10 Dietitian-approved healthy camping meals to get you through summer

  • 3 Minutes Read

Exploring the great outdoors doesn't have to mean giving up on healthy for your camping meals. With a little planning and preparation, you can say "bye-bye pork-n-beans" and "hello nutritious, satisfying meals" while sleeping under the stars.

Healthy camping meals

Set yourself up for success with make-ahead healthy camping meals

Getting out in nature and unplugging from technology can be so refreshing. Long car rides, setting up camp, and fun-filled days may leave you tired and unmotivated to cook. Take some pressure off by preparing some of your healthy camping meals ahead of time.

Coordinate the camp kitchen experience with these time-saving essentials

Healthy camping dinners

Here are three make-ahead camping dinners I like to prepare before leaving home.

Chicken and vegetable fried rice

Brown rice and heart-healthy oils make this a healthier choice than traditional fried rice. Swap tofu for the chicken to make it vegetarian.

Southwest chili

Prepare this flavorful one-pot meal up to a week before your trip. For extra flavor, top with fresh cilantro, avocado slices, or cheese.

Turkey taco salad

Leaner than most other ground meats, turkey works well when paired with Mexican spices like in this homemade taco seasoning. Once at camp, use lettuce or a package of pre-washed salad greens as your salad base.

Healthy camping breakfasts

Granola and yogurt

Tasty and satisfying, this breakfast comes together in a snap. Top yogurt with fresh fruit and low-fat granola. Purchase individual yogurt cups for easier clean-up.
Want to make your own granola? Here's a baked granola recipe that's weight-loss-friendly.

Overnight oats

Rich in fiber and protein, this breakfast can be prepared ahead of time and as a bonus, it doesn't generate a lot of dirty dishes.

Breakfast burritos

A balanced meal to fuel any outdoor adventure and packed with heart-healthy fats and protein, breakfast burritos can be made ahead or pretty easily at camp. Swap eggs for tofu, eat cold or reheat in foil over a campfire.

Instant oatmeal

A good choice for the last morning of the trip when the ice is running low, regular instant oatmeal saves the day. After adding boiling water to reconstitute the plain instant oats (lowest in sugar), top with dried fruit, chia seeds, chopped walnuts, and a hint of cinnamon.

Healthy camping lunches

When it comes to preparing the best lunch, anticipate the weather and where you'll be for this meal. If you are planning to eat lunch on the trail, sandwiches and wraps work well. If you will be close to your camp kitchen, hot soup is a real treat on a chilly day. Here are a few of my favorites.

Noodle bowls

These make for a cozy treat when inclement weather hits in the middle of the day. Mix in torn spinach leaves for extra potassium, vitamin C, and B vitamins. If sodium is a concern, make your own noodle bowl or opt for low-sodium canned soup.

Nut butter sandwich

Make a sandwich of whole wheat bread with your favorite nut butter and banana slices. These almond butter packets don't require refrigeration and are bursting with heart-healthy fats.

Mediterranean chicken wrap

This flavorful, simple Mediterranean chicken wrap has only feta that needs refrigeration or omit it altogether.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

Drain the chicken and place it into a medium-sized bowl. Cut olives in half and chop the artichoke hearts. Mix both with the chicken. Finely dice a small amount of red onion and cut cherry tomatoes in half. Add both to the chicken mixture. Add the Italian dressing and cheese into the chicken and toss well. Serve the chicken salad inside of a lettuce leaf or the wrap of your choice.

Fuel your outdoor adventures with energizing snacks

Snacks provide extra energy to fuel any and all of your outdoor activities. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Superfood snacks

Many of these dietitian-approved snacks do not require refrigeration, which means you'll have cooler space for other meals. My favorite snack from the above link is sardines and crackers. Rich in essential nutrients, sardines pack a punch. Add an apple for additional fiber and slow-acting carbohydrates.

Mixed nuts

Highly transportable and very satisfying, nuts make a convenient trail-side snack. Did you know that eating one ounce (~ 1/4 cup) of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease? Prepare MyNetDiary's energy trail mix before leaving home or purchase your favorite blend of mixed nuts and portion into resealable bags.

Fresh or dried fruit

Rich in fiber and polyphenols, fruit makes for a great snack whether you are at home or camping. Opt for dried in place of fresh if you want to lighten the load. Here are some tips for camping with fresh fruits and vegetables.

For additional ideas check out these snack hacks for any outdoor adventure.

I hope these healthy camping meals and snacks provide some inspiration and excitement for your next trip. Before leaving home, remember to anticipate your needs and activity plans. Build a comprehensive list ahead, and make sure to check it twice! You are now ready to eat healthy while at home and out camping!

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Travel->"Planes, Trains, & Automobiles"
May 17, 2021
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

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