How To Have A Healthy Camping Trip
It’s time for flannel and your grandmother’s chili recipe and ghost stories. That’s right—it’s camping season. We go camping to connect with nature and feel refreshed, but we often come back feeling sleep-deprived, bloated, hungover, and like there is dirt and places we didn’t know dirt could access. While some great camping traditions are nostalgic for us, many of them aren’t the healthiest. If you live for camping season, have all the state-of-the-art lanterns, buy the designer sleeping bags and invest in the high-tech tents, then you may not be able to afford to continue some of the camping traditions you did as a child. Your waistline and your health may not be able to afford it, that is. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here are tips for having a healthy camping trip.
Banana Carob s’mores
If you want to cut the carbs and some of the sugar in your s’mores, try making banana carob s’mores. Slice open a banana and add melted carob chips and marshmallow spread to the inside. You’ll get potassium from the banana, and the carob can aid in the digestion of some of the heavier foods you eat this trip.
Try this breakfast hack
Camping breakfast can be heavy on the bacon, sausage, and pancakes. Instead, for short trips, try pre-scrambling eggs at home (otherwise they’d crack on the trip) and freezing them in Tupperware. Bring those in the cooler and let them thaw at the campsite. With a simple pan over the grill, you can make scrambled eggs for breakfast.
Pack these hearty grilling vegetables
Squash, potatoes, Anaheim chilis, avocados, corn, and onions can all live outside of the refrigerator. Bring these along in a large sack, and when you’re ready to eat them, simply slice them up, put them in foil with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss them on the grill.
Pack a crockpot
If you want to go gourmet on your camping trip, you can always pack a crockpot. Pack your favorite recipes in Tupperware and freeze them before the trip. Allow them to thaw at the campsite, and cook them in the crockpot while you’re out hiking or kayaking.
Bring fruits that don’t need the fridge
Campers often pack pre-chopped fruit salads, but these need to be kept cool, and often don’t keep for the whole trip. But there are plenty of fruits that don’t need refrigeration including plums, peaches, apples, bananas, pears, nectarines, any type of melon, oranges, and figs.
Get creative with salad
Lettuce will wilt fast in the cooler, but you’ll still want a salad. So pack whole bell peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. You can make a simple salad dressing with lemon and olive oil (these can all stay outside the cooler) and salt and pepper.
Make campfire popcorn
A little bit of popcorn goes a long way. Just a couple of cups provides fiber and whole grains, without racking up too many calories. And if you haven’t tried popcorn made on the campfire, you’re missing out. It tastes smokey and like real corn. If you need something to snack on with your beer before dinner, go with campfire popcorn instead of chips.
Try no-bake protein balls
There are hundreds of recipes for no-bake protein balls online, and you can choose ones that are gluten-free, dairy-free, or that meet any dietary restrictions. These pack much more nutrition than most store-bought granola or energy bars, and are easy to take along on hikes.
Invest in a mattress pad
If you don’t sleep well on your trip, you’re not going to enjoy it. Invest in a mattress pad to put beneath your sleeping bag. You can go firm or memory foam, depending on what you like. These will lift you off of the little sticks and stones under your tent that are bound to bother your back.
Bring a battery-powered fan
Overheating is a major hindrance to a good night’s sleep. If you camp in the summer, you probably face this problem. It’s time to invest in a battery-powered fan for your tent. It’ll keep you cool, plus drown out some of the sounds of the birds and other campers
Other ways to keep your tent cool
When setting up your tent, make sure it’s somewhere that will get plenty of shade. Remember that the sun moves and late in the afternoon, what once was a shady spot could be getting direct sunlight. Choose your spot smartly. Also, make sure you put your tent upwind of the breeze so it can get a natural draft. Open the tent flaps during the day so heat doesn’t become trapped inside of it.
Try vegan, high-fiber smores
If you can’t have smores without your graham crackers then look for high-fiber varieties. These will fill you up fast, so you won’t reach for as many of these sugary treats. You can also opt for vegan marshmallows, which won’t have all the chemicals of the traditional, processed ones.
This should go without saying, but get into nature! That’s what you went camping for, isn’t it? You can sit around drinking with your friends in your living room. But this is the time to go on nature hikes, swim, kayak, climb trees and burn some calories in the great outdoors.
Try zucchini buns
If you must have your hot dog, at least try it with a zucchini bun. Slice a zucchini nearly in half, leaving it connected on one side, scoop out some of the insides and grill it. You can now put your hot dog inside of it for a low-carb, high-fiber meal. This tastes delicious with barbecue sauce and grilled onions.
This one is particularly for female campers; bring wipes. You don’t know what the toilet conditions will be. There may not even be toilets. But campsites are breeding grounds for urinary tract infections, so bring wipes so you can clean yourself properly after going.