Sunday, August 18, 2013

Healthy Camping 2.0: Food

If you have not already read my first installment of healthy camping, Healthy Camping 1.0: Working Out, check it out!

This is part two, about how to eat correctly while out on your trip. So many people relate camping to unhealthy snacks, prepackaged items, and overall eating complete junk. But honestly, why is this? I know that buying quick, ready to go foods seems the easiest route... after all, you're out in the WILDERNESS, what else is there to eat when you can't cook on a stove?

Uh... who needs a stove?! Camping is honestly the IDEAL environment (no pun intended) to prepare EASY food in a nutritious way. How do you think the caveman cooked their food? Or those surviving in the wild? They certainly could not have access to a Walmart for a Twinkie or Cheeto run, or have the ability to use a stove top. What did they use? A fire... something that you most likely have as well when camping!

A fire is your best friend when preparing healthy camping food. Most camp grounds will offer a fire pit at your location, and often times even have a wire or metal tool that can be placed over it. This can be used not only to keep the fire down, but also to hold foods as they are being cooked! If your camp ground does not offer this tool, you can bring one yourself (such as a wire rack).
With the fire, you can easily cook raw meats. You can cook vegetables kabob style, or wrap them in foil and let them "steam" a bit (if you do this, I suggest adding some liquid in the form of chopped tomatoes or perhaps a bit of broth or water). Also, potatoes are easily cooked if put in a fire pit and wrapped in foil. 

Image via Google Images

Also, try cooking over the fire using pots or pans. Instead of roasting marshmallows on a stick, stab on meat and roast them the same way!

Image via Google Images

Image via Google Images

Try bringing your own grill, either charcoal or electrical powdered. On my recent trip, my godparents brought their grill and we used this each night instead of the fire. It works just as well!

If you have access to an electrical output at your site, you could bring a small toaster oven. We did this as well, and we cooked potatoes this way. It takes a while, yes, but how much easier does it get to throw some food in there in the morning, and when you return in the afternoon or evening, it is done?

Make sure to bring basic utensils. Forks, spoons, and napkins can be throw away if wanted, but I suggest you make sure and bring at least two quality knifes with you to ensure you can chop your meats and vegetables.

Don't forget seasonings too! You can do alot with the basic salt and pepper, but I am also talking about simple, not always "ground" seasoning. Cooking your meat in foil alongside an onion creates tons of flavor, and you can try adding some tomato paste in with a soup, meat, or vegetable mix to add a bit of tang.

Now, some might be wondering how you safely bring raw meats and vegetables to a camp site without them spoiling first. If you choose to buy them before you arrive, pack them in a cooler. If you know your camp site is within realistic, drive-able range of a grocery store, try settling yourselves in the site and then make a quick trip to the store. Or you know, you could be really awesome and hunt your own meat... but that is only optional. ;) (However, any fish you catch really can-and should- be eaten!)

As far as storing meats and veggies go... again, stick with a cooler. Some people have mini fridges (if you are in a camper like I was, or you are staying in a cabin)... but otherwise, just make sure you have access to fresh ice daily, and you will be fine.

Most of all... BE PREPARED!! PLAN AHEAD!! Don't go out to the site without knowing what you are going to be doing. You have already planned and packed your clothes and such, so why not also be ready when it comes to food? Perhaps the week you are leaving, write down what you plan for doing at meal time, and make a list. That way grocery shopping and cooking will be easy.

Here is a view of my campsite. You can see the fire pit (which we did not use this time), and the grill my god parents brought in the back there!

Now, I am not saying that all pre packed snacks are bad. I utilized a few of these things when I was camping, and highly suggest you do so as well. Some healthy, ideal meal or snack items would be:

- Hummus
- Baby cheese rounds or sticks
- Sliced up fruits or vegetables
-Unsweetened fruit or applesauce cups 
-Small packets of peanut butter  
- Packaged, unsalted nuts 

I know there are more, but these are just some off the top of my head. Let me know if you have other suggestions for this list!

I was lucky enough to also have access to a gas powered stove (yes, I know this sounds so hypocritical of me! But USUALLY I don't have a stove what so ever.) That being said....

I made makeshift Paleo Pancakes. I didn't have a pan so they were more like... sweet, scrambled fruit eggs with peanut butter? Weird, but oh well. It worked!

These are just some basic guidelines on how to stay on track with your food while camping. With proper preparation, there is no reason ANY traveling should ever be used as an excuse to slack on your diet.

When you go camping, what do you eat?

This post is linked to Unprocessed Fridays 


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