This week marks week two of our road trip throughout Idaho. We are spending some time up here checking out various properties and hoping to close on a piece of land. In the past we have both had negative feelings towards camping because in the past camping meant eating food that made us feel less than ideal to say the least.
Camping often means eating convenience food, carbs, foods that have a long shelf life, being around people that eat delicious things like s’mores, licorice and candy, so unless you are on top of your game it is easy to fall victim to the camping diet. In the past we’ve come home from our camping trips feeling bloated, constipated, and even a few pounds heavier than when we left. What part of that is enjoyable?
In this post I would like to share what our camping and traveling cuisine looks like that makes us feel as healthy and normal as if we were eating at home.
We manage to eat the same food at breakfast as we do when we are at home. When we are on the road it is very tempting to skip breakfast because frequently we are wanting to get a head start on our day rather than spend 30 minutes preparing and cleaning up. We have learned that skipping breakfast is almost always a terrible idea because then we will be tempted to snack on less than ideal foods throughout the day for energy. We also notice a higher sugar intake when we skip breakfast.
Breakfast always consists of protein. In the past I’ve relied heavily on oatmeal but that never leaves me satisfied throughout the day. We make a pan full of the following:
Meat: Organic ground beef or bacon. Ground beef is easy to cook 1lb at a time and you can store the rest for dinner time or breakfast the next day. We eat about 1/4lb of ground beef each for breakfast. Bacon is a good choice as well but always seems to be messier. If you cut up bacon at home and put them in single-serving baggies then this will make your life easier.
Eggs: We use these egg cartons for camping to bring delicious organic eggs with us. We haven’t lost an egg yet. I’ve heard that days can last for days without refrigeration but we keep ours in a small cooler.
Potatoes: We bring a bag of organic potatoes with us always. I usually wash them before we leave the house so that all we need to do is cut them up. This is great because it adds some bulk to our meals, some variety, and they make us feel great unlike complex carbs or gluten-containing ingredients.
Cheese: A bag of cheese goes a long way on our camping trips. We throw a bag in the cooler and it’s a great addition to our breakfast scramble.
Coffee: We are coffee addicts and nothing changes when we camp! When we are on the road it is temping to get sugary coffees as coffee stands are in abundance. We usually head to Trader Joe’s before the trip and get a can of coffee that we love. We grind the beans ourselves on the coarsest setting possible. We then prepare coffee in a french press which works like a charm. It’s easy to clean and doesn’t require electricity like our espresso machine. We then bring some organic half and half to make our own camping breves. Sometimes we’ll add a little bit of honey but at least we are in control of how much sugar we are consuming.
By eating this breakfast we feel amazing, non-bloated, have plenty of energy, and usually aren’t hungry again until about 4pm which is close to dinner time when we are camping!
Lunch / Snacks
We are usually out and about during the day whether we are hiking, traveling to our next destination or working in a coffee shop. We don’t want to prepare three meals a day when camping which is why we eat a protein-filled breakfast but sometimes we need food to fill in the gaps. Since we try to stay away from processed food and carbs as that is what usually makes us feel bloated and have poor digestion, here are some of the things we eat.
Fruit: We like sugar (who doesn’t?) but we feel much better when we get our sugar from natural sources rather than eating something like candy. We enjoy fresh fruit because not only is it sweet and in abundance on the side of the road in summer but it also has a lot of water and fiber. Dried fruit is an option but it’s easy to overeat and it generally makes us feel bloated. On this trip we’ve passed multiple fruit stands and enjoyed cherries and apricots.
Nuts: Nuts are not a meal replacement but can be a great high-protein snack to hold you over to your next meal. We enjoy picking up a couple bags of cashews (a great source of omega 3 fats which our American diet is lacking in!) from Trader Joes before our road trips. Sometimes we get flavored cashews which tastes more like a chip but without the bloat and discomfort.
Dark chocolate: We are going to eat sweets anyways, so might as well be in control and eat what we are craving rather than settling for a gas station alternative. We love chocolate and eat it almost daily so we choose to continue that habit while camping. We love dark chocolate covered almonds, dark chocolate covered ginger, or even just bars of dark chocolate. Be sure to keep these in a cool place!
Tortilla chips: These aren’t our most ideal camping food but frequently we aren’t at our destination in time for dinner, so these are great to have on hand. If we are eating our planned meals then we don’t really snack on them because our nutritional needs are being met, but at least we aren’t chowing down on bread or gluten.
Rice crackers, deli meat & cheese: We just recently discovered this snack. Seems obvious, right? It’s like an adult lunchable! Neither of us do well with gluten in excess so eating rice crackers solves this problem. They get pricey but they will go a long way when partnered with some protein. We try to buy organic deli meat as there are lots of additives in traditional deli meat. We get creative with our combinations… chicken, turkey, ham, pepper jack cheese, provolone, swiss, the options are endless!
Dinner is another meal that we try to pack with protein and flavor. In the past I’ve eaten packaged camping food which always left me feeling fat, bloated and downright grumpy because of it. We keep dinner simple and usually eat a bowl or corn tacos with the following ingredients.
Meat: We usually use the leftover ground beef from breakfast. This is the base of our meal. We love chicken but I find preparing chicken to be a hassle when camping. It also doesn’t seem to last as long in the cooler.
Onion: Onions keep quite a while once cut so we usually bring a decent-sized container of chopped onion on our camping trips.
Cilantro: I chop a bunch of cilantro before we leave and a small container will hold a lot. This doesn’t last more than a week or so though.
Lime: On this trip I brought a few limes and pre-sliced them. This was great to squeeze over our bowls and tacos and added a nice kick of flavor.
Cheese: Can you go wrong with cheese? We can’t!
Tortilla chips or corn tortillas: Both are a great option to have because just when a taco bowl sounds boring, tacos sound amazing! We also enjoy having a crunch to our bowls sometimes.
Drinks are one thing that gets people when they camp. Soda in excess and camping tend to go hand-in-hand. Below are some of the things we keep in the cooler so that we can enjoy beverages in a healthier way:
Cider: We LOVE hard cider in most any flavor. We wouldn’t consider ourselves alcohol lovers by any means but we frequently enjoy a hard cider with dinner. On this trip we have enjoyed apple cider, pear cider and even peach cider. This is also gluten-free unlike beer which tends to agree with our stomachs.
Coconut water: Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes and is a much better alternative to soda. It’s naturally sweet, refreshing, and can be great after a long hot day.
Kombucha: This isn’t really something we pack but if we are out and about and have the opportunity to buy some, they often make a great beverage when on the road or camping. Again, it’s a great alternative to soda and gives you a dose of probiotics.
This is pretty much everything we eat when we are camping and are on the road. We usually eat out once or twice on a long road trip (hey, it happens) and we try to stick to simple food such as Cesar salads. If we chow down on pizza or carbs we usually feel it in the morning, but at least it is the risk we are willing to take! I hope this gives you some healthy camping food ideas for your next camping trip.
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