Camping is one of the best ways to get in touch with Mother Nature and out of the daily hustle and bustle of the city. The disconnect from being ‘online’ 24-7 is one of the key benefits of camping, with time apart to simply enjoy the sun, the fun and the slow paced simple lifestyle.

Holidays and camping usually go hand in hand and can often mean more time to enjoy your favourite foods, but it is encouraged to keep a basic level of dietary quality wherever you are. One of the main challenges for the health conscious is simply being away from a fully equipped kitchen. This could obviously lead to more reliance on packaged, unhealthy or easy food and snack options that may not be the best choice for us.

Here are our top camping tips to help keep you feeling your best and ensure your health is on track while away from home in the wildness.

Plan

  • Create a meal plan for the week or days you are away camping and be realistic in terms of facilities and utensils available, keeping meals simple but flavoursome is key
  • Ensuring some lean protein options are incorporated into each meal along with some colourful vegetables. For example planning salads early on in the week and then utilizing frozen vegetables in meals towards the latter of the holiday may be a tactic to ensure freshness

Pre-preparing & Meal Ideas

Breakfasts:

  • Long life milk + high fibre cereal/ Weetbix topped with fruit
  • Eggs and trim bacon cooked on a gas top/BBQ, then add sautéed vegetables such as tomato and mushrooms
  • Easy oats on the gas cooker
  • Overnight oats or bircher muesli, prepare the night before and keep in esky. Think frozen fruits, milk and chia seeds. Ask your dietitian for more ideas

Lunches:

  • Dinner leftovers made into salads or wraps e.g. mince with salad
  • Tinned fish or leftover BBQ meats with salads and a wholegrain wrap
  • Homemade egg and veggie quiches- frozen ahead of travel
  • Eggs as above, or baked beans

Dinners:

Freezer meals are perfect for camping. These then defrost, and you can either eat cold or heat up, use alfoil trays to heat over the fire!

  • Minces with plenty of vegetables, legumes or lentils to bulk them up and use of herbs and spices to flavour
  • Stir fries, curries, stews, casseroles or slow cooked meals also freeze very well!
  • Freeze these meals into appropriate meal sizes and serve with extra vegetables or cooked pasta/rices or alternatives
  • Homemade Shepard’s Pie is another family favourite. Check page 62 of your LifeShape cookbook for a great recipe. Make this at home and then layer it up in a foil tray and toss it on the campfire for 20 minutes or until it is hot and bubbly. Hot tip: use pumpkin as an alternative to potato, or mix in a small amount of potato/sweet potato with the pumpkin to finish the top layer and reduce starchy carbohydrate calories if focusing on weight loss
  • BBQ or grilled kebabs – use meat and vegetables, easy, fun dinner
  • The other easy go-to option would be eggs your own way and served on a slice of toast, vegetables or with baked beans for a quick meal

Snacks:

  • LifeShape LED Bars, Shakes or Soups are easy to use whilst camping (depending on your progress in the program)
  • Muesli bars, energy bars or protein bars such as the Carmans range
  • Dried chickpeas/ fava beans in portioned packets
  • Nut bars
  • Homemade protein balls or bliss balls, ask your dietitian for a recipe
  • Fruits- fresh or tinned is fine. Dried fruits are also fine however be careful with portion size, ask your dietitian
  • Nut trail mix- 40g is a standard serve, ask your dietitian
  • Healthy dips (homemade with legumes, herbs, spices or low fat store bought) with antipasto like jars of olives in brine, gherkins, sundried tomatoes with wholegrain crackers

Storage

  • Healthy food is generally fresh and needs to be stored well so it doesn’t go off. But don’t be afraid. It is possible to bring milk, yoghurt, cheese, fresh meat and chicken plus lots of fruit and vegetables camping with no problems at all
  • You do need to make sure you’ve got a good esky, buy plenty of ice and pack the esky so the ice is around the food items that need to stay cold, like milk, meat and cheese. Pre-icing the esky without food will ensure the esky is very cold before packing the food in as well as new ice (so the new ice doesn’t melt as fast)
  • While you’re on your trip, open the bung at the bottom of your esky to drain away the water from the melted ice, this will keep the ice that’s still in your esky frozen for longer.
  • A tip is packing a soft towel and then some newspaper over the ice at the base of the esky to help insulate and keep the esky cooler for longer
  • Check ahead of time if your camping spot has a ranger that can bring fresh ice daily and book a delivery at least every second day
  • Always keep your food and esky out of direct sunlight at all times if possible

Fruits & Vegetables

A great idea is storing your fresh produce in individual bags to prolong the life of them.

  • The brand PeakFresh have green bags that prevent the acceleration of spoilage of fresh produce. Find them here http://www.peakpackaging.com.au/produce-bags
  • NOTE: Store them at the top of your esky above the ice. Don’t bury them in it, they’ll get crushed and soggy

Here’s a list of fruits and vegetables that will keep without much refrigeration. 

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Grapefruit
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Zucchini
  • Peas in the Pod

The most important tip is to HAVE FUN on your camping adventure!

Need Help Finding A Healthy Balance for You?

If you need a little extra help finding a healthy balance for you, consider seeking the help of an Accredited Practising Dietitian for tailored advice. A healthier, happier you starts with just one phone call to 1800 567 348. Alternatively you can register your interest online.