By: Amanda Miller, MS Dietetics Candidate

Although hitting the great outdoors is typically cause for throwing caution (and fear of creepy crawlers in your sleeping bag) to the wind, it shouldn’t be a free for all when it comes to your diet. It IS possible to stay on track while singing your campfire kumbayas, it just takes a little planning and preparation.

The Snacks:
Who doesn’t love snacking while camping? There’s something about sitting around a campsite doing next to nothing that makes you want to stuff your face. These snacks will keep well during travel and and will keep you full so you don’t overdo it with the roasted marshmallows.

Campfire popcorn– Get it poppin’ fireside with a just a few ingredients: popcorn kernels, foil, and a little salt. If you’d like to toss those kernels in cold-pressed olive oil and Vitamin B12-packed nutritional yeast – go for the gold(en popcorn). Make a pouch out of aluminum foil, add your kernels and fold the edges (make sure you leave enough room for the kernels to expand), hold the foil packet over the fire and shake until all of the kernels have popped. Remove and top with a dash of salt / your yeast.
Granola– So simple, so crunchy, and yes – if you get lost – you can sprinkle it as a trail. make your own: bake plain oats, cinnamon, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, and slivered almonds in your oven at 350 until toasty. Top with goji berries once out of the oven and store in an airtight container.
Fruits with skins or peels– I.e. oranges, apples, pears, bananas, etc. these fruits come with their own protective container AND do not need refrigeration, so they should stay good for the duration of your stay. Just be sure to keep them in shaded areas, you don’t want your bananas turning into banana pudding.
Jerky– Jerky is a great protein-rich food for snacking. Stick to the more health-conscious brands like Brooklyn Biltong, Think Jerky, The New Primal, Epic, Field Trip, and Nick’s Sticks. These options have a shorter list of ingredients, are lower in sodium and saturated fat, and higher in protein.
Nut butter with crackers or rice cakes– Pack your nut butters (enter Justin’s Squeeze Packs, stage right ) and spread on crackers (we love Mary’s Crackers) or brown rice cakes for a satisfying snack.
Toasted chickpeas – yep. Before you head out, rinse and drain a can of chickpeas. Toast in the oven until all crunchy; and of course, season with cayenne pepper OR dip them in melted dark chocolate for a savory-sweet fiber-packed melange.
Hummus – Lily’s hummus doesn’t require refrigeration. YAY. (Find it in our Amazon shop)

The Meals:
These super simple meals can be prepared ahead of time and cooked at the campsite. Just be sure to keep any meat, poultry, eggs, or dairy at safe temperatures throughout travel and your stay because food poisoning + no bathrooms = dense forest disaster!

Instant oatmeal– Pre-portion your oatmeal into zip-lock bags, mix in a bowl with some hot water or milk and top with fruit and nuts. You can also add some almond flour in there for more protein (you packed your almond flour, right?!) GrOAT expectations!
Breakfast burritos– At home, scramble eggs and assemble burritos with veggies, beans, cheese, etc. Wrap them in foil, store in the cooler, and reheat over the fire when ready to eat.
Tuna /Salmon wraps– Canned, wild salmon + tuna is perfect for camping because it’s easy and compact and can be kept at room temp. Prep your ingredients ahead of time (lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, onions) and pack in the cooler along with Paleo wraps (we like Julian Bakery’s line!) Assemble your wraps with the canned, drained tuna, and enjoy! (Pssst.. Don’t forget the can opener).
Chicken and vegetable kebabs– Because foods on sticks are just fun for everyone! Layer an assortment of veggies and cubed chicken on skewers and cook over the campfire for a tasty, healthy, meal. All the prep-work for this can be done ahead of time and kept in a cooler until ready to cook.
Steak fajita foil packets– At home, make packets out of foil and fill with strips of steak, vegetables, and spices. Heat over the campfire to your desired temperature. Again, keep the packets in the cooler until your ready to chow down.
Smoothie on the fly: Pack your PROTEIN POWDER (we love Tera’s Whey, in our Amazon shop) and boxed unsweetened almond milks, or shelf-stable boxed 2% organic milk; and bring large bottles that have the little shaker spiral thing inside (is there a more eloquent way to describe that? Maybe.). Shake it like a bear shaking a tree for fruit, and you’ve got an instant smoothie.

Side note: Camping is dirty, like really dirty, so make sure you’re practicing proper food safety and sanitation when out on the old dusty trail. ANTI-BACTERIAL GEL! Soap! Bottled water! Can you tell we are more indoor gals?

Shop all of our #essenceapproved campfire favs here.