Exclusive Healthy Food Tips for Camping, Backpacking and Outdoor Lovers.
There is something about the excitement of planning a camping trip. So many of us spend much of our days hunched over a computer, driving in a car with a cellphone attached to our ear, or parked in front of a TV – forgetting that there is a whole world out there to explore and connect with. Once we finally wake up and say hey – I’d like to get back to nature, game on.
The outdoors is in my blood.
It started way back with my parents. Their first date was camping in the deserts outside San Diego, California. During my childhood growing up in the North East we rotated between tent camping and camping in slide-in campers that sit on the bed of a truck.
Three times we tent camped in the deserts of Arizona for two weeks at a time – what experiences to remember.
Once I moved to Florida, camping was a whole different ballgame in the summer. Namely the HEAT. If we wanted to camp year round I would need to figure something out to make it bearable. So I got this little beauty and restored her. Now my 6 year old daughter has been camping more times than we can count – starting when she was 8 weeks old.
But enough about me.
You’re here for the tips.
Keep in mind – these won’t really help if you plan to throw a couple of hot dogs on the fire and call it a day. I’m trying to keep you healthy here.
1. Plan your meals. Tossing a bunch of food in the cooler and expecting to come up with a brilliant plan upon arrival doesn’t work. Trust me. I tested this one out. Give yourself some time beforehand and think about what you’d enjoy given the time of year.
If it is hot out, the worst thing is slaving over a camp stove. Think sandwiches and fresh foods. When it is cold, there is nothing better than a warm soup or chili and you’ll enjoy the warmth of the fire.
2. Prep most of the food before you leave. Want to bring along some whole grain rice or beans? It is sort of a bummer if you’re stuck sitting at the fire for 45 minutes while everyone else is off doing a scavenger hunt. Try cooking the rice or beans first and freezing it in zip top bags proportionate to serving size. By the time you get to the campground it will be thawed in a cooler and you can just reheat. Same thing with veggies. Wash, dry and chop before leaving. You can store them in zip top bags with a few paper towels to keep the moisture in but stop them from getting mushy. (Remember to recycle your bags and not throw them out.)
3. Seek out farmers markets in the area you’ll be camping near. One of our favorite campgrounds is Skidaway Island near Savannah – through the Slow Food network I found the Forsyth Farmers Market. It. Is. Awesome. And anything we are missing, we can pick up there.
4. Reuse empty small bottles for condiments and spices. My family loves to go out to breakfast so I make everyone save their syrup bottles for me to put mustard, ketchup, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, pepper etc.
5. Buy some super-awesome, healthy pre-made food.
AH. Now we’re getting to the best tip. The real meaning for this post is to introduce you to a company with values that surpass most others in the realm of convenient food. I think you are gonna love it as much as I do!
Outdoor Herbivore launched it’s website in 2010. Owner, Kim, started the company after seeing a real need for healthy food on the backpacking trails and found a solution.
On one fateful trip she landed in the town of Damascus that was hosting a festival/reunion for backpackers. There she overheard many fellow backpackers talking about the lack of healthy and convenient food options and the idea for the company was born.
Coincidentally, during the festival she stayed in a little bed-and-breakfast where a strange machine was running. It was a dehydrator! At that point she put two and two together and realized she could learn to dehydrate and create healthy meals for backpackers across the US. She quit her corporate job and three months later she had her business up and running.
Healthy. What impresses me most about her business model is her commitment to whole, healthy and high quality foods and the variety of plant based meals.
She focuses on obtaining the majority of her ingredients from inside the United States so that she can verify sourcing, thereby processing as minimally as possible.
Dehydrating is one of the oldest and most healthful methods of preservation. It is used by many raw food enthusiasts because dehydrators work at such low temperatures that the enzymes stay intact.
Convenience. Many of her delicious meals are no-cook or only need hot water.
Some of her tasty options are:
Blueberry Maple Crunch
Sunrise Tofu Scramble
Basil Walnut Penne
Chickpea Sesame Penne
Lemongrass Thai Curry
Switchback Soup & Stuffer
They are reasonably priced at around $5.99 for 1-2 meals. The average non-backpacker can easily get two meals out of these.
Although I haven’t done backpacking as of yet, it is definitely in the plans. I am a camping lover and saw so many different uses for these meals that I ordered five to start.
They are perfect for any outdoor activities such as camping, biking and boating.
If you are traveling, they are great to pack in your suitcase or travel bag.
For kids in sports, bring some along for a long day at the field.
Please note: Outdoor Herbivore in no way endorsed or paid me to do this post. I simply stumbled across her site and fell in love with her food.
Are there any healthy eating camping, backpacking or outdoor tips that you live by? If so, please share in the comments below.