Are you off to a festival this summer? Bringing your own cool box of food will help you save time and money once you're there – as long as the ingredients you've packed are light and long-lasting. As a rule of thumb, we like to buy one large meal out a day, and spend other mealtimes tucking into pre-prepared meals and snacks.


To help you with festival prep, we've selected 10 staple 'foundation' foods which are perfect for campsite dining, whether you are using a camping stove or bringing pre-made meals.

For inspiration on which festivals to visit this year, see the best UK food festivals and our family festival round-up. We also have our reviews of the best hip flasks.

Are you a festival veteran? Let us know in the comments what you bring to festivals.

Best festival foods

1. Pre-cooked pasta & sauces

Pesto pasta salad with tomatoes and basil on a plate

A simple bit of prep before you leave for the festival means you'll be thanking yourself later. A container of pre-cooked pasta to eat on the first or second day makes a purse-friendly lunch or dinner - it's lightweight, filling and you can add protein and veg to make it more nutritious. This pre-cooked pesto pasta salad, which you can eat cold, is a great option.

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If you're bringing a stove, consider bringing a homemade jar of sauce to level-up your pasta. A homemade pesto or tomato sauce can be added to pasta to make a freestyle throw-together meal that can be easily scaled up.

2. Homemade energy bars

Balls of dried fruit covered in seeds

When energy levels are low, a homemade energy bar will do just the trick. Making your own bars – made of whole foods – will stave off hunger pangs, plus it means you can avoid processed or ultra-processed foods. See our easy recipes for oat & cranberry bars, choc-orange energy balls and energy balls with dates for inspiration.

Find more of our energy-boosting, snack ideas, from protein balls and biscuits to flapjacks and granola bars.

3. Pizza

Four pizza-topped pitta breads on a wooden surface

Wrap up slices of pre-cooked pizza in foil for a quick and easy lunch on the first or second day. You can opt for shop-bought, however making your own makes a purse-friendly option – see our 4-step margherita pizza for a step-by-step guide. These chicken tikka masala pizzas use shop-bought naan breads as a base to cut corners, as do these super-easy pitta pizzas.

4. Nuts & seeds

Peanuts in bowl, elevated view

Pack smart with a container of nuts and seeds to snack on during the long weekend. Nuts are high in natural fats, high in energy, plus they're filling, so you won't be feeling peckish afterwards. They're also a healthy source of plant-based protein – the nuts highest in protein which also make great snacks are peanuts, almonds, and hazelnuts.

5. Sandwiches

Colourful baguette halves topped with vegetables, next to sliced vegetables in pots

Ready-prepared sandwiches are far more cost-effective than buying lunch on the day. This rainbow baguette is stuffed full of vibrant veg, such as beetroot and red pepper, along with hummus, pesto and slices of cheddar. Wrap it in baking parchment and tie with string to transport with ease. Bagels are another fail-safe food – this seeded bagel tuna melt provides protein and will keep you full.

Find more brilliant baguette recipes and get more inspiration for sandwich recipes.

6. Homemade cereal

Granola made of nuts and seeds

Want to avoid long, slow-moving queues at the breakfast food vans? Make a batch of high-fibre muesli or some homemade fruity, crunchy granola. Shop-bought cereals such as muesli, cornflakes and granola, are often marketed as healthy breakfast options but actually contain surprisingly high amounts of sugar. Avoid these by making your own – start your day with this homemade granola for breakfast, full of nuts, seeds, oats and dried fruit. It's dairy-free, too.

See our nutritious cereal and granola ideas.

7. Sweet treats

Flapjacks with raspberries inside, cut into squares

Pack up a picnic box of treats for when sweet cravings inevitably hit. If you're looking for a bake with minimum effort, these peanut butter cookies require just three ingredients. These easy honey flapjacks are equally low-effort, or go for these raspberry honey flapjacks for an easy bake with a fruity hit.

These butterscotch bars make a wonderfully chewy snack to eat on the go, while these peanut butter cookie cups make an indulgent pick-me-up treat.

If you're more into the savoury variety, turn your hand to these easy sausage rolls.

8. Fresh & canned fruit

Canned Fruit

If you're hoping to bring fresh fruit to the festival, we suggest taking fruit which last the longest – apples, pears and apricots are all great options, as they are best stored outside of the fridge.

Canned fruit is a cost-effective item to bring, and you won't have to worry about it going off. Some canned fruit may have sugar added to improve its taste, texture or appearance. For those managing their sugar intake, check the labels and look for products without added ingredients. When selecting canned fruit, choose options canned in natural juice rather than syrup.

For more information see the health benefits of canned fruit and vegetables.

9. Ground coffee & tea bags

Aeropress against a white backdrop

Waking up to a cup of hot coffee will start the day on the right foot – not to mention beating the long queues at coffee vans. Bringing your own coffee will be a serious time-saver – we like to pack our favourite ground coffee and an AeroPress coffee maker: an inexpensive, portable and lightweight bit of kit which requires no washing-up.

If you're more partial to a cup of tea, simply pack however many tea bags you think you'll need – make sure to bring some reusable cups.

10. Long-life milk

Long life almond milk

Breakfast isn't complete without long-life milk. Use it for bowls of cereal in the morning, as well as milky teas and coffees. If you don't drink dairy milk, there are plant-based alternatives out there, such as oat, soya and almond.

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