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Recipes to Feed Your Sleep

  • by admin
  • 9 min read
A one pan meal of meat and colorful sleep-supporting vegetables over the hot coals of a campfire

Recipes to Feed Your Sleep

Maintaining a healthy diet while camping can be tricky. You may have limited refrigeration or prep space—or it just may seem like too much trouble. In this segment of “Getting Your Sleep in the Great Outdoors” we’ll explore tips for cooking healthy meals while camping. We’ll show you how to make your campsite cooking easier—and provide tips and tasty recipes to feed your sleep. Here’s what we’ll cover…

  • Planning & prepping for healthy meals
  • Foods that promote sleep
  • When not to eat certain foods

Feeding your sleep

We’re often tempted to just pack up some hot dogs, marshmallows, and potato chips—maybe some vegetable sticks and trail mix. We may even prepare some cooked chicken in advance… perhaps some salad for good measure. Now it’s just cookies, brownies, and store-bought beverages—and we’re good to go—right?

Sure, we’re taking a break from the daily grind and some of us would like that to include a break from preparing food—and cleaning up the mess that goes with it. The trouble is our bodies need specific nutrients to function well and processed foods and sugar don’t set us up for good sleep—or provide the energy we need to enjoy outdoor activities.

Tips for Nutritious and Delicious Outdoor Dining

Planning & prepping for healthy meals

Before heading out on your camping trip, take time to plan your meals in advance. This will ensure you have all the necessary ingredients and tools you need. Prepping some of the components of your meals in advance will also save time and simplify efforts when you arrive at your campsite.

By cutting vegetables, marinating meats, and pre-cooking pasta or rice in advance, half your work is done before leaving home.

Select Nutrient-rich Foods and use them Wisely…

  • Always choose non-perishable whole foods that provide essential nutrients. This may include fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. In addition to providing balanced nutrition, they’re lightweight and don’t take up a lot of refrigerated space.
  • Cook perishable items like fish, meat, and poultry early in your camping trip to make sure they’re not wasted and are consumed when fresh.
  • Make use of your onions, garlic, and citrus for adding flavor and a note of freshness to your meals. Spices also expand your options for making meals more interesting.

Kind of like having a crockpot in the wild. A Dutch oven is great for combining lots of different food elements into one pot for fuss-free meals.

A Dutch oven hangs over an open campfire. One pot meals are great for combining different healthy food elements into a tasty meal.

Feed your sleep meal types…

Here are some options for preparing healthy meals that taste good and support your sleep. They include simple prep and minimal cleanup. This helps lessen your stress which is an important factor in getting quality sleep.It also allows you to…

  • Enjoy the food you’ve prepared.
  • Have more time for friends and family.
  • Spend more time relaxing or exploring in nature.

One-pot meals

A one pot meal is easy to prepare over a portable stove or campfire—they’ll save you cleaning multiple pots and pans—while allowing you to combine grains, proteins, and vegetables into a single mouth-watering dish. Popular one-pot meals include:

  • Soups and Stews
  • Chili
  • Pasta dishes
  • Stir-fries


Grilling is a popular and healthy option for campsite cooking. You can prepare flavorful meals using less oil or fat including:

  • Fish
  • Lean meats
  • Vegetables
  • and some Fruits
2 Salmon steaks cooking on a hot grill with Rosemary sprigs. Fish is a great source of melatonin.

Fish is a better source of melatonin than other meats. The best options are oily fish like salmon and sardines, which also provide valuable omega-3 fatty acids. 


Foil packets rock. Just combine your favorite ingredients like chicken, potatoes, or vegetables into a foil packet and cook them over a fire or grill. Easy, tasty, and no mess.


Skewers are another popular grill food. Options abound as far as recipes go. The main thing to remember is to soak your skewer sticks well so they don’t burn up on the grill. Here’s how…

Plan Ahead Tip:

For the best results with Skewers, start soaking the skewer sticks the night before—at the very minimum, soak them for 30 minutes before starting to thread the ingredients on to the skewer.

Using healthy, fresh vegetables and including some spices, adds variety to your campground meals—making it easier to ensure you'll want to eat them… and therefore will be feeding your sleep.

Fresh, colorful vegetables from the grill. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can help you sleep better.

Recipes and Food Tips to feed your sleep…

Tasty Recipe #1: Foil Packet Fish with Lemon, Capers, and Herbs:


  • Fish fillets (such as salmon, trout, or cod)
  • Lemon slices
  • Fresh herbs (such as dill or parsley)
  • Capers to taste (optional, see note below)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the grill or campfire.
  2. Place each fish fillet on a sheet of aluminum foil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and top with lemon slices and fresh herbs (and capers if you’re using them.).
  4. Fold the foil to create a tight packet.
  5. Grill for 10-15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

Use these 35 Foil Packet Recipes from Delish to inspire you. You can even make desserts in foil packets–truly awesome since desserts are notoriously messy and usually require major cleanup.

Note:Although they’re low in calories and contain several important vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting antioxidants, capers are also very high in sodium and should be enjoyed in moderation. Especially for those with high blood pressure or those at risk for cardiovascular events.

A Dozen Healthy foods to feed your sleep…


Almonds contain tryptophan and magnesium. Both help reduce muscle tension and nervousness while also steadying heart rhythm. You can substitute almond butter but keep it to under a tablespoon to avoid overfilling your belly before bed.


Avocados are higher than bananas in potassium. They also provide magnesium for a sounder sleep. Magnesium has been shown to boost GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps you relax and calm down.

Combine your avocado with a slice of whole wheat toast or another complex carbohydrate and enjoy an excellent before-bed snack.


The magnesium and potassium in bananas serve as muscle and nerve relaxants. The vitamin B6 found in bananas also converts tryptophan into serotonin, which further increases relaxation.

4—Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains serotonin, which relaxes your body and mind. Here are some additional health benefits of dark chocolate… in case you need to be talked into eating it.

5—Fatty Fish

Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids – which are known to regulate serotonin and offer a host of other health benefits.  

For those who find oily fish a bit strong, Rainbow Trout is a milder-tasting fatty fish. Besides being high in omega 3’s, it’s a good source of protein, calcium, magnesium, and niacin.


Packed with calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium, figs help regulate blood flow and muscle contraction which is key to falling asleep. They’re also full of fiber and will reduce cravings for sweets as well as keeping you feeling sated.


Dark leafy greens like kale, chard, and spinach are filled with essential vitamins and calcium and work with tryptophan to help produce melatonin. *Calcium is also key to avoiding REM sleep disruptions

8—Herbal Teas

Herbal teas are known for their sleep-inducing properties. Chamomile tea is excellent for calming nerves so you can wind down before bed. Both Chamomile and Ginger teas will soothe your stomach, and help keep you hydrated.


Eat hummus during the day to get better sleep at night. Chickpea spread is another great source of tryptophan and will also help you get enough healthy calories to prevent waking up hungry in the night.


Like whole grain bread, grains in oatmeal trigger insulin production which raises blood sugar and makes you feel sleepy. It’s also rich in melatonin which relaxes you and helps you fall asleep and sleep through the night.


The vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium in prunes help your body make melatonin and regulate your sleep. *Prunes are a great option for campers—eat them as a topper for oatmeal or toast—or mix them into your trail mix. You can also eat them alone 30 minutes before bedtime.


A 2-cup serving of watermelon will hydrate you before bedtime—and its fiber will also stave off late night hunger pangs. Dehydration greatly impacts your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep so make sure to quench your thirst with watermelon—or other watery fruits like apples, cantaloupe, and oranges.

A stir fry of vegetables topped by two fried eggs cooks over a campfire. Eggs aid sleep by supplying melatonin, tryptophan, and vitamin D.

13—Let’s make it a Baker’s Dozen and add Eggs to our Feed Your Sleep List!

Eggs are an excellent source of tryptophan, melatonin, and vitamin D, which all aid sleep. If you have difficulty falling asleep on a regular basis, try having an egg or two a couple of hours before bedtime.

Food Safety Tip:

Make sure you’re feeding your brood safely in the great outdoors. If food isn’t handled correctly, it can lead to foodborne illness and there goes the fun camping trip. Follow the Food Network’s 10 tips to keep your food safe on all your camping adventures. These two are great examples…

  • Always bring a food thermometer to test doneness. It isn’t safe to judge doneness by color alone—and that can be difficult anyway depending on your light source.
  • Dehydrated foods don’t go bad. Clear your head of those old military provisions and embrace the new age of dehydration. Dehydrated meals are lightweight, easy-to-prepare (just add water), safe, and satisfying. Some popular sources for campers are Backpackers Pantry and Good To-Go.

Genius Tip:

Discover endless meal options for both camping and everyday cooking—make your own dehydrated camping meals—maximize your slicing and dicing prep work by making sure your vegetables are viable for your whole trip.

Dehydrating at home gives you control over the ingredients, and it also helps with your budget.  FreshOffTheGrid has the A – Z on dehydrating as well as great camping recipes from fruit leather and jerky—to Cowboy Caviar—Burrito Bowls—and even Seafood Paella. Start with this simple recipe for Maple Glazed Trail Mix.

Tasty Recipe #2: As You Like It Skewers:

Ingredients (select your favorites form the list below):

  • Beef, chicken, or fish (cubed)
  • Onions and/or bell peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Pineapple or mango chunks

*If using pineapple, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out one of the halves for use later.

You’ll also need: Olive oil, Lemon Juice, Garlic Powder, Salt, and Pepper.


  1. Preheat the grill or campfire.
    1. Assemble skewers, alternating between meat and vegetables/fruit.
    1. Drizzle skewers with lemon juice and olive oil before sprinkling with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
    1. Grill 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally until the meat is cooked through and vegetables are tender.

Use the pineapple boat for serving up some strawberry mango salsa—or a mixed fruit basket. Did you notice how we eliminated the need for washing up a serving dish here?

When not to eat certain foods

Approximately 70% of US adults struggle to get good sleep. They’re often unaware the problem is due to their diet. Here are the triggers…

  • High-fat foods
  • Sugary foods
  • Spicy foods

Eating the above three food types right before bed makes it difficult to fall asleep. Spicy foods can also lead to acid reflux and other digestive issues that cause discomfort and sleeplessness.

Consuming high-fat and sugary foods before bed produces blood sugar spikes, causing you to feel alert, rather than sleepy at bedtime.

Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet to help you fall asleep faster!

Tasty Recipe #3: Banana S’mores:


  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Small scoop of dark chocolate morsels
  • 1 Small scoop of mini marshmallows


  1. Preheat the grill or campfire.
    1. Cut a 12” x 12” square of foil.Place peeled banana on foil and slice lengthwise 3/a4 of the way through Gently spread apart and fill with mini marshmallows and chocolate morsels. Tightly wrap the banana in foil.Place wrapped banana on hot grill or over fire for approximately 5 minutes.
    1. Remove from grill, and carefully unwrap before eating.

Prep Tip: Be sure to save the banana peels so you can whip up a batch of sleep-inducing banana peel tea before bed.

Creating more mindful meals and freeing up time for relaxing moments, means you’re less stressed.

That helps elevate your camping experience and prepares you for better sleep in the great outdoors….

2 tree stumps in front of a small campfire hold wine glasses, and a cutting board with bread and condiments. Freeing up time for relaxing moments is good for your sleep.

Final notes on Feeding Your Sleep…

When it comes to eating healthy in the great outdoors, you may hit some bumps along the way, but what’s life without a few challenges? It’s important to make sleep a priority—and remember, all these tips for healthy sleep also support your overall health and happiness.

By planning ahead, and using your creativity, you can overcome almost any obstacle. Follow the tips in this post and try out some of these recipes to enjoy delicious, nutritious meals that feed your sleep and fuel your camping adventures.

Until next time…

Happy camping and bon appétit!

We help people sleep.

Food is only one of the things that can wreck your sleep on a camping trip. We hope the tips provided herein will help you start eating foods that will support your sleep—whether you’re camping out or dining at home.

But Noise is actually the number one sleep complaint from campers—and while we can’t manage your diet, we can help manage your noise complaints. SoundOff earbuds were created to address the seemingly insurmountable noise problem of sleeping (or trying to sleep) with a Snoring Partner.

So, we’re happy to say they easily block out all those other sleep-disturbing sounds you encounter while camping as well. Like noisy campground neighbors, barking dogs and RV generators.

SoundOff is also travel-friendly and takes up only a tiny space in your travel bag. And the compact, self-charging case holds a charge for up to 7 days—so for short trips you don’t even need to bring the charging cord.

Give SoundOff a try, risk-free for 30-nights. You’ll love what you can’t hear!