Question: I was just looking up a few recipes because I’m going camping this weekend. I was just wondering if you had any camping food ideas that are healthy?
Answer: We are very lucky to live in a part of the world with so many fantastic places to go camping. Camping is a great way to spend time with the family, unwind, distress and explore this beautiful province! For many, however, camping is also the perfect way to stray from healthy eating. When we think of camping food we often think of junk food: all the foods we normally don’t buy, but end up in our grocery cart before a camping trip: hot dogs, marshmallows, cans of pop and chips. With a shift in attitude and some planning, however, you can most definitely stick to a healthy eating plan and still enjoy the great outdoors!
The first step is to stick to your eating plan when camping is to simply change your attitude about camping food. Camping is not an excuse to eat whatever you want. Instead, stick to the basic guidelines of healthy eating: Eat 5-6 small meals per day, eat protein at each meal, limit or avoid the white stuff (sugar, white flour, etc) and stick to proper portions.
Remember that while eating healthy is important, ‘splurge-worthy’ treats can be part of a healthy diet. Try to keep your portions under control. For example, if you fancy a few chips in the afternoon, portion out a serving in a bowl rather than eating uncontrollably from the bag.
The food you pack will depend on the amenities you have when camping, and how energetic you are in food preparation. When I go camping, I like to keep things simple. While there are so many interesting and delicious recipes to try in the bush, I prefer meals that are quick to prepare and even quicker to clean up.
If you are backpacking, your food choices will be fewer than if you were staying in a trailer with a fridge, freezer and toaster oven. Assuming you have at least a cooler and ice, below are some suggestions of simple, easy to prepare foods to pack with you on your trip.
-Whole grain cereal with milk
-Whole grain bread with peanut butter
-Homemade, whole grain muffin
-Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
-Oatmeal (if using packaged instant stick to plain variety)
-Homemade or canned soups (while canned soups may not be the best option on a regular basis, a can of Minestrone or other vegetable-based soup is convenient and a healthier option)
-Homemade of canned chili
-Cheese and crackers, or sandwich. One of my favourites is cheese, avocado, tomato and hummus- YUM!
-Hummus and veggies (you can pre-slice your veggies at home)
-Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread
-Salad (you can prep your salad at home).
-Almost anything on the barbeque (chicken, steak, lean hamburgers)
-Chicken Souvlaki and chicken fajitas are usually on our camping rotation
-Chili or soup
-Smaller portions of any of your meals (see breakfast and lunch options)
-Fruit and veggies
-Healthier protein bars
-Portions of nuts
-Hard boiled eggs
-Alcoholic beverages in moderation (beer and wine are better options than sugary drinks)
-Sparkling or plain water
-Coffee or tea
-Enjoy… but watch your portions!