Eating Healthy While Camping
What's on the menu when you're enjoying the great outdoors overnight? Aside from roasting marshmallows, camping trip meals may be a big question mark. To make sure you don't end up overdoing it with trail mix to keep your hunger pangs at bay, think C.A.M.P. before you leave civilization.
The bulk of the food you bring should not require cooking. Whether or not you're ready for the campfire, you will probably only cook one main dish a day, usually meat and roasted vegetables before turning it in for the night. The rest of the day, meals can be based on foods that are ready to eat such as beef jerky, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, grains such as oatmeal or barley, and canned foods. Because cooking and eating utensils will be at a minimum, remember to bring single use cutlery that's plastic-wrapped.
Water (or agua in Spanish, hey, we had to get creative!) is essential to keep you hydrated and for reconstituting any dry meals such as pasta, soup, or milk you might bring along. It's also a reminder that water is not in abundance to keep you and your cooking utensils clean. Remember to bring single-use and a large tub of wet wipes to keep your hands clean before and after eating. Also remember to bring sanitizing tablets to clean any cooking surfaces you use. If you have the luxury of ice and electricity, be sure to bring along an electrical cooler, and bring backup water to keep in your vehicle just in case. Bring a small crock pot or insulated canister to more water in. You can never have too much.
Some foods are a good match but shouldn't be put together until just before they're eaten on a camping trip. Instead of making sandwiches, salads, or shakes before hand, match the ingredients and put them together when it's time to eat. Pack pita layers, olives, grape tomatoes, deli meat, and single packs of condiments to put together a wrap on site. Salad greens can be treated the same, with cucumbers, celery or broccoli kept in a sturdy plastic container to prevent them from being smashed. Matches that will make cooking possible should be packed away from any food items. While it will help you cook dinner, any moisture from defrosting food could wet your matches and leave you in the dark when night falls. Another thing you should avoid matching is food and drinks. Drinks may make food soggy, so keep them in separate coolers if possible.
A protein-rich meal is a good way to stay satisfied. Think summer sausage, salami, energy bars, beans, hard-boiled eggs, nut butters and hard cheeses. All of these need minimal refrigeration and can be eaten on the trail or at base camp. You might also get some canned or prepackaged chicken or tuna that is easy to add to crackers or pita bread. You can also prepare for a protein shake by bringing protein powder to be added to a water bottle. Shake away and you can drink your meal.
Here's a checklist of food-related items to take on your camping trip.
How do you eat healthy while on a camping trip?