Whether it’s your first time camping or your hundredth, you know how important planning ahead can be. Although there’s plenty of excitement involved with just heading out on the open road, deciding where to camp on a whim, you’re going to want to plan a few things to make sure that you don’t end up stuck somewhere that you don’t want to be.
The food that you take while camping is one of those things. When you plan ahead, you’ll be able to keep up with your healthy, well-balanced diet, even when you’re sitting around a campfire in the middle of nowhere.
Factor One: Consider Your Campsite
Before you can really plan out what you’re going to bring with you on your camping trip, you need to take where you’ll be camping into account. Unless you have an obsession with camping gear and mini-stoves or you’re an expert in cooking over an open fire, you may want to keep it simple with the foods that you’re bringing along. While there are plenty of ways to adapt cooking styles to what you have available, planning around what you know you’ll have for sure is always a great idea.
Factor Two: Consider Your Refrigeration Situation
When it comes to meals, you’ll obviously want to consider whether or not you’ll have a fridge (hey, we don’t know, maybe you’re heading out in a luxury trailer)! The last thing that you want is a situation where you end up with food poisoning far away from any local hospital. Meat or dairy that isn’t refrigerated can be potentially dangerous says Kitchen Gearoid, so coolers will likely be your best friend. Luckily, this isn’t so much of an issue when it comes to snacks.
Bring shelf-stable foods with you that you can easily snack on (perhaps a delicious, protein-packed breakfast bar?). The packing process becomes much easier if you don’t need to worry about big, bulky coolers or the extra power it requires to bring a refrigeration device with you.
What Makes A Good Snack?
Just because you may be out in the woods or at a national park doesn’t mean you have to leave your healthy lifestyle behind—in fact, it might be even more important. With a little planning, you can easily continue making good dietary choices even when you’re hitting the backroads and living out of a tent.
Timing is one of the most important parts of good snacking. When you’re out on a hike, getting hangry is pretty much the last thing that you want. It pays to be prepared with a healthy snack to fend off any murderous urges that might arise while you’re out in the woods before dinnertime.
A good rule of thumb is to take stock of your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10. Instead of waiting until you’re a 7 or an 8 to snack, grab a small snack to tide you over when your hunger level reaches a 3 or 4. So many of us wait until our stomachs are growling to eat something. Unfortunately, by the time you’ve reached this point, much of the damage has already been done… you’re grumpy, and you’ve lost focus. This is never a good thing, especially when you’ve done the planning to head out on a camping trip. Don’t spend your trip in a bad mood—snack smarter.
Make sure that you always have something to eat in your pack or at your tent site so you don’t have to worry.
When it comes to camping, it becomes extra important that you pay attention to what you’re putting into your body. A healthy snack can make all the difference between a memorable trip and an absolute mess.
Start by paying attention to calories. With a general daily calorie requirement of 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women, a healthy snack should come in at between 150 to 250 of those calories. You want something that will tide you over without taking away from your main meals, a little pick me up to keep your metabolism going and give your body the fuel it needs.
It’s also important to note that if you’re going to be particularly active while you’re camping (and with options like hiking, canoeing, and rock climbing, why wouldn’t you be), you may want to up your caloric intake a bit to make up for what you’re losing.
Fiber is another important factor. Not only is fiber essential to a healthy, functioning GI system, it’s also a major factor in keeping you feeling full for a longer period of time. When you choose to eat at least 3 grams of fiber with your snack, it’ll extend the amount of time between snacks and meals. That means you can focus on anything other than food, like the fun you’re having far away from technology and the stresses of your daily life.
Protein is similarly important. Our entire bodies are made up of protein, from our hair to our nails to our cells. That means it also needs a source of protein to continue to grow, repair, and move. A good snack should contain around 5 grams of protein, at the very least, to help power you with healthy energy that won’t crash or fade away 20 minutes after you’ve eaten it, especially when you’re out in nature.
Although we didn’t design our Over Easy breakfast bars specifically as a healthy camping snack, it hits all of the requirements.
For starters, each of the bars that we offer has between 9 and 10 grams of protein to fill you up with a natural energy source so that you can take on the rigorous demands of hiking, canoeing, and more. They also have 7 grams of fiber from our organic oats and whole foods like banana and apple, so that you’ll feel full while you’re out on your adventures.
Plus, breakfast bars are easy to grab and stick into a backpack when you head out on the trail. We love them not only for their healthiness but also for their portability.
Fresh Fruits And Veggies
While not every fresh fruit or veggie is shelf-stable, some don’t need to go in the fridge and make great camping snacks without any of the guilt.
Stone fruits, for instance, are the perfect example. Cherries, peaches, and plums make great snacks, and you don’t have to worry about them going bad. Pineapple and melons are the same, and who doesn’t enjoy a tasty slice of watermelon on a warm summer day?
You can also bring apples, carrots, oranges, and bananas without worry. It’s a great way to maintain your healthy lifestyle without worrying about food poisoning.
Popcorn is another great camping snack if you take the time to make it ahead of your trip. Pack a few ziplock bags of popcorn that you can take with you on your hiking trips, or bring popcorn that you can pop right over an open fire. It’ll be a fun, bonding experience, and skipping the refined sugars and extra nonsense that will weigh you down will keep you on your toes while you’re out there braving the wilds.
S’mores (But Healthy)
Camping just wouldn’t be the same without s’mores. Although the traditional variety isn’t healthy, with chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers (we know, we were shocked too), there are ways to enjoy this camping standby without all of the junk. We know this sounds sketchy. Stay with us.
Try replacing the marshmallow with fresh fruit. When you caramelize fruit over an open flame, like apple, pear, or even strawberry, it gives the same mouthfeel and sweetness without all of the empty calories. Rice cakes or flatbread crackers make great substitutes for graham crackers, as well. And you don’t have to leave the chocolate behind! Just sub out milk chocolate for dark chocolate, which is full of antioxidants without extra dairy and sugar.
Food should make our bodies feel good, and we should be able to taste it when we eat it. Rid yourself of distractions and enjoy your snacks. And ultimately, camping is about removing yourself from all of the distractions that often plague us… so why not do the same thing with your eating?
Over Easy breakfast bars make a great camping snack. They are full of protein, fiber, and organic, whole foods without added refined sugar, dairy, or soy. When you’re heading out on your next great adventure, make sure to pack snacks that will give you the right source of energy so that you can have the trip you always dreamed about.