Most of us live our lives indoors and don’t spend enough time outside enjoying nature. Packing up your car for a camping weekend in the woods is the perfect way to rebalance your whole being. Shaking up your normal routine will allow you to spend a few days trading in the treadmill for the hiking trail. You will reduce your baseline stress levels by connecting with the beauty of a natural landscape. While breathing in fresh air and sunshine is cleansing for your lungs, any time spent in a pristine setting will increase your levels of Vitamin D and improves concentration.
Yet when it comes to mealtime, keeping your food healthy is usually the biggest obstacle. I love a gooey s’more just as much as anyone, but eating food high in sugar and sodium is the quickest way to ruin that great outdoors feeling. Pitching a tent requires skill, connecting with nature requires stillness, and healthy camping requires preparation. Next time you decide to getaway and embrace nature for a weekend, keep the following tips in mind.
Plan Your Menu: Take the time to sit down and think about the number of meals and snacks that you need to bring along. Depending on the number of days you’ll be gone – and if you can drive up to your campsite – it’s possible to pack a cooler with ice and bring along all the healthy comforts of home. Consider packing yogurt, eggs, hummus, pre-grilled fish to reheat your first night, pre-cooked quinoa, trail mix, and lots of fruit and veggies.
Stock Up on Aluminum Foil: You can reduce the impact of toxins if you wrap your food in aluminum foil when cooking because according to Dr. Bassel El-Rayes, associate professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, placing meat directly on the grill for the charred look releases cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) which will coat your food. Additionally, the barbecue smoke created when drippings of fat hit the charcoal creates polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a toxic chemical that can damage your lungs. Bear in mind, grilling fish and vegetables is the best choice as they cook faster and drip less.
Drink Up: Every cell and tissue in our body is dependent on water to function. Most importantly, our brain needs water to ensure proper cognitive function. With most of us walking around dehydrated on a daily basis, it’s extra important to take care when adding outdoor physical activity to our routine. The issue you can run into when camping is ensuring the water you get is safe to drink. The best way to guarantee the cleanliness of your drinking water is to bring your own. When this is not an option and you have to collect your water onsite, boiling it or using a filter is a must. Check out this short video from The Urban Girl’s Guide to Camping for some tips on water safety.
What are some of the ways you keep your camping trips healthy? Share in the comments below!