Healthy Camping Food Ideas
The fact that you'll be preparing your meals in the great outdoors for a few days doesn't mean that you have to resort to a diet of potato chips, hot dogs and roasted marshmallows; there are plenty of ways to enjoy healthy meals when you're camping.
Healthy Snack Options
Camping snacks don't have to be filled with empty calories. Pack your cooler full of precut fruits and veggies, such as:
- Grape tomatoes
- Carrot sticks
Add some fresh hummus, and you'll have a healthy snack and dip.
Enjoy Local Produce
If you're camping in a relatively rural setting, there's a good chance that you'll drive by a local farmer's market or a roadside produce stand on your way to the campground. Stop and pick up a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and grill them right over the fire.
Freshly Caught Fish and Veggies
If you do any fishing while you camp, consider cooking up the fish yourself for a healthy, delicious meal. Pair it with local produce for a quick meal:
- Place your cleaned and boned fish on a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Add some veggies like sliced onions, potatoes and carrots along with sliced lemons and salt and pepper.
- Wrap up the fish in the foil and place it in the ashes of the fire, or on a grill.
- Cook for 30 minutes. Use care opening the foil.
Tasty Campfire Burgers
Hamburgers don't have to be unhealthy. Burgers made from a lean cut of beef and cooked over an open fire can be quite healthy. Just leave off the full-fat mayo and cheese and opt for whole grain rolls or wraps instead of huge white bread buns.
Freeze Make-Ahead Meals
Consider preparing and freezing a few of your favorite healthy soup or chili recipes in advance of your camping trip. Toss the frozen containers into your ice chest, allow to thaw and heat on your campsite grill at mealtime.
While you can always make something ahead of time and bring it with you, it's also possible to cook right over your campfire. Consider making something like beef stew for a hot, healthy meal one evening.
- Heat your pot over the fire, then add some olive oil to the bottom.
- Brown cubed beef on all sides, then add chopped onion, potato, carrots and spinach.
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Pour on enough water to cover and cook over the fire until the beef is cooked through and the vegetables are soft.
Dutch Oven Side Dish
Make a healthy, one-pot side dish to serve with any meal in a Dutch oven. Throw any vegetables you like - such as corn, carrots, new potatoes, broccoli and onion - into a Dutch oven. Add some vegetable stock or water and simmer over the fire until the vegetables are tender.
Quick and Healthy Breakfast
For a quick and healthy breakfast while you're out camping, consider making some healthy muffins at home ahead of time. Muffins freeze and travel well; just grab one each morning and you're good to go.
Rely on Nuts for Energy
Instead of packing a selection of candy bars in your backpack for extra energy on the hiking trail, toss in a few containers of nuts. While nuts are not low in calories, they're a healthy source of protein and will provide you with energy without giving you a sugar rush and subsequent crash. Roast and flavor your own nuts, like almonds, at home before you leave for a delicious, but healthy snack.
Cereal bars can be a great snack or a quick breakfast. Make your own at home before you leave to control the ingredients and amount of sugar added to ensure they're a healthy option.
If you don't want to rely on mixed nuts on their own, consider making some trail mix to take along with you. Use any combination of nuts, along with dried fruits like raisins and apples, along with a little bit of something sweet like chocolate for quick energy. To keep the trail mix healthy, weight it heavily on the side of the fruit and nuts and keep the sweet stuff spare.
Broccoli travels well and mixes up easily into a quick and healthy salad you can serve with any meal. Keep the ingredients on hand to throw together right before eating, or make some at home before you go.
3 Bean Salad
Three bean salad is a healthy option for either a side dish, or a vegetarian meal. Beans have protein that can help keep you going for long hiking trips, and bean salads are easy to prepare and travel well.
Dried fruit, like banana chips, makes an excellent healthy snack option for camping. To get dried fruit without added sugar, consider using a dehydrator at home. Slice up any fruit into thin pieces and dry for a crunchy or chewy snack.
Taking the time to prepare and plan for your meals before camping as it will help you make better choices about what to eat. Stock up on some healthy food and a few good campfire recipes to ensure your camping trip is as healthy as possible.