With staycations becoming more popular, camping is quickly turning into an appealing holiday option for many of us. In this article, we’ll cover tips and ideas to help you maintain your healthy habits while camping.

Nutritious food choices

We know that often food choices can be limited when camping, but it's still possible to enjoy balanced meals with a few adaptations. While you're away, we recommend continuing to aim for three balanced meals each day, which will keep you feeling full and satisfied.

If you have access to cooking and chilling facilities such as a fridge / cooler box and BBQ / stove, here are a few of our favourite meal ideas:

  • Homemade muesli with Greek yoghurt for breakfast (you can cook a big batch of muesli before leaving home)
  • BBQ foods such as chicken or prawn skewers, halloumi, corn on the cob, portobello flat mushrooms, and veggie kebabs. While burgers and sausages are fine to be included as part of a BBQ, keep in mind that these are often heavily processed and can contain lots of additional ingredients (including added sugars). The higher the percentage of meat listed in the ingredients, the better the product will be, so keep an eye out for this when shopping.
  • Eggs are also a really versatile option and don't need to be stored in a fridge or cooler box while camping. You could make scrambled eggs for breakfast, an omelette for lunch, or boiled eggs as a snack.
  • If you're short on fridge storage, you can plan meals with ingredients that don't require refrigeration, such as the Thai fish cakes, Coconut dahl, baked beans, black bean patties, Cauliflower and carrot sabji, Deepa's naked tofu katsu curry, Ell's chana masala, Gundeep's paneer sabji, Mediterranean quinoa, Moroccan butternut squash stew, or the Poke bowl. You can find all these recipes and more in the Toolbox section of the app.
  • Salads can also be a good option for meals or sides, as often vegetables and other ingredients won't need to be stored in the fridge. Salads are also really quick to prepare and some won't require any heating or cooking, like our Tomato salad.
  • Tinned tuna and other tinned fish can also be a good source of protein to add to salads and won't require any refrigeration
  • Veggie sticks such as celery, carrots, cucumbers, and peppers can be a good snack with peanut butter or hummus / tzatziki (if you have the fridge room)
  • You can also consider cooking big batches of meals before you leave home and then simply reheating these while camping. Good options would be the Coconut dahl, Lentil bolognese, Butter chicken, Lamb massaman curry, Light Thai green curry, Chicken fajita bake, or the Goulash soup.

Here are a few additional food staples we'd recommend bringing along to help you form a quick, balanced meal. These are great options if you're limited to foods that must be kept at room temperature:

  • Plain porridge pots with no added sugar. Serve with a source of protein and healthy fats, such as nuts or seeds
  • Tinned fish such as salmon and tuna (some brands sell no-drain tuna pots which are very convenient)
  • Avocados
  • Nuts or nut butter
  • Olives
  • Vegetable sticks
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Second Nature seeded crackers or cheese biscuits
  • Wholegrain Ryvitas served with a protein source

If you have access to a local shop while camping, you can pick up fresh food as you need it.

If you're enjoying a meal out, you might find this guide helpful when it comes to food choices.

Stay hydrated

While away aim to continue to have 2 litres of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated will help to reduce headaches and improve your energy and concentration levels. It can also help manage hunger levels as our brain often confuses feelings of thirst for hunger. Try to keep a bottle of water with you during the day and have a glass of water at each meal.

Be mindful of alcohol intake

There's no need to completely avoid alcohol on holiday, but try to enjoy it in moderation. This is because alcohol can both directly and indirectly affect your weight.

If you're going to enjoy an alcoholic drink, a spirit (like gin or vodka) with soda water and a wedge of fresh lime is lower in carbohydrates and energy compared to a beer. If you intend to have more than one drink, alternate between an alcoholic beverage and a glass of water.

Incorporate exercise

You may find while you’re away you have more time to be active. There are lots of different ways to incorporate exercise into your day while camping, most obviously trying some new outdoor activities! This might be going for a walk around a new town or the countryside, trying a new activity such as kayaking or waterskiing, or hiring a bike and going for a ride. All of the movement you do over the day will add up.

Prioritise sleep

It can be tempting to stay up later than usual when away on holiday, however sticking to your usual sleep routine can help to improve your sleep quality and quantity. This might mean trying to get to sleep and wake up as at the same time as you normally would at home.

You can also make a few tweaks to your sleeping environment to help you get a better night's rest. For example, you could bring your own pillow rather than using a small camping pillow, take an eye mask if the light wakes you early in the morning, and wear earplugs if the outside noise is an issue.

With a few small adaptations, you can easily enjoy your camping holiday with giving up your healthy habits. Remember though, as with any holiday, it's important to allow some flexibility with your food choices so you can join in the fun and enjoy yourself.

Written by Roisin Hickson, Second Nature Health Coach & Nutritionist (ANutr)

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