Gluten-Free in the Great Outdoors: Celiac-Friendly Camping Food

Posted On: June 12, 2015

The fresh air, the tall trees, the bright stars… what’s not to love about camping?

Well… the beauty of the great outdoors is something we can all appreciate, but eating in the great outdoors? That’s another story.

Regardless of your diet, cooking while camping has its own set of inherent challenges (limited packing space, less reliable heat sources, and lack of refrigeration, just to name a few). And that means those of us with specific needs just have to get even more creative in order to make the most of the experience.

Thankfully, some of our favorite gluten-free bloggers have come up with ingenious ways for us gluten-free folks to fully enjoy camping meals while also watching out for our health. Here are a few of our favorite ideas that we encourage you to try out on your next summer camping trip:

General tips:

Nothing brings down a weekend getaway like a gluten attack. Thankfully, blogger Rachel Begun, aka The Gluten Free RD, has great advice for how to ensure your safety while working within the limited space of a shared campsite. These tips include storing your gluten-free food in separate, clearly labeled coolers, bringing your own (clearly marked) gluten-free condiments and utensils, and packing plenty of aluminum foil for covering up the community grill. Be sure to check out her blog post for more useful reminders and tips!

Breakfast:

Aaaah. Is there anything better than waking up with the sun and enjoying a nice, warm breakfast in your camping chair? If you’re looking for a more well-rounded meal than fruit, eggs and bacon, try bringing along a resealable bag of our certified gluten-free granola! It’s sure to fill you with energy for a full day of fun. Plus, these energy-boosting breakfast cookies by Nourished Kitchen are also delicious and filling, making them a great make-ahead breakfast option. And if you’re really feelin’ fancy, this sweet potato, spinach and chorizo hash from The Iron You comes together surprisingly easily—and will probably taste even more delicious cooked in a cast iron skillet over an open fire. Plus let’s not forget Glutenfreeda’s instant oatmeal. All you need is to boil a little water and within minutes you have a hot, delicious breakfast that will carry you through till lunch.

Lunch:

You’re camping because you want to connect with nature, so why not take advantage of nature’s bounty and bring along ingredients for an extra-delicious, nutritious lunch? These veggie tacos (complete with corn tortillas) from Martha Stewart can easily be adapted for the campsite by cooking up the portobello and zucchini in a foil packet on the fire. If a mid-day sandwich sounds more like your style, you can of course bring your favorite gluten-free bread and go to town with your favorite toppings. But going breadless can be just as satisfying (not to mention easier to pack), as displayed by this portable Paleo Italian Sub Roll-Up from HealthBent. As for sides, with a little pre-made dressing packed in your bag, you can put together this Peach Caprese Salad from My Diary of Us, or this bright Beet and Berry Salad by Delish Knowledge without much trouble. Suddenly, your buddies’ hot dogs and chips won’t look quite so appetizing.

Snacks:

What’s a camping trip without trail mix? Sad times, that’s what. This combine-and-go “recipe” for Stupid-Easy Gluten-Free Trail Mix is appropriately named, while this Paleo Trail Mix is just as easy to put together, and really packs in the protein. Either way, you’ll have a mid-day snack that satisfies your hunger and your sweet tooth.

Dinner:

Ever noticed how everything tastes better when you’re camping? Beyond the clean air and exercise, we think it has something to do with the fact that you can really carve out time to prepare your meals, and fully enjoy the process. If you have an open fire campsite and room to pack your cast iron dutch oven, this one-pot meal of braised beef and summer vegetables is as satisfying to prep as it is to eat.

Really want to impress your camping comrades? This Campfire Paella is super-easy to make, and so packed with flavor, nobody will be able to believe you cooked it on-site. Round it out with a side of creamy campfire potatoes or easy, loaded baked potato salad, and you’ll be feasting like the king of the forest.

Dessert:

Never fear, gluten-free s’more lovers: it IS indeed possible to enjoy your favorite camping dessert on the road. If you’re willing to put in a little effort before your trip, Fire and Salt has shared his tried-and-true recipe for homemade gluten-free graham crackers, which he promises will lead to “the best gluten-free s’mores ever.” If “less work and more peanut butter” sounds like your kind of mantra, take a tip from Gluten-Free in Utah, and use a peanut butter cup as the vessel for your slightly-altered, but still fully delicious, s’more.

Of course, there are tons of other amazing campfire dessert options out there, like these easy baked camping apples from The Cookie Writer.

And who could forget one of the most cherished camping desserts of all, stuffed bananas? Gluten Freedom & Loving It stuffs hers with chocolate chips and shredded coconut, but in terms of potential toppings, the sky’s the limit on this beloved treat.

Nothing turns a camping trip from glorious to gloomy faster than getting sick, so remember to pack smart, cook safely, and most importantly, have fun! After all, calories don’t technically count when they’re consumed in the great outdoors… right?

Lilly B's Glutenfreeda