By Dianna Yanchis BSc (Nutrition)
Reviewed by Andrea Miller MHSc, RD
With the summer season quickly approaching, many people are booking their vacations and are ready to enjoy the beautiful weather. Camping is a great summer activity that allows friends and family to spend time with each other while enjoying the outdoors. With few resources and little time it can be difficult to prepare healthy meals and snacks. Here are a few tips on how to eat well, during your next camping trip!
- Plan and prepare ahead of time: Before going on a trip, write out a menu for every meal and snack. Pack all foods that are included in the menu. To save time, chop fruits and veggies before leaving and pack them in containers so they are ready to be eaten while on the go. Remember to pack the correct cooking tools.
- Include activities like hiking, swimming, and biking: A weekend in the woods is a great way to be physically active.
- Bring along containers for portable lunches and snacks: This allows for individual food portions that are easy to carry around with you. Leftovers can also be packed into portable containers to save for the next day.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water to keep your body hydrated is very important especially after a full day of outdoor activities. Be sure to bring along a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day.
- Enjoy traditional camping foods: A variety of foods can be included as a part of a healthy diet. Be sure to enjoy camping essentials like S’mores and hotdogs in moderation while camping.
- Fruit: apples, bananas, pears and oranges are great because they do not need to be refrigerated. Include canned fruit, packed in juice as well as unsweetened applesauce.
- Homemade granola: Prepare a mix before you go. Click here for a great recipe for homemade granola
- Eggs and veggies: Omelets or scrambled eggs with added veggies make great camping breakfasts. Choose veggies such as peppers, mushrooms and onions, as they tend to do better at warmer temperatures. Cook over the camping stove or over a fire and enjoy!
- Pre-made- and frozen pancakes- add fruit and yogurt and enjoy!
- Veggie plate
- Quick proteins: Tuna, canned beans, nuts/seeds, hard boiled eggs
- Whole wheat pita and hummus
- Peanut butter and jam in a whole wheat wrap, with fruit on the side
- Meat: freeze your meat, and seal it in freezer bags, before you go so it takes time to defrost in the cooler.
- Vegetable medley- cooked or raw
- Baked potatoes- white or sweet potatoes- wrap in foil and cook over the fire or on a camp stove.
- Prepared meals: Try making a casserole or chili before leaving for your trip. Once cooked, portion out into small containers and freeze.
- Homemade granola bars
- Nuts and seeds
- Dried/fresh fruit
It is essential to keep food at safe temperatures and free from contamination, while you are camping. Here are a few food safety tips, to help you stay safe and healthy, while camping:
- Pack foods in tight, waterproof bags or containers. Keep them in an insulated cooler.
- Wash hands and surfaces often. Use hand sanitizer if water is not available.
- Separate raw foods from cooked foods.
- Cook foods to proper temperatures; click here for food temperature guidelines
- Chill foods promptly.
- A block of ice keeps longer than ice cubes. Before leaving home, freeze clean, empty milk cartons filled with water to make blocks of ice. Fill the cooler with cold or frozen foods. Pack foods in reverse order. First foods packed should be the last foods used.
- Double-wrap meat and poultry when transporting in a cooler to prevent raw meat juices from dripping onto other foods. Pack raw meat or poultry below ready-to-eat foods to prevent raw meat or poultry juices from dripping on the other foods.
- Take foods in the smallest quantity needed (e.g., a small jar of mayonnaise). At the campsite, insulate the cooler with a blanket, tarp, or poncho. When the camping trip is over, discard all perishable foods if there is no longer ice in the cooler.
- Keep coolers closed, out of the sun, and covered, for further insulation. Better yet, bring two coolers: one for drinks and snacks, and another for more perishable food. The drink cooler will be opened and closed a lot, which lets hot air in and causes the ice to melt faster. Store food in watertight containers to prevent contact with melting ice water.
- Bring disposable wipes for hand washing.
- Store all food and coolers in the car or trailer, at night and when you are off site- this will prevent animals from snacking on your food.
Most importantly, remember to enjoy the outdoors and all the great food while spending time with family and friends!
For more outdoor food safety tips, click here