The Best Foods for Camping

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Camping is a way to spend time outdoors while getting some fresh air and exercise. Whether you set up camp at a state or national park or a private campground or simply pitch a tent out in the back yard, food will be a primary concern. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends packing cold foods in insulated coolers that contain ice or frozen gel packs to prevent it from spoiling at your campsite. Traditional camping fare like hot dogs, hamburgers and s'mores aren't the healthiest options to eat while you're camping, so keep your diet on track by replacing them with more nutritious food choices.

Breakfast Foods

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Eat breakfast foods that contain healthy carbs to boost your energy and fuel your body for an active day. You don't have to eliminate traditional camping breakfast foods like bacon and eggs from your diet; just select healthier ingredients. Replace pork bacon with soy or turkey bacon to reduce fat content. If you prefer sausage, try turkey sausage or soy chorizo. Make omelettes using egg whites or egg-white products and fill them with vegetables and soy or reduced-fat cheeses. Wrap your eggs and veggies up in a whole-wheat tortilla for a healthy, carb-and-protein-filled, grab-and-go breakfast. Other breakfast foods you may want to bring along are whole-grain cereals,rolled oats, fruits, whole-wheat bagels and lowfat yogurts.

Lunch Foods

Sandwiches are quick to make and easy to take with you. A healthy sandwich contains lean protein meats, lowfat cheeses and vitamin-rich vegetables, which provide necessary carbs and nutrients for the body. Choose whole-grain breads and lowfat luncheon meats like turkey or chicken and add lettuce, tomatoes and onions to sandwiches. Replace luncheon meats with all-natural nut butters or mix a can of water-packed tuna and a little lowfat mayo to make a tuna salad. Stuff the tuna and some veggies into a whole-wheat pita or wrap it up in a whole-wheat tortilla for a healthy, nutritious lunch. Bring along whole-wheat crackers, lots of carrot sticks, celery sticks and fruits like apples, oranges, bananas and grapes to have as a tasty side with your sandwich.

Dinner Foods

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Hamburgers and hot dogs are a delicious, traditional camping dinner. Grill burgers made from lean ground beef, ground turkey or chicken to avoid excess fat content. The University of Rochester Medical Center suggests replacing traditional hot dogs with soy-based veggie dogs and tofu dogs to avoid fat, nitrates and other unhealthy preservatives in pork or beef hot dogs. Serve your burgers and dogs on whole-wheat buns and top with lettuce, onions, tomatoes and lowfat cheese for a healthy meal. If you're on a fishing trip, grill your catch of the day and serve it with brown rice and veggies. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends checking with the local fish and game commission to see if fish in the waters where you camp are safe to eat. Roast corn, potatoes or other veggies over the fire for a healthy, vitamin-rich side.


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When camping, never depend on lakes, streams or rivers for drinking water. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, pathogens thrive in lakes and streams, so bring along your own source of water. Bring plenty of bottled water with you on your trip. If you pack milk products, make sure to keep them cold and choose lowfat or skim milk, soy milk, rice milk or almond milk. If you like coffee or tea, select decaf coffee and nutrient-rich green teas. Other healthier hot drinks include flavored herbal teas, reduced-fat hot chocolate and apple cider.


One of the most popular camping snacks seems to be s'mores. They're fun to make and taste good, but they also contain loads of sugar and are high in empty calories. Replace s'mores with fresh fruits like apples, oranges, grapes and bananas. Spread some peanut butter on celery and add raisins for a healthy, protein-rich snack. Soy nuts, rice cakes, soy crisps, edamame, seeds, baby carrots and lowfat dip, lowfat granola and dried fruits and fruit leathers are all healthy snack choices for your camping trip.