The one thing we’re terrible at when we go camping is eating healthily. The children are always hungry so they just need feeding with whatever is there now. That tends to be snacks. crisps and other various bits that aren’t the healthiest. Because we’re on holiday, it always feels like a bit of a treat and therefore we don’t worry too much about what we’re eating. It helps that we’re walking around 15 to 20000 steps a day, usually up and down the beach.
We take fruit with us, but this time it was so hot, bananas went off in the tent really quickly and the apples got ignored. Vegetables are also fairly limited when we’re camping. We do set out crudités and salad veg before meals. But because we are usually limited to one pan when cooking or rely on takeaways when we’re being lazy, it’s hard to add vegetables into the mix.
Here’s my tips and suggestions for healthy camping food, and getting the fruit and veg into you while camping.
Healthy camping food tips
A treat is good now and then, but try and persuade children to have one healthy one for every unhealthy snack they have.
Have fruit in the snack bag and take fruit out with you when you’re going out and about.
While you’re cooking meals put out a bowl of chopped veg or tomatoes and sugar snap peas for everyone to snack on while they’re waiting.
With camping there’s a lot of eating going along because you’re out in the fresh air so it really gets your appetite going. There’s also the fact that everything takes so much longer when you’re on a campsite. So if cooking food takes longer and you’re out of routine, children just need feeding to keep them going. Even if children aren’t fans of healthy food, they’ll usually pick up whatever is out because it’s available when they’re hungry.
Serve salads with meals
Most children will eat some bits of salad whether it’s pepper, tomato, carrots or cucumber. If you’re cooking with one pot It’s a hassle to get cooked veg into you, so just stick with salad. Most people go camping over the summer so salad works out well. If you’ve a campsite with a shop you can usually get hold of most things on the day you need it.
Cook veg based meals
If you got a gas stove or a barbecue going why not try vegetable kebabs. Or if you’re relying on a stove and a cooking pot, try something like a cassoulet or sausage casserole and add in lots of beans. Or cook bolognese and instead of doing pasta use courgetti. You can cook.the courgetti but I tend to use it raw.
Use tinned veg
Bringing frozen peas really isn’t going to work when camping because usually campsites don’t have a freezer available for campers. In the heat of a tent, unless you’ve got everything in a fridge, veg can go off quickly. So tinned vegetables are an option, although I have to admit I’m not a fan. Sweet corn is the obvious one but you can buy potatoes, carrots and others. You still need to cook them, but it’s going to be a lot quicker than having to prepare and cook fresh veg. You can always add veg to pasta cooking water to just use the one pan.
When we go camping we often do salmon in tin foil or parchment parcels. It saves on the washing up so I’m always a fan. But you can also do this with vegetables. Just make a pocket with parchment paper or foil, pop in sliced veg, keeping them small if you want to cook them quickly. And cook over barbecue coals or even in a frying pan over the stove. Not properly roasted but add some herbs and you’ll get some lovely Mediterranean flavours on your vegetables.
When we go camping we really do puddings but sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of a treat. I always bring instant custard with me and the kids go mad for banana custard or tinned fruit with it.
You can also get more adventurous and try fruit kebabs or grill some pineapple on the barbecue. If you’re doing fruit kebabs or even just chopped fruit, get the skewers out and why not melt some chocolate and do chocolate fondue. A bit of healthy and treat in the same mouthful.
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Camping essentials for cooking
We always do electric hook-up when we go camping because we like a bit of luxury. There are certain essentials that we always take with us. I don’t tend to take a kettle or toaster because we go in a group and I know others will have them ( I don’t do tea or coffee so only need to boil water for cooking) to borrow. But they’re worth taking if you’ve got the room and want to be a bit lazier than boiling water on the stove.
Here’s some of my other camping essentials
1, Coolbox. We’ve done the whole ice block thing stopping them over at the shop or the freezers at the campsite but having electric and an electric cool box is so much easier and more reliable. Mine is a massive and quite pricy but has different modes depending on the time of day and how much food is in it. Night mode is very handy for keeping the noise down.
2, Foil – great for cooking veg or fish in parcels and keeping pans clean, use for banana or fruit parcels or treats
3, Skewers – wooden ones are fine, great for fruit or meat/vegetable skewers. And making food a bit differently is always exciting for children, so a great way to get them to eat more healthy meals if they’re usually not keen
4, Basic camping stove – we just have a single gas stove that you can pick up from most camping stores or even supermarkets. They’re cheap, the gas canisters are easy to get hold of, and they’re easy to use. If you want to cook more, take 2 or have a double stove – usually these mean taking a large gas bottle instead though. Or if you have electric, you could try an electric one as a spare.
5, Crockery and pans – if you have the space for storage, it’s easiest to keep all your camping equipment stored in one place ready for any camping trip – large plastic boxes with lids are key for storage. My tips would be to use normal saucepans and frying pans rather than buying camping sets as they’re never non-stick. If you’re taking a car to travel, then usually you don’t need to limit the space so much to restrict yourself to compact pans.
Hopefully this has helped with some tips on healthy eating when camping.
If you’ve any other healthy camping food tips, let me know below.
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