Healthy Camping Food
So apparently it’s the time of year where people voluntarily go sleep outside, forfeit showering, mingle with bugs, and spend all day chipping their mani's. I’m told it’s called “camping” and I’ve been asked so many times this past week about what to bring to stay on track that I want to help you out.
I’ve clearly never gone because I have about 500 better things to do, but my team came up with a list of tips for you from their IRL experiences. Sharing them here because that’s what I do - get you the info you need even though I’d prefer to have a spa day and sleep in an actual bed at night.
Here’s how to survive a few days in the wild with only a cooler, camp stove, and fire pit… that’s right. You’re pretty much starring on Naked and Afraid.
- Bring grass-fed organic ghee as your cooking oil. It’s the best because it doesn't need to be refrigerated and has a high smoke point (think: being able to withstand cooking at high temps, like flames). You can find it by the oils in the grocery store because it’s shelf stable.
- Grill basket (for both the fire and camp stove)
- Hummus is a must. It lasts a while, it’s good to add flavor when you have limited spices and can go with just about any meal/snack.
- Pre-cut veggies: great for a snack, side dish, salad topper, etc. Pre-chop peppers, carrots, radishes, jicama, cucumber... trust me, you'll eat them!
- Eggs are easy. Get one of those egg carrying cases so you don't have a mess on your hands.
- Fruit: apples are great because they don't squish and can be thrown in a bag for a hike. For this reason, don't waste time with bananas.
- Bars / Nuts: an obvious one, but go to the bulk section and get high quality (organic, raw) nuts. For bars, get ones with all real ingredients and less than 5g of sugar (Epic Bars / Jerky, KIND Bars - read the label, Oatmega Bars, Chia Bars, etc)
- Spices / Sauces to bring: salt (get a cheap-o pink salt grinder at the grocery store), pepper, crushed red pepper, salad dressing, ghee (cooking oil for high heat and doesn't need refrigeration), Sriracha, and hummus.
- Bagged salads. Taylor Organic brand is a great option. This saves you time when you’d rather be hiking / enjoying your trip rather than chopping veggies. But you must eat veggies, so bring a few bags!
- If you’re a coffee drinker, bring a French Press. Heat the water on the fire/camp stove and pour over your pre-ground organic coffee beans. No electricity needed. #classy
MEAL IDEAS - Do you guys know Lauren Deaton, one of Nutritional Wisdom’s Master Coaches, my partner in crime, and real-life moral compass? Well, she’s crazy and actually enjoys camping. Here are her words of wisdom:
- “Foil Packs” are a tradition from my dad’s Boy Scout (can we still call it that!?) days. You take foil, fill it with chopped meat of your choice (I like steak) and chopped veggies such as peppers, onions (adds the flavor), potatoes, mushrooms, brussels, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, etc. Add oil and spices (see The Essentials) and double wrap it in foil so it has another layer covering the wrapped side. Throw it on the hot coals (NOT the flame) for about 15-25 min (gently turning ½ way through - don’t poke them or get too cocky. Poke a hole in it and you’re going hungry!) and open up a steaming packet of what I consider the most delicious meal on the planet. BONUS: if many people are going, everyone can make their own combo depending on what they like. Bring a Sharpie and put initials on the outside to keep it all straight!
- Eggs with veggies and avocado toast. I toast the gluten-free bread on the camp stove - it takes all of 3 seconds each side and will catch fire, so have tongs in hand and don't burn your fingers!
- Salmon (easy and quick to cook on a camp stove) with potatoes + veggies + topped with lemon. Use salt, pepper, and ghee and you’re all set.
- Canned soups are a good one to bring for the end of the trip (they have a longer shelf life, no cooler required). I like Amy's Organic brand as it’s easy to find and decent quality for canned soups. Also, canned beans are a good and filling side or breakfast add-on for camping. Again, go organic and no salt added!
- Shish-kabobs - I chop up meat and veggies then put them in a ziploc with marinade before I leave. That way you don't have a huge mess to clean when you're in the wild. Then I just dump it in a grill basket and cook on the camp stove/fire.
- Pre-make chili and re-heat it on the fire or camp stove with a side salad (bagged salads are my fave to bring for sides).
- Sausages are a good option because they are pre-cooked (I got food poisoning once on a camping trip, so I'm crazy now). Applegate Farms has great sausages/hot dog style meats (avoid any frozen burger patties or frozen meats - they are next to impossible to keep frozen and they get gross at cooler temperature). This can be for breakfasts/lunch/dinner depending on the sides.
- Burgers (or a burger salad, skip the squished bun!) are also easy. Save time by making the patties ahead of time - the less prep the better! You can easily make some fries if you bring potatoes to chop up… just add ghee + salt!
- It's a strange tradition but I always make this Broccoli Quinoa Salad. It's easy, keeps well, and filling!
- Siete Tortillas are amazing for wraps while you're there. Get some Applegate Farms deli meats, grilled meats from the night before, or just a bunch of veggies. I'll use bagged salad, hummus, avocado, meat and throw it in a backpack to hike!
- Stop by a Whole Foods or Juiceland (if you’re in Austin): I grab a bunch of pre-made salads and veggie bowls to have in the cooler for lunches / hikes. It’s not as cheap as making them yourself, but it's tightly packed, and I get the ones with no meat so I don't worry if it's not chilled all day on a hike. It's good for on the road too if you're driving to your campsite.
- Don’t actually eat this because it’s essentially cooked in plastic, but technically it’s safe to eat… take a Dixie Cup, put a raw pasture-raised egg (in the shell) in it. Fill it up almost to the top with water, and set the cup in the hot coals. After about 6-10 minutes you’ll have a fresh hard boiled egg. The wax and water prevent it from catching fire. BONUS: take bets from other people to see if it will work. I’ve won some money doing this...
Last but not least, s'mores. I've made these and loved them! Grab some Organic Annie's Graham Crackers at the grocery store and you're all set!
There you have it, you happy campers! Send pics! Any tricks of the trade we missed? Comment below!
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