Last month we took our second camping trip as a family. For two days and two nights us and some friends stayed at a state park campground on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. While having healthy food was still a priority on our last trip, this time around I was even more focused on ensuring our meals were also as waste free as possible. When you think about it, this is pretty much where the waste occurs when camping, right? Food and drinks.
Luckily, healthy food is my thang, and wasting less is my game. Hardy-har-har. My plan of attack: bring nothing that needed to be prepped upon arrival (with the exception of dinner when I knew someone would be manning a grill). I did not want to have to chase around a toddler and prep food – or bounce back and forth between. Everything was going to be ready to eat right out of the cooler and I needed to make sure it was mostly stuff that teenie could eat as well. So, here’s what I came up with…
To eat whenever – breakfast, lunch, snack or with dinner:
– Hard boiled eggs
– Yellow bell pepper strips
– Blueberries & donut peaches
– Roasted sweet potatoes
– Whole wheat penne with pesto and asparagus
– Boiled chickpeas tossed with with olive oil, red wine vinegar, green/yellow bell peppers, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes and a splash of lemon juice.
Chicken with pineapple & salad – dinner for the group. The chicken was stored in its marinade so it would be ready to grill at dinner time. The marinade was made by mixing together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and back pepper. Also, not shown, there was a homemade salad dressing of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar & black pepper.
Black bean burger (made locally) – for myself and teenie the night we weren’t feeding the group.
Cashews and homemade crackers
+ Milk for teenie
To avoid single use products:
– Containers for water/coffee
– Camping plates
– Cloth napkins
– Cloth rags for clean up
It took the better part of a day to prep everything but it was worth it because once it was done there was plenty of food available to eat whenever during the course of our trip. We had lunch on the beach and in lieu of sandwiches, just toted down the two storage containers of pasta and chickpeas to enjoy beachside.
Having ready to go snacks on hand is essential with a toddler.
Refilling our water bottles at the campsite was a breeze with this spicket!
Our reusables were worked into the table set up whenever it was prepped for the group. Unfortunately, the rest of the trip was not quite as commendable. First, we bought ice in plastic bags to keep the coolers cold, but this didn’t even occur to me as an “oops” until after the fact. I don’t know if this situation could have been avoided since we don’t have but one, very small, Yeti cooler and we needed to keep the food from going bad. But then it kind of stinks to realize that all the waste I avoided by bringing all this food was then replaced with waste to keep it cold. Then, I didn’t have a clear recycling collection system in place until the second day so any bevvies that were consumed by the group on the first day sadly ended up in the trash. Talk about how painful it is seeing perfectly recyclable cans and bottles being thrown away. Especially when the campground had a recycling drop off center! But life is about progress, not perfection – so let this serve as a learning experience to do better next time.
I’m even more motivated after going out for a walk one morning only to find all this trash within a 500 square foot area of tucked away beach.
And this cliche in the parking lot later that day…
Coincidentally it was Clean The Bay Day, which really couldn’t have come at a better time!
Are there any strategies you have for reducing waste when you are camping?