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Take MyPlate camping

By Staff | Jul 12, 2013

The new USDA healthy eating icon, ChooseMyPlate.gov, is a simple guide to enjoying smart meals anywhere. You can use MyPlate to quickly and easily plan healthful meals at home and on the go. Use MyPlate to help your family enjoy high energy, great tasting meals on all your camping adventures.


Preparation at home makes things much easier around the campfire. By pre-cooking and packing at home, you’ll have more time for hiking, fishing, canoeing, and relaxing. Planning ahead also means you won’t have to haul lots of kitchen equipment around.

Slice, dice, spice and FREEZE: Meat and poultry are easier and safer when the prep work is done at home. Cut into suitable serving sizes and trim away excess fat and skin. Add herbs, spices, or marinades and freeze in leak-proof bags or plastic containers. Frozen meat will also help your cooler stay cold.

PRE-MIX as many ingredients as possible: Pre-mixing saves time and reduces messy camp cleanups (reducing hungry animal visitors too!). For example, mix all dry ingredients for pancakes or cornbread (baked in a Dutch oven) together and store in a plastic bag. Add water, milk, or eggs when it’s time to cook and throw the bag away.


Get colorful with fruits and veggies: Fresh or dried fruit makes perfect snacks, with no refrigeration needed. Fill baggies with your family’s favorite flavors and make sure they always have one handy in a pocket or pack. For MyPlate veggies, bring pre-mixed salads and plenty of ready-to-eat options like baby carrots and sliced peppers.

Go hearty with whole grains: MyPlate suggests making half your grains whole, which is easy to do at any camping meal. Oatmeal is a wonderful way to start the day, with lots of energy for hiking and boating. Whole grain breads make delicious wraps and sandwiches at lunchtime. Toasted whole grain buns are just right with burgers!

Pump up camp dinners with lean protein: Hot dogs are high in sodium and low in protein. To get plenty of MyPlate lean protein, grill lean beef, poultry, fresh fish, or wild game. Quesadillas are easy to create in a heavy pan with whole grain tortillas, low-fat cheese, grilled veggies, and sliced chicken or pork (pre-cooked at home).


Treat your family to some new flavors in your camping meals this season. And always remember to be food safe by keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold!

Campfire stew

1 pound lean ground beef

2 cups coarsely chopped potatoes

2 cups whole kernel corn (fresh, frozen, or canned and rinsed)

1 cups fresh carrots, diced

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

1/4 cup coarsely chopped onions

Salt and pepper to taste

Lay four large squares of aluminum foil on the counter. Spray with non-stick spray. Divide ground beef into four equal balls. Flatten into the center of the tin foil. Cover with potatoes and other veggies, using cup of each on the four patties. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold foil to the center and seal the sides. Place foil packets on the campfire grill, or into a pre-heated 375 F oven. Cook until the beef reaches an internal temperature of 160 F, approximately 25-30 minutes in oven, 30-45 minutes on a moderate grill. YIELD: four individual servings

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