In this amazing season of energy and movement we as humans tend to wander farther a field naturally, exploring new places, connections with others, food, movement, and all of those things that summer inspires.
For me, camping is always high on the list of 'must dos' this season and camp food doesn't have to resign to beans in a can or hot dogs!
When we do set off for a great adventure, the last thing we want to do is be working harder on meals than we do at home or deal with a bad stomach while on the trails!!
If you have the luxury of an RV, trailer, or even access to pull your car up to a your spot, you'll have a great set up with coolers right there and a little more water on tap than the in back country , but both trips, if planned right can be amazingly healthy and fun.
Here's a few of my favourite hacks for car camping, I'll touch on the Back country in another post.
Prepping is Key!
I actually love to cook but personally I don't like having to cut up a whole bunch of potatoes and veggies, or garlic and onions on site. I can only imagine what the feeling is for someone that doesn't have the love.... First off, I'd rather be doing all of the other activities you love to do while camping; swimming, hiking, playing! Secondly, all the furry ones, big and small, also like the smell of your cooking, leaving little bits for them from prepping on site is just an open invite.
Before you even put things in the cooler, chop carrot sticks, cauliflower, broccoli and celery. This makes a healthy snack with hummus or a dip, and needs nothing more than clean hands and an open lid. In any container with a little moisture and a bit of coolness, these veggies will last the trip.
I also prep my garlic and onions because what camp breakfast of pan fried hash browns and scramble is complete without the beloved! Eating lots of garlic while camping may not eliminate all bug bites but is known to ward off mosquitoes. New baby potatoes are easy to boil or fry up, I pre-wash them and throw them in a container ready for the pan.
Lettuce and spinach are hard unless you prep a big salad before you go and pack it in a crush proof container. I use the Pyrex rounds to avoid food being in plastic, know endochrine disruptors! These containers come in all different sizes, they are easy to stack, and see what's in them, less time with the cooler lid open. They do add some weight and bulk to the cooler but if everything is prepped in them, they ward against the evil ice melt issue by keeping things sealed and separated.
It might be a great time, if you haven't already, to try some veggie burgers or veggie dogs, high in protein, easy to prepare and clean up, and much more resilient to the ever rising temperatures of the cooler. They still suggest to be refrigerated but a much safer bet on day 4 or 5 with melted ice than beef or turkey burgers.
Whether you make your own or buy a healthy canned chili, this is one of the easiest meals camping, with a side of salad it makes for a well balanced dinner and I love to smother leftover chili on a veggie dog for lunch, oh who am I kidding, breakfast the next day!
My favorite and easy meal is a Thai style vegetable green coconut curry! 1 pot, so easy, any everyone will praise the cook!
Saute the veggies, garlic, and onions in the pot for a few minutes, add a can of chick peas or pinto beans, a clean quality protein, add 1-3 tbsp. of green curry paste dependent on desired heat, a can of coconut milk and the same amount water, warm for another few minutes. Add yam or rice noodles right to the pot and make sure there is enough liquid to cover them, cook for another 2-4 mins until noodles are tender. Bowls for this amazingly simple yet delicious meal are a necessary item. This warm, creamy, spicy broth is bound to warm up anybody's bones on a cool camp evening.
Healthy Snacks are a must!
Home made trail bars or healthy pre-made choices are a handy snack. Here is my recipe that is full of nuts and seed, healthy fats and proteins that will supply you with long lasting energy for those epic trail days.
Staying hydrated is critical if you want to stay energized and playing all trip long. It's usually water for us but I like to throw some lemon in big bottles and freeze them before packing them in the cooler, so refreshing.
Another amazing, tasty drink is homemade hibiscus ice tea, naturally sweet, add mint leaves lemon for a flavourful refreshing drink.
Pull any of the frozen drinks out mid morning and by the afternoon you'll have the perfect thirst quencher right when you need it!
What's in the Emergency case you ask?
For short trips we always have oil of oregano to combat any sniffles or soar throats.
Magnesium is a jack of many trades; soothing sore muscles and aiding in a good nights sleep, and helpful with headaches. Iodine; a good antiseptic for wounds (and water if necessary) I use a UV steri-pen to make sure my drinking water is safe, and this is much safer for your microbiome than chorine tablets or iodine, keeping you best line of defense in good order.
For the pesky but ever present mosquitoes, a mixture of eucalyptus and citronella works well to ward bits, but remember to reapply every hour or so as the essential oils do wear off much more quickly than chemical insecticides do.
Happy and healthy trails to you on your next great adventure!