Tuesday 20 February 2018
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Eating Healthy in the Great Outdoors

With summer just around the corner, it is time to start getting excited about those long-awaited day hikes and weekend camping trips. While making your way up the mountain, or finding that perfect spot to pitch your tent by the lake, you will probably work up quite the appetite. As much as we all enjoy trail mix and campfire roasted hotdogs, it’s nice to add some variety to your diet and eating outdoors can be easy, not to mention delicious!

Whether spending the day or night in the woods, the first thing to remember is that you have to be able to carry all your food and supplies with you. No one wants to bring more than they need, so thinking ahead makes a big difference. This could mean portioning out spices, or pre-cracking your eggs to save space (and avoid a messy pack!). Saving space does not have to mean limiting your options though. With a little research, you can find all kinds of hacks to help fit everything you need and get creative with your meals.

Being mindful of how heavy your supplies are will be worth it when making the trek to your final destination. It can be hard to compromise on what you want to bring. To help lessen the load get yourself a comfortable bag with a range of features. Patagonia offers a variety of options, from lightweight waist packs to 45L waterproof roll tops to keep your food and gear dry.

If you are only spending a few hours hiking, or there are no opportunities to use a gas stove or a fire, you can still eat a balanced diet with minimal ingredients. There are plenty of camping snacks that are both simple and healthy at the same time:

  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich: Potassium, protein and that perfect mix of sweet and salty. Prepare these in advance to avoid gooey peanut butter hands and smooshed bananas.
  • Mexican Salad: They say the best way to get all your vitamins is to eat the rainbow. A colorful salad of shredded greens, carrots, corn, bell peppers, salsa, and black beans will help you get your fill of veggies for the day. Bonus points if you bring an avocado to add last minute.
  • Tuna: A pouch of tuna (lighter than a can) will go a long way when you have minimal supplies. If you want to do some advance prep you can make a quick pasta salad with precooked pasta. Otherwise, wrap it up in some lettuce, add some mayonnaise and spread it on a cracker, or eat it straight out of the pouch.

When you do have a stove or fire available, there are endless possibilities for a hearty meal in the great outdoors. Some favorites include Cajun style kebabs, foil baked potatoes, and omelets in a bag. Planning and some advance prep is still important if you want to venture beyond the norm, but with the right supplies you can create some pretty tasty dishes.

If you want to add some extra flavor and test your wilderness skills you can even harvest some of your own ingredients. Depending on what region of the country you live in, there are many plants you can add to your meals that you may find along the way. Some of the most common edible plants include dandelions, watercress, and garlic mustard. However, if you aren’t familiar with what some of these plants looks like, just bring your own spices and garnishes to avoid potentially getting sick!