Summer is so great! It is filled with sunshine, BBQ’s, lakes and camping 🙂 It is my favorite time of the year! We spend many weekends camping and usually try to get in at least one week long camping trip in as well.
Camping can be great because you are more active riding bikes, swimming or playing games with your family. But often our nutrition gets thrown out the window due to limited resources when camping (i.e. no fridge or running water).
We are lucky enough to have a travel trailer with a fridge and a water tank. But it wasn’t always like that for us, we spent many years camping in a tent, keeping our food in a cooler and cooking on the fire!
Healthy eating is 100% possible when camping, it just takes a little more thought and energy when preparing to go on your trip. And of course it is also okay to still bring your favorite camp treats such as chips or marsh mellows and chocolate for smores as that is part of the whole camping experience! You just want to make sure that meals are balanced so that you have energy to play games and rides bike with your family 🙂
So here are my tips for healthy eating when camping:
- Pre-wash and cut vegetables and fruit. The biggest struggle I have when camping is taking time away from all the fun to get meals and snacks ready, therefore I like to pre-wash and cut all my produce. Also, sometimes the water is not drinkable at a campsite so you don’t want to risk washing your fruit and veggies in it.
- Pack vegetables that are easy to grab and eat for snacks and at lunch time such as: mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, broccoli/ cauliflower florets and sliced bell peppers. I like to put the whole tray of vegetables on the table with a tub of hummus at lunch time and the kids (and adults) can enjoy it with their hotdogs or hamburgers.
- My go-to fruits for camping are watermelon, pineapple, berries and bananas. They all keep well after being washed and cut. I make sure to bring fruit out a breakfast as well as for snacks during the day.
- Pre- marinate meat for supper. If you are only going for camping for a weekend this works great! I like to save eating hamburgers and hotdogs/smokies for lunch time and try to make a more exciting meal for supper.
- Chicken kabobs. I make these ahead of time and add the sauce/marinade right to the storage container.
- Steaks. Who doesn’t love a good steak and potatoes when camping? I like to have this the second night since the longer it marinades the better 🙂
- Bagged salads. All I can say is they have come a loooong way. The new ones such as the Eat Smart sweet kale salad, Asian sesame, and southwest salad are so delicious and super easy to throw in your cooler or fridge. I like to save these for our supper meals and they only take 2 minutes to prep.
- Pasta/quinoa or potato salad: These are great side dishes you can make ahead to have as a starch at your supper meal as well.
- Homemade mini muffins. If I am feeling super ambitious I will make some homemade mini muffins to have as a snack during the day.
- Daytime snacks. Between the fruits/vegetables and mini muffins half of the daytime snacks are complete. I always like to add a source of protein to snacks so I pack cheese sticks and yogurt to have with the fruit, veggies or mini muffins.
- Water. Pack plenty of water bottles or 1 large water jug (the one you use for water coolers- this is what we do! You can buy pumps at camping stores for around $7-12). This will ensure you are not drinking juice or pop all day long, plus staying hydrated in the hot weather is also important for preventing heat stroke.
- Coolers. If you are packing food and drinks in a cooler be sure to pack them in separate coolers. This will ensure that the food stays cold longer because you wont be opening and closing the cooler often to get drinks out.
Here is an example meal plan for a weekend camping:
Get to camp and set up
Supper: Chicken kabobs, pasta salad and chipotle bagged salad
Friday night snack: Smores
Breakfast: Pancakes, eggs, fruit salad and bacon
Morning Snack: Fruit and cheese
Lunch: Cheese smokies (with a bun), raw veggies and dip.
Afternoon Snack: homemade muffins and fruit
Supper: Steak, roasted potato/baked potato/garlic bread, sweet kale bagged salad
Evening Snack: Chips or bush pies.
Breakfast: Pancakes, eggs, fruit salad and sausage.
Morning snack: Fruit and yogurt
Lunch: Hamburgers (with bun), veggies and dip
Afternoon Snack: Cheese and mini muffin
Pack up and go home.
What is your family’s favorite meal or snack to have when camping?