By Carl Hanson

Healthy dinners for camping

Sure, we love packing it up and rolling out into nature. The fresh air, the boundless vistas, and all that. But the real reason we love camping is the campfire food! Meals cooked over an open fire just taste better. So with that in mind, we put together a collection of simple, healthy camping-friendly recipes that will get you fired up for outdoor adventures -- whether you're feasting in the forest or BBQ'ing on the beach.

Now, our inner caveman may love campfire cooking, but the prep-work? Not so much. For the prep, we prefer to dwell back in the modern world, doing as much chopping and prepping as possible in the comfort and convenience of the home kitchen. For best results, chop the veggies, cube the chicken breasts, and so forth in advance, and pack your goodies in air- and water-tight containers in the cooler. For more smart tips on making campfire cooking and clean-up a bit easier, check out 5 Strategies for Easy Camp Cooking.

For campfire cooking, heavy-duty aluminum foil is your friend. "These foil packs are easy to make for camping," says Natural Chef Michelle. "We prepare them at home and then leave them in the cooler until we are ready to cook. Use any combination of meat and vegetables that you like. But don't use less olive oil or foil or your dinner will burn. Be careful when opening foil as steam will have formed inside and can burn you."

Photo by Allrecipes

Chop the red bell peppers and asparagus in advance. Instead of shrimp here, you could also substitute cubed chicken breast. Cook this in a heavy-duty foil packet, a Dutch oven, or a cast-iron skillet.

Photo by Allrecipes

Have cans, will travel. Here's a simple, hearty recipe that requires zero refrigerated foods.

Photo by Paula

Wrap these burritos in heavy-duty foil and pop them over the campire. Try this with breakfast burritos, too.

When you prep the veggies and the chicken at home, this recipe is super-quick and easy. And the skewers are optional: You can also make these in a foil packet.

Photo by CookinBug

In your cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, combine dark leafy greens, canned diced tomatoes, canned white beans, and packaged gnocchi.

Photo by Allrecipes

Who says you always have to rough it out there? In this easy-elegant recipe, you'll combine canned artichoke hearts, prepared sun-dried tomato pesto, and a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. It's another candidate for the skillet or Dutch oven.

Photo by pomplemousse

So easy. This recipe calls for taco seasoning mix and salsa. For a tasty two-fer, make tacos or burritos one night and this deliciously different one-skillet meal the next.

Photo by Rock_lobster

Check out our collection of Camping Recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.