By Jessica Grant
My memories are flooded with family camping trips as a child. We would load up the camper, strap on the bikes, settle into the backseat with books and be off on the road. It was my favourite time of year.
Learning how to build a fire, set up a shelter and hide your belongings in a tree from bears is all a part of the Saskatchewan camping experience. One of my absolute favourite things about sleeping under the stars in the Boreal forest is the FOOD. (If you’ve been following, you could’ve probably guessed that coming from me.)Waking up in the early AM, even before the crows and starting a pot of drip coffee is THE best thing.
Isn’t camping food all about the marsh-mellows, smokies and bush pies?!
Camping rule #1: Always bring wood on your way back from the bathroom
When I was a kid, yes. Nowadays my camping experience is much different and includes a variety of wholesome foods. It’s about learning balance and enjoying your s’mores too! Whether we realize it or not, we are all on our own nutrition journey. Everyday we are presented with choices and as we grow and change so does the food we put into our body. If we’re doing the same thing we were two years ago, we are not evolving. Any yet, we all still have an inner child. How can we feed that inner child while nourishing our evolving adult?
Here are some easy alternatives to traditional camping meals that everyone will enjoy:
- Egg cups: Who needs two bite brownies when you can have a two bit omelette! These are easy to make ahead and great to warm up over the fire. Check out our Easy Egg Cup’s here.
- If you’re an early riser, it’s nice to have an easy meal to grab and go along with your morning walk and coffee. Overnight oats are a great idea and keep well for up to five days.
- 1/3 cup of oats. I’d recommend searching for something with a little added fibre like chia or flax.
- 1 tbsp of almond or nut butter of choice
- ½ cup of almond milk – this will give you a thicker consistency. Add more if desired.
- ¼ to ½ cup of berries. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries. You decide J
- Optional: ¼ cup of vanilla or chocolate protein powder to sweeten it up!
- Turkey bacon or sausage is also great for your morning protein.
- Yogurt bowls:
- Choose coconut or plain 0-2% greek yogurt as your base
- Mix in ¼ cup of berries and 1 tbsp of almond butter
- Top with 1-2 tbsps of granola, hemp hearts or chia seeds
- Turkey or chicken smokies are more readily available at grocery stores and are great for a lower fat option. I encourage you take the time to look at food labels, compare your past choices with new ones. Even stop in at a health food store and see what they have to offer!
- Tuna salad boats – this is simple to make ahead. Prepare your tuna with mustard, avocado and red pepper flakes. Add in celery, green onion and tomato if desired. Serve in romaine lettuce leaves.
- Burgers – what is camping with out a burger!? Opt to have raw veggies or coleslaw mixed with a olive oil mayo as a side.
Pro Tip: Wrap your burgers or smokies in lettuce. Or select sourdough and sprouted grain buns for added health benefits! Perusing the local farmers market for locally raised grass fed beed or bison will also kick up your meal to the next level.
- Taco in a bag – make up taco meat before you leave home. (extra lean ground beef or ground turkey work great) Make sure everyone has their own bag of salad and top with guacamole and salsa. Mix it up right in the bag. This makes for easy prep and clean up!
- What about the chips you say? There are great alternatives out there besides plain ole Dorito’s. Bean or rice chips make for a great substitute and will often pack a fibre filled punch.
Taco salads, buffet style
- Fire up that grill and toss cut up potato, onion and carrots with some olive oil and season to taste. Leave those to cook on the barby wile you grab out your already pre-marinated chicken soulvaki. 😉 Pair with a bagged salad.
- Bean or beef chili – you can check out a great chili recipe here. (just don’t stuff the peppers, they’ll get soggy) Make this ahead of time at home and get a little fancy by bringing along your crock pot for easy warm up. (it’s been done!) OR make everything over the fire and grill right at your campsite. Make sure you have cast iron pan if cooking over the fire. Bring along a container of pre chopped veggies, can of tomato’s and whatever other ingredients you may need and viola, easy campfire chilli!
- Turkey sausage or chicken veggie foil packs:
- Slice up veggies of choice: zuchinni, red peppers, onion along with oregano, parsley and garlic powder. Add in the turkey sausage. Wrap it all in foil and place on the BBQ or over the fire.
- Raw veggies and dip – hummus, guacamole, salsa or bean dip
- If you are a chipoholic try and choose a different alternative like rice, bean or sweet potato chips
- Buddha Bowl popcorn is a lower fat bagged popcorn made with coconut oil
- If you need to get a chocolate fix in, dark chocolate covered almonds might do the trick!
- Fruit salad – slice up banana, peel and orange and mix in some grapes and berries. Cool whip and strawberry greek yogurt make for a great dip.
- Superfood shakes – take out the guess work and ensure your body is receiving the nutrients you need. This is one I highly recommend.
My dad preparing our beach snacks. You should see the set up this guy has with his grill!
- Banana Boats anyone? An easy alternative to this meal is to use berries (and banana of course!) top with dark chocolate chips and 1 serving of mini marsh-mellows. Wrap in tinfoil and throw onto the fire to get warm and ooey-gooey.
- Apple crisp – this is another great one to wrap in tinfoil and throw into the fire. Well not directly into the flames, the hot coals will do just fine!
- Slice up 2-3 green apples
- Dash of nutmeg
- Cinnamon to taste
- 2 tbsp of coconut oil
*I adjusted the typical apple crisp recipe. Feel free to add in 1/2 cup of oats, and 6 tbsp of oat flour to give you the crunchy topping!
*Optional nummy toppings: walnuts
- Use tinfoil to create this snack. Double layer the bottom and spray with cooking spray to stop apples from sticking.
- Place you apples, coconut oil and spices in a ziploc bag and mix it all together before emptying the bag on your tinfoil pan.
- Spray an additional piece of tinfoil for the top. Place spray side down onto the apples. Crimp edges so nothing will leak out.
- Let it cook in the embers for 20-30 mins
- Keep it simple and bring what you need. Space will be limited in your vehicle and what you pack in you must pack out! If you’re in bear country, everything must go. Plus, we want to do what we can to keep our parks and environment clean. Let’s level up on decreasing our carbon footprint.
- Hydrate – Along with water make sure you bring other healthy low sugar options to drink. Flavoured carbonated water is perfect on a hot summer day. Bring flavoured water drops to spike your water and make it even better. For more on Hydration – check out Brittney’s Blog “Are You Chronically Dehydrated and Completely Unaware”
- If you want to enjoy some adult beverages, choose to fill up your plate with veggies first, followed by lean protein. Keep the carbohydrates lower as alcohol contains calories that our bodies don’t use in the same way as protein, carbs, and fats. For summer cocktail ideas and more on our recommendations surrounding alcohol, check out Melissa’s Guest Post: “3 Fresh Summer Cocktails”
There was so much ease to camping as a child, you just showed up and had a blast! Maybe if your sister was lucky she got left in the forest tied to a tree with a skipping rope. (true story) We didn’t realize the time and preparation it took to get the car loaded up, supplies organized, never mind getting the kids and the dog strapped in. Hopefully this Camping Meal Tip Guide will take some of the stress off of preparing for your trip and ease you into enjoying time on the beach soaking up the sun!
Happy camping and don’t forget your flashlight!
If you are interested in learning more and making the best decisions for your body this Summer then check out our B4YB challenge. Giving you the tools and structure you need, to enjoy summer FULLY without falling off the rails!