Food Preparation and Camping

camping food prep

When it comes to grilling, preparing food in advance is one of the best ways to stay healthy. A little preparation goes a long way, and it’s especially important for preparing food on a camping or outdoors grill. You can cut down on fat and grease build-up by using aluminum foil to wrap, or even just sprinkling it on the grill. Aluminum foil makes a great grilling and preparation surface, which allow for heat to disperse evenly. Another great thing about aluminum foil is that it provides very little cooking time – about two minutes tops. The amount of time you save will more than pay for itself with just one use!

An Overview

A plastic container filled with different types of food on a table

In addition to the foil, you can also use a condiment to grill hot dogs or to barbecue hamburgers. Condiments like mustard, barbecue sauce, or mustard-based dressings work great on either side of a hot dog and will cut down on the grease. Just dip them into the sauce, and then grill, just as you would a hot dog. Just be sure to go along with the same diet you would if grilling hamburgers at home.

Another food preparation staple for camping is a pack of non-stick baking sheets. Baking sheets are great because they can be wrapped in aluminum foil or placed directly onto a hot grill. Because they have very little cooking time, foil packs are perfect for camp stovetop meals and can keep vegan butter fresh and tasty. Although they are often used for baking, they can also be used for hot dogs and hamburgers, and can be purchased in packs of twelve or 18 inches.

If you’re going to include snacks in your camping food prep, look for foods with low calories. These include dried fruit, trail mix, yogurt, nuts (including unsalted peanuts), trail mix wafers, granola bars, or even potato chips. You may not want to eat snacks that have a lot of empty calories, so look for foods with high fiber contents and carbohydrates. Many snacks are packaged as low-calorie, but look for the grams of fat, sodium and sugar to evaluate the calorie content.

Camping Meal

A store front at night

Camping meals often include either a salad or side dish, like potato chips or macaroni and cheese. Salads are a popular meal choice, but be careful how much dressing you use. Salad dressing adds more calories than needed and should be limited or avoided. For a side dish, consider bringing bean dips, shepherd’s pie, or even raw vegetables like squash, carrots, tomatoes or cauliflower. Be careful not to make meals with too much sauce or sour cream because these can be high in calories.

One of the easiest meals to prepare when you go camping is a potluck meal. This type of meal allows everyone to pitch in and help clean up after themselves. It also leaves you plenty of time to mingle and socialize, so plan on making more than one dish. A good idea is to bring some healthy snacks like fruit or nuts to share. It is also easier to stay on a diet when you go camping with small and light meals rather than having to cook three large meals of junk food.

Bottom Line

If you are eating out at restaurants while you’re camping, opt for grilled foods over oven-cooked ones. Grilled foods retain more of their nutrients than store-bought versions, which are often too high in fat and sodium for extended camping periods. It’s also more convenient to grill things in outdoor settings than it is to cook them in a microwave, especially for people who don’t like to waste time. You can use your imagination and experiment with different types of sauces or dressings to spruce up any grilled foods, whether they’re made with beef, chicken, pork, or even fish.

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