We see lots of ways to prepare food while camping and some of the most impressive are from those who plan their meals and cook ahead. You can cook and freeze much of what you plan to eat for the week, then use the frozen food in place of ice in your cooler. Pack the food in order of when you plan to eat it with today’s meals on top. The food will be thawing as you empty the cooler and should be just about right by the day you had planned it for.
Some people pack two coolers and split the food into early week/late week meals. The late week cooler is not opened until the early week meals have been eaten. If you buy good quality coolers and freeze everything well you shouldn’t have a problem with things thawing too soon.
Some make a batch of spaghetti sauce and freeze it in a ziplock bag. This creates a flat pack that can be slid between other foods or against the wall of the cooler. Frozen meats will keep when packed together and can be taken out in the morning to thaw. If you have extra room, you can fill ziplock bags with water and insert it between food items to keep everthing evenly chilled. Pre-cooked bacon is an option and doesn’t take much room. Flat packs of chili and stew will round out the week and you can finish the last days with sandwiches and canned foods of your choosing.
There really is no limit to what you can feed your family while camping. Much of the creativity comes from pre-shopping, preparing ahead, and packing to keep things cold until you are ready to warm them for a meal. You can serve healthier meals in this fashion and not feel guilty about ice cream, S’mores, and a little alcohol to round things out.