Many wonder if there is such a thing as healthy camping. We are here to say, “YES!”
Ahhhh…. Camping….The “Great Outdoors.”
When many people think of camping, visions of sugarplums (whoops, wrong story!), hobo pies stuffed with pizzas or pies, chips with dip, walking tacos and of course s’mores come to mind. On top of the food portion, there are campfires to sit around, ladder ball to be played and card games to win. All of which can be great. All can be fun. But like anything, moderation is “key.” Especially if your metabolism has slowed down (or stalled) or if you are mainly sedentary.
Cravings can be difficult. People love food. It is satisfying and can be comforting. We are no different. Do we enjoy food? We sure do! However now that we strive to be healthy, we opt to make “good” choices. Choices that we won’t regret later.
So, how do we stay on track?
Plan! Our meals are planned ahead of time. We plan ahead to have well rounded, healthy camping meals that contain a rainbow of colors from the food groups. We also track what we eat, how much protein we have, our vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and carbohydrates. On top of tracking what we eat, we also eat the healthiest of each food group. That means lean proteins, dark green vegetables, whole-wheat carbs, plenty of berries and seeds.
Set a game plan!
Healthy camping is not just about food. It is also about being active. One way we love to be active while camping is through hiking and biking. These are other areas that involves planning. Each night we set our game plan for the next day. We plan where we are going, how far we want to go and what to bring in our packs. Besides plenty of water, we pack shelf stable high-protein items, vegetables, nuts, healthy carbs (think Healthy Cookie Balls, whole wheat crackers, a sandwich) and firm fruit (apples and pears are great options). We also ensure we have a map of the area, safety items including a first aid kit, a whistle (great to bring in case you need to attract attention), a headlamp and a fully charged phone.
Accountability is a must. We keep each other in check as well as ourselves. If we plan to have a beer and/or s’more by the campfire – then we “save” some carbs for those treats.
Keep in mind that what works for us may not work for you but I hope you are able to garner something to take away from this. We love doing what we can to stay healthy so we can to make as many memories as possible.
End Note: Three years ago we booked a weeklong camping trip to Custer State Park in South Dakota. If you have NEVER been here before, I cannot recommend it enough. The land is incredibly beautiful, wildlife is amazing to see in their natural habitat and the hiking trails are more than we ever imagined! If you are looking for someplace to camp, I would HIGHLY recommend checking out Custer State Park. There are many state and private campgrounds available .