Now that summer is officially here, you may be planning camping trips with your family. Camping is a fun and memorable summer activity, and the following tips will help to ensure a nutritious and healthy vacation.
- Start with a clean cooler. Before you pack food into your cooler, clean it with water and a mild detergent and rinse thoroughly. Be sure to wipe it down until it is completely dry. Next, add plenty of ice or ice packs. Another trick is to freeze old milk jugs that have been washed and filled with water. Ice lasts longer when it is in one solid mass, and the water is contained in the milk jugs as it melts, keeping your cooler cleaner.
- Arrange your cooler wisely. Pack raw meat, fish and poultry first so they are at the bottom of the cooler. Their juices can drip onto other foods and contaminate them. You may want to store meat in a zipped plastic bag or watertight container to contain the juices. In addition, packing raw meats frozen will help to keep them colder for even longer.
- Bring a separate cooler for beverages. You are probably opening and closing your cooler frequently to get beverages, which can quickly raise the temperature. In order to keep your perishable foods fresh, consider storing them separately in a cooler that is not frequently opened.
- Now that you are packed and ready to go, keep your cooler in the car rather than the hot trunk while driving to your favorite camping spot. Once you arrive, store your cooler in a shady spot.
- Keep your food at a safe temperature. Be sure to replenish the ice that has melted, and keep a thermometer in your cooler to monitor the temperature. To prevent you from getting sick, make sure that the temperature in the cooler stays below 40°F. When you remove food from your cooler, don’t let it sit out for more than two hours maximum, or one hour on days when the temperature is above 90°F.
- Wash your hands frequently. You may not have access to soap and water, but moist toilettes and hand sanitizer work fine when camping. Wash your hands before preparing food and before and after you eat.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Cold cereal topped with fresh fruit and milk is a quick and easy meal that doesn’t require any cooking. If you have a stove and a bit more time, you can cook up some eggs, bacon, and pancakes.
- Take a quick break for lunch. Sandwiches with deli meat, cheese, and fresh veggies are easy and nutritious.
- Fuel up for day hikes. Be sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and snacks to refuel during your hikes. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least 4 cups of water before your hike and an additional 2 cups of water for every hour of hiking. In addition, don’t forget portable and nutritious snacks, such as trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, peanut butter sandwiches, beef jerky, and tuna pouches.
- Grill out for dinner. You can easily make hot dogs, veggie burgers, hamburgers, chicken or fish over a campfire. Grill some fresh veggies or corn on the cob for a side dish. You can also bring canned beans or canned soup for some more variety.
- Don’t forget the graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate to make s’mores for dessert.
1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
2. Evenly divide the mixture between 4 large pieces of aluminum foil. Bring the longer edges of the foil together in the middle to form a tent over the food. Fold the ends together three or four times, creasing it well. Pinch the ends well to be sure that there is no leaking.
3. Cook in the hot coals of a campfire until the meat is browned and the vegetables are tender, about 15-30 minutes.
4. Serve right out of the foil packet. Top with shredded cheddar cheese if desired.