So I went camping this last weekend. When most people pack up food for a trip to the wilderness, they pile on the sugar-filled granola bars, chips, lunch meats, bread, or hot dogs full of mechanically separated garbage. But with a little bit of thought, you can easily turn a camping trip into the ultimate expression of the V-Life. Here’s some ideas that made my last trip amazing:
Feast of Flesh
When I think of camping, I think of camp-fires. And when I think of fires, I think of grilling. The camping trip is the perfect opportunity to go nuts grilling all kinds of meat. Some campgrounds include designated grills, but you can easily just turn your campfire into a large grilling surface with a portable grate. I picked one up at Wal-Mart for like twenty bucks. For extra heat, spread out those embers and flip over burning logs to expose those red-hot glowing surfaces. Just load it up with the protein of your choice. I had grilled chicken breasts for breakfast, and we grilled New York Strip Steaks for dinner. Often, even after a fire is out, there’s enough residual heat left in the ashes to get a fire going back strong the next morning, or later in the day, and you can keep the grill-fest going.
Instead of chips and granola bars, try bringing Metabolic Drive bars, and a tub of mixed nuts. You could even make some V-Life cookies or almond flour bread before you leave, then take all that with you in ziplock bags on the hiking trail.
Foil Packs: Man’s Best Friend
The real secret to good camp eating is the foil pack. Here’s what you do:
-Take a long sheet of foil, like 2 feet or so. Spray down some cooking spray or coconut oil spray to prevent stickiness. A dab of Smart Balance 50/50 butter works too.
-Add ingredients. You can put chicken breasts, ground beef, pork, or anything you want. You can put the meat in raw and it will cook up just fine. I enjoyed putting beef and chicken in the same pack. Throw in any seasonings you like, or add cool things to the meat like onions, mushrooms, or anything that you think will enhance the flavor. Green/Red Peppers or Jalapenos would be glorious.
-I like making veggie packs: Just add in chopped broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, onions, mushrooms, maybe some sweet potato, salt and pepper to taste. Whatever you place on the bottom of the pack will get cooked more than whats on the top. So you may want to put meats or particularly fibrous veggies on bottom. Of course, you can always flip the packs during cooking if you’re less impatient than me.
-Before you close up the pack, add a few dabs of butter, not just for flavor, but to avoid things singing and burning on the inside. Also, for a “steamed” effect, you could add just a little bit of water.
-Fold the edges of the foil in on itself and close it up tight. Then take some more foil and add a second layer all around, just to make sure everything is sealed and protected.
Take your foil pack and either place it on the grate above the fire, use the actual grill, or simply set it (carefully) in the embers themselves, using a poker to move embers around the pack, nestling in it the heat. Some people like to actually semi-bury the packs in the embers.
Wait for a while. In all honesty you just have to kinda feel out the times, but when we cooked ours on top of the flame, it seemed to take 15 minutes or so to get things done. If you’re careful about how you close up the pack, you can make it to where you can unfold the foil, check to see if things are done, then put it back in the fire if necessary.
Be careful when getting your packs open. Make sure you use tongs, a fire poker, or some other tool to get them out of the fire. Let them sit for a bit before you dive in, and set them on a rock or pan to cool. Don’t touch the foil directly right away. Just wait 3-5 minutes, and then enjoy the awesomeness.
These things are super easy, and fun to make since the combinations of flavor are endless. The way that the flavors and juices of all the ingredients mix together is priceless. And it’s easy to just set the pack on a plate or pan, and just eat right out of the foil.
You don’t have to let a camping trip ruin your dietary habits. Eating healthy in the great outdoors is fun and easy.