I think one of the biggest challenges of eating healthy when you’re not in the comfort of your kitchen, is planning ahead. This is something that you have to do in general for a camping trip, but when it comes to eating ideal foods you might need to do a little extra planning (especially if you’re going with others who don’t eat the way you do).
Common camping foods are burgers for dinner, s’mores as a treat, sandwiches for lunch and bacon and eggs for breakfast. Although you can buy vegan/vegetarian versions of all of these foods, they are not ideal. So what can you pack instead?
For me, breakfast required the most prep. I drink Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie (recipe can be found on her website kimberlysnyder.com) every morning. Of course I can’t take my blender camping so I prepped smoothies ahead of time and froze them.
After having my smoothie, if I still felt hungry I had oatmeal.The kind I brought comes in single packets and after boiling some water over the fire you just mix in the packet and enjoy! It is mixed berry with flaxseeds and chia seeds (found at Trader Joe’s).
Lunch and Dinner
For lunch and dinner I switched back and forth between to things. But I started with salad… Salad is super easy to pack. Throw some greens and some other veggies in a container and stick it in your cooler. Simple and easy. You can make a homemade dressing (which is what I recommend because commercial dressings are filled with fatty oils and many of them may contain dairy) or buy one. Veggies are very high alkaline foods and should be consumed before meals to help digest more acidic foods.
Chili! Beans and veggies chili is super easy to make and all you have to do when you get to your campsite is stick it in a pot over the fire. I just took a container filled with a couple servings of chili (that my mom actually made, thanks Mom) and heated it up over the fire when needed. (It also came in really handy on our cold and rainy Sunday to help warm me up!) You can find vegan chili recipes all over the internet. Just be sure that they are low sodium and when you do use salt use sea salt!
Taco salad! You can find the recipe for Sweet and Spicy Campers Delight salad on my Goodies page. It is similar to a taco salad. You can mix up what you put in this but a spicy vanilla coconut yogurt based sauce, sweet potato and avocado made this so yummy that everyone I was with tried it and loved it! This salad takes some prep work (precook beans, corns, brown rice and make the sauce). I did reheat the rice, beans, corn and sweet potato (you can skip baking it at home and bake it straight in the fire, your choice) but you don’t need to.
For the trail I packed a homemade “trail mix.” I mixed some pecans (I usually prefer almonds but ran out and you can use any of your favorite nuts), dried gogi berries, and raw cacao nibs. The gogi berries and cacao really compliment each other (like chocolate covered fruit) and the nuts help make it a little denser. You can mix any different nuts with cacao nibs and dried fruit, but when choosing dried fruit be careful because most have added sugars. Also, always buy raw nuts (when toasted, salted, etc., nuts lose a lot of their nutrient value).
(Tip: Gogi berries and raw cacao nibs can be pretty expensive. If you think you will use them a lot (once you taste them in combination you might never want to put them down) then I suggest buying them in bulk. Vitacost is a website that has them for about fourth the price of what I found them at in my health food store.)
Truffles! Mmmm, truffles are my favorite snack! They are so rich and creamy tasting, I feel like I could eat a whole batch of them. But…the good thing is that you don’t need to eat a lot to feel satisfied since they are so rich. These are another prep-ahead-of-time food since the ingredients need to be blended together in a food processor. I made these a couple days prior to leaving and kept them in my freezer. This is one of Kimberly’s recipes so it can be found on her website or in her book The Beauty Detox Solution (Raw Caco Truffles).
Fruit is always easy to pack. I simply packed what I had left at home which was watermelon, a pear and a dragonfruit (which my mom picked up for me as a little present). You can eat them separately or cut them up and make a fruit salad.
Water, water, water…obviously!!! Other than water I just brought a box of coconut water. I’ve had a lot of people tell me they don’t like coconut water and I always ask “Well, where did the coconut come from?” I’ve noticed that some coconuts, such as Jamaican coconuts, seem to not be as sweet to me and more of a neutral/earthy taste. But Zico coconut water, which is from Thailand, is my favorite. If you’re not buying Zico, make sure the brand you’re buying does not have any added sugars. Just check the label and make sure the only ingredient is coconut water!
I also brought lemons to make my hot water with lemon that I have every morning. For this just boil some water over the fire and squeeze half of a lemon in. Simple!
The supplies I needed for these foods were minimal as well. Aside from the containers I packed everything in (and the cooler) all you need is a small pot to put over the fire, a plate (or paper plates) to eat on, utensils (obviously), a mug, a knife and a cutting board. I used the same pot for reheating and boiling water and just simply washed it after each use.
To be honest, I thought that packing food for this trip was going to be a hassle but it took me very little time and I had more than enough food!