Going on a camping trip and spending some time in the great outdoors is one of the best things you can do for your health – both mentally and physically. Unplugging from the internet and busy corporate world can help bring down your stress level and blood pressure. Breathing in the fresh air can help oxygenate your cells, which is great for detoxing. Additionally, all of the hiking and physical activities involved in a camping trip can help you burn off some extra calories. While it’s clear time spent outdoors can improve your health, many people sabotage those benefits by loading up on unhealthy foods. That doesn’t have to be the case, though. Read on for healthy camping food ideas and recipes!
Just think about a typical camping trip for a second. Usually, campers fill their paper plates with processed deli meats, hot dogs, candy bars, smores, and booze. Sure, all this stuff is delicious and fun, but they don’t help nourish your body for a day of activities. Rather, these foods are loaded with sugar, sodium, and preservatives. That means they make you sluggish, tired, and bloated.
You can easily swap out the junk for fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthier dessert options with a few simple packing tricks.
Quick Tips To Prepare Healthy Camping Food
Before you hit the road and head to the campsite, grab a pen and paper and start planning. Plan out how many people are going on the trip, how many days you are going to be away, what cooking tools will be at the site, and what activities you are going to fill your days with. This will all help give you an idea of the amount/type of food you’ll need to bring.
From there, start coming up with a menu plan for each day. Think about breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, and more snacks. Keep in mind — on days you plan to do harder activities, you’ll likely get hungrier and need to eat more food.
Plan For An Extra Day
You never know what’s going to happen when you are away. Maybe you’ll wind up leaving a day early or staying a day later than planned. Since you don’t want to run out of food, it’s always a good idea to bring along at least one extra day’s worth.
Create a Kitchen Checklist
After checking out the campsite to see what cooking appliances/tools they offer on the grounds, start creating your own list of things to bring. Some common items include:
- Coolers / ice
- Firewood / charcoal
- Fire starters / newspaper
- Propane or liquid gas stove (you will also need propane canisters if you bring your own stove)
- Smoker (if you want to smoke your meat)
- Dutch oven
- Cooking utensils (pots, pans, etc.)
- Skewers / grill fork
- Paper plates
- Plastic utensils
- Trash bags
- Paper towels
- Aluminum foil
- Pot holders
This is just a short list of essentials and ideas. Never fall short of ideas on how to build a camp or survival fire with Geekprepper’s post, Ultimate Fire Building Guide & Glossary with Dozens of Techniques.
Save Cooler Space With Frozen Drinks and Food
When it comes to packing for a camping trip, people often want to pack more food than they have room for. To help save you some cooler space (and extend the chill life of drinks/cold food), freeze your water bottles and any freeze-able foods a few days in advance. They will act as additional ice packs in your cooler until they’re consumed.
Extend Chill Life
During the trip, open your cooler as infrequently as possible. Additionally, try not to lift the lid all the way up. This will help trap the cold in your cooler, extending the chill life. To save you from having to rummage through your cooler to find the meal you want to eat, thoughtfully plan out your meals in advance. This will allow you to pack the foods that you’ll eat early in the trip at the top of the cooler.
Types Of Foods You Can Bring + Recipes
The more meals you can cook and assemble before your trip, the better! Here are some make-ahead breakfast ideas that are made with nourishing ingredients to help energize your mind and body for the day ahead.
Yogurt Parfait – Yogurt parfaits are super simple to prepare and easy to pack. Since the yogurt can spoil, though, this is a meal you’ll want to eat the first morning of your trip.
No-Bake Overnight Oats – Overnight oats are extremely easy to prepare and pack in your cooler. All you have to do is fill a Mason jar with oats, liquid, some add-ins, and toppings (this particular recipe calls for rolled oats, chia seeds, banana, almond milk, and vanilla extract). Pop it in the refrigerator the night before you leave for your trip and the flavors will fuse together by the morning. No cooking required. Overnight oats will stay fresh for up to three days in the refrigerator (or your cooler), so make sure to eat them toward the beginning of your trip.
Egg Muffins – While there is some controversy about eggs because of the high fat and cholesterol content, researchers say eating whole eggs is actually extremely good for you. It’s important to remember that not all fats and cholesterol are created equal. Eggs are actually a great source of protein, healthy fats, and good cholesterol. Plus, eating just one egg provides your body with 13 essential vitamins and minerals. Oh, and did I mention that one large egg is only 70 calories?
Eggs aren’t the only star in this breakfast muffin, though. It’s also loaded with vegetables that provide your body with an extra dose of essential nutrients. Make these egg muffins before your trip, wrap them up in plastic wrap, and then heat them up on your campfire stove when you’re ready to eat.
Breakfast Burritos – Burritos are great since you don’t need any plates or utensils to dig in and enjoy. Make your burritos ahead of time, wrap them in some tin foil, and pack them in the cooler to keep fresh. Just like with the egg muffins, you can easily heat your burrito on your campfire stove. If you follow a gluten-free lifestyle, just make sure to use gluten-free tortillas. You can even go one step further and make them yourself with this homemade gluten-free tortilla recipe.
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