Camping Season is Here! By Jennifer Parker

August 19, 2016

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Camping season is here, and what a better way to bring the family together, take in some fresh air and get some exercise. However, trips like this can make it difficult to choose healthy options that the whole family will enjoy. Processed foods are packed with sugar, sodium, and preservatives which can fall short of fuelling days filled with physical activity. Thankfully, with a little planning you can avoid nutritional pitfalls while on the road or trail with some of these common-sense strategies:

 

picnic, view of picnic table with fruits, juice and vegetable at the camping area

 

 

 

Plan Ahead:

Camping requires planning. There is a lot that goes into making sure an outdoors adventure is comfortable and safe – the same planning should go into the types of foods you will be bringing along to ensure the whole family is happy and healthy. Equipment like a well-insulated cooler, pots and pans, and a portable grille can make cooking a breeze and much more enjoyable than eating soggy hot dogs from a can or nutritionally void packaged foods. For healthy drinks, try packing some fruit and mint to infuse still or sparkling water or bring tea bags to make hot or cold tea providing healthier, hydrating beverages instead of drinking sugary drinks that cause cravings and energy slumps.

Cooking Matters:

If you have the ability to bring along some of the tools mentioned above there is so much you can do ahead of time to guarantee a delicious and nutritious meal. For example pre-make homemade chili (see ediblepolitics.org for a tasty recipe), freeze in a plastic freezer bag and pop into the cooler which will thaw by the time your tent is popped and camp fire lit. Freezing foods ahead of time and putting them in your cooler frozen will ensure food safety and freshness that will last.

You can also pre-make yogurt parfaits for breakfast or bring along eggs to boil, pan fry or poach and served with wholegrain rolls and fresh fruit salad. For less hassle, make some oat and fruit muffins and pack greek yogurt. Homemade pancake mix can be put into icing bags and frozen making it mess free to have an all American breakfast.

Don’t over-do it!:

While grilling can be a healthy way to prepare food, it can also pose health risks. Foods that are cooked over the fire create high levels of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCAs (heterocyclic amines) which forms on the surface of well-done meat cooked at high temperatures and are risk factors associated with many cancers.

Here are a few grilling suggestions to reduce the amount of HCA’s and carcinogens on your foods:

* Use a low-fat marinade with garlic and onions.

* Select leaner cuts (and trim any visible fat

* Flip the meat on the grill often

* Spread aluminium foil on the grill. Make small holes in the foil to allow fat from the meat to drain.

Frozen vegetables on cutting board and plastic bags. top view

Frozen vegetables on cutting board and plastic bags. top view

 

Jennifer Parker is a n expert in the field (MSc., NTP or MSc. (Food Policy), NTP)

You can check out her blogs at www.EdiblePolitics.org or @The_Food_Girl

Here email is: FoodGirlUK@gmail.com or jenniferjparker@hotmail.com

Direct: (561) 777-0860

 

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