprise: It was still about three-quarters full. Our workhorse camp stove is easy to set up, stash, and pack, plus its excellent temperature controls make it easy to cook a range of dishes.
Tasty & nutritious meals that power our family camping
SAVE THIS POST for camp breakfast ideas!
When we camp, we love pancake mornings. But… sometimes we camp for weeks at a time. Then, eating at camp becomes more like eating at home, with a balance of healthy foods and some good-for-the-soul indulgences. Here are a few of our favorite camping breakfasts that help us keep that balance:
👧 Our typical daily camp breakfast for the kids
⦾ “Fried slice” of skillet toast or bagel
⦾ Scrambled eggs
Why this meal for our children’s breakfasts?
We melt butter in our skillet, then brown both sides of bread or a sliced bagel. Topped with cream cheese or nut butter, and maybe some jam or honey, the fried slice packs our kids with energy. We can slice and serve fruit (usually grapes or melon) while the bread browns. One or two scrambled eggs on the side rounds out the meal with protein, so each kid is ready for the day—hanger-free.
🧑🏻 Our typical daily camp breakfast for us parents
⦾ Sautéed veggies (usually green beans, zucchini, or yellow summer squash)
⦾ Froached eggs (a combo of frying and faux-poaching, or just steaming)
Why this meal for our grown-up breakfast?
We used to struggle with eating more balanced meals while camping. For us adults (especially in middle age), we find that we want to start the day with a healthy punch of nutrient-dense veggies. Packing in a couple of servings of vegetables right at the beginning of the day has been a perfect whole foods head start on our daily veggie intake.
After cooking the veggies, we serve them into bowls while we make the eggs (recipe below). After our egg-and-veggie bowls, we finish breakfast with hydrating, satisfying fresh fruit. Some of our breakfast favorites are satsumas, watermelon, cherries, or grapes.
Our favorite camp eggs breakfast recipe
Healthy protein gets us going too. Sometimes we make scrambled eggs (and just make a larger batch when we prep eggs for the kids). Usually though, we parents make fast, easy, and tasty froached eggs for us:
- 2 eggs per adult
- Crack all eggs into a bowl (when they all go into the pan at the same time, there’s less variance in cooking time)
- Heat 1 Tbsp. butter or oil
- Fry eggs one minute
- Add 1 Tbsp. water
- Cover pan, cook 1 minute, and serve right away
On days we break camp, an even simpler breakfast
All this said, we also have a day where breakfast tends to be more minimal. Breaking camp takes time, especially in the popup camper. Usually we also have a long drive ahead. On those days, we prioritize speed and simplicity all the more.
To help us get on the road sooner, breakfast is typically just some sort of bread (such as sliced bread or bagels), with cream cheese or nut butter, and maybe some jam. We’ll also serve up fresh fruit. We only fire up the camp stove for making coffee (or perhaps some cocoa for the kids), so cleanup is easy.
After all, the sooner we pack up, the sooner we are off to our next family adventure!
But what about those delicious, indulgent treat breakfasts?
Does that mean we never indulge in different breakfasts? On the contrary. We usually have one or two days a week where we bust out a big breakfast. For us, those “treat breakfasts” might be skillet-browned biscuits or sweet rolls from a can, or we might cook up a big batch of pancakes. There might be sausages or bacon too.
Plus, since we focus on having balanced meals throughout our camping days, we don’t think twice about the days where we want to indulge. It’s fun, it’s delicious, and as far as we’re concerned, that’s part of what camping is all about.
Balanced breakfasts can be part of family camping with kids
Camping is so much fun. And there are so many ways to balance healthy breakfasts with some fun morning indulgences while camping. By having a couple of workhorse camp breakfast ideas for us parents and the kids, we find that we have a better start to the day, and more fun on our camping adventures overall.
What do you think will be your family’s workhorse camp breakfast? Tell us in the comments below!
What about lunch and dinner?
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget lunch and dinner! Check out our article on easy camping meals for families: