Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Eating Well While Camping: Who Says it Can't Be Done? #campingfood #greatoutdoors #livewelleatwell

One of the key results of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has been a reduction in travel. Because it's safer to stay inside at home than be around groups of people, most of us -- including me -- have put travel on the back burner. However, enjoying a change in scenery by going camping can be an excellent way to safely enjoy a short, socially distanced getaway! If you do go camping, how will you ensure you enjoy tasty meals? Today, The Weekend Gourmet's correspondent is sharing tips to help foodies enjoy tasty and healthy meals in the great outdoors. This article may contain affiliate links.

In many ways, a camping trip may be the perfect antidote to this stressful and exhausting year. Think about it! This year, most of us have been cooped up at home (living and working), hooked up to a constant feed of news and opinions via the little glass, metal, and plastic rectangles in our pockets. Many of us are nervous, exhausted, and experiencing a bit of cabin fever. What could be a better antidote than spending some quality time in nature? Breathing fresh air, socially distancing in the great outdoors (rather than the confines of the home), and enjoying the mood boosting benefits of the great outdoors?

Image by NasirCoolBoy1 via Pixabay

For the consummate foodie, the idea of dining by the campfire may be enough to give pause. You’re not sure you can live on a diet of canned baked beans...and an occasional marshmallow for s'mores...for several days. However, if you think you can’t eat well while camping...think again!

Surprising Quality and Convenience of MREs

Military and survival enthusiasts may already be familiar with MREs (aka Meals, Ready to Eat). These canned concoctions have been used to feed military personnel when off base. While they may not sound very appealing at face value, they’re actually really quite good. While MREs available for civilian consumption differ slightly from their military counterparts, they do offer a diverse range of foods with an incredible shelf life! Believe it or not, MREs last 3 years in total...so you're not under enormous pressure to use them immediately. Better yet? MREs are designed for easy reheating… or they can be enjoyed straight from the can if you’re in a hurry.

Keeping It Real

When camping, you may be tempted to load the car with cereal bars, breads, pastries, pasta, and other refined carbohydrate (and sugar) treats. After all, these foods are readily portable and easy to serve -- no matter where you pitch your tent. While these foods can  certainly be useful, they're not a substitute for real food. By packing an ice chest, you can bring along everything from boiled eggs to prepared fruits and veggies. Heck, you can even batch cook some chili or bolognese sauce and take along a couple of storage containers of home-cooked goodness with you.  

Bake Before You Leave Home 

While canned and packaged foods can give you an energy boost when you need one most, they can be easily supplemented with fresh food if you’re well prepared. For example, a little baking before your camping trip gives you access to portable, delicious, and nutritious goodies like camping calzones. Stuffed with peppers, tomatoes, and mozzarella...they’re a delicious way to keep your family energized while you camp. 

Front Load Your Day with Carbs

Finally, remember that days will likely be more active when camping than they typically are at home. In response, try to load the majority of your carbs into your breakfast. That doesn’t mean starting your day with high-sugar, refined grain cereal (that’s more likely to make you crash after a couple of hours). Instead, pack plenty of complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, and veggies...as well as protein and healthy fats...to keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable. An example of this method is an acai bowl topped with rolled oats, dried fruits, nuts. and seeds!

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