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Your Guide to Healthy Camping

What food comes to mind when you’re packing for a camping trip? Do you automatically reach for the easy options, like chips, hot dogs, hamburgers, and smores?

Often times, our habits tend to slip when we are removed from the comfort of our own kitchen.  But just because you’re sleeping in a tent and cooking over a fire doesn’t mean you have to set aside your efforts to eat healthy! Your camping trip can even be reframed as a wellness retreat where you have the opportunity to tune in with nature and your body – honoring it with nutritious foods!

Eating wholesome, nutrient-rich food while camping requires minimal gear, and everything can be prepared in advance at home. Having a meal plan for your camping trip will do more than keep you accountable. Fueling your body with healthy foods while camping will nourish your body and give you more energy to explore the great outdoors!

Here on some tips on eating healthy while camping:

1. Meal plan and meal prep

Writing out a meal plan ensures you are packing enough fuel for your journey and have all the necessary components to consume that food mid-trip (no one wants to be miles away with a can of soup and no can opener).

Do as much prep as possible while you’re still at home. Simple tasks like pre-washing & chopping veggies or pre-cooking quinoa are much easier to do in the kitchen than the campsite. Pack produce that tends to last longer and doesn’t bruise as easily, such as carrots, celery, apples and oranges.

2. Drink water

Stay hydrated by drinking up to 1 gallon of water each day. The amount of water your body needs increases with sun exposure and exercise. One great way to bring water is to freeze it in gallon jugs before your trip and add to personal bottles throughout the day.

3. Pack smart

The right tools are integral to healthy camping food. It’s too easy to grab something unhealthy when you forgot a pan for the chicken or a skewer for veggies. Some tools you cannot overlook include:

  • Electric stove for the things that can’t go over an open flame
  • Spatula
  • Spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, to name a few
  • Skewers for veggies
  • Tinfoil for the Dutch oven cooking method
  • Plastic bags for healthy snack packs like celery and carrots
  • Dish soap and sponge
  • LIghtweight pan(s)

4. Enjoy

Here are some tasty breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert ideas for your camping trip!

Breakfast:

  • Pre-make smoothies at home and freeze them in freezer-safe jars. Bringing frozen smoothies helps keep the rest of the food in the cooler cold, and they’ll be perfectly thawed when you’re ready to have them.
  • Chia parfaits and overnight oats are also tasty, nutritious and don’t take up much space. To make even more room, bring a pre-mixed bag of oats, chia seeds, hemp hearts and cinnamon which you can just add hot water to.
  • Peanut butter, bananas, and whole wheat bread can be brought along and easily be assembled in the morning.
  • Bring a can of low sodium black beans and some dried quinoa, add water as needed, bring to a boil and let simmer around 20 minutes or until the quinoa is ready, top with salsa, avocado, cilantro, or parmesan.

Lunch/dinner:

  • Make a large salad (greens, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, or couscous are great options) or portable whole grain sandwiches and wraps before arriving at your campsite. These meals are easy to grab after a long morning of hiking or swimming and will stay fresh throughout the duration of your trip.
  • Root vegetables, such as potatoes, yams, carrots & beets, are great to grill and leftovers keep well for future lunches. Other great vegetables for grilling are asparagus, zucchini and mushrooms. You can also make a big veggie stir-fry in a cast iron pan.
  • DIY Foil Packet Dinners: Prep these ahead of time by adding protein, vegetables and seasoning to a zip-close bag, and when the time comes, wrap portions in heavy duty foil to throw over the open campfire. Try sausages, peppers, peaches, diced potatoes, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil.  

Dessert

  • Grilling ripe fruit like peaches, pears or pineapple caramelizes the sugars and creates a warm, toasty dessert that is lovely with a dollop of Greek yogurt.  
  • Another favorite is to carve an apple, fill it with trail mix and cinnamon, and bake it on the fire.
  • Healthy chocolate fondue! Melt dark chocolate in a small pan over the fire, dip in any fruit you’d like!

Healthy camping food is not only the better choice for your body. It’s easy to cook, too. If you prep beforehand, make it convenient, and have all the right tools, your healthy camping meals are just a campfire away!