14 Snacks For The Health-Conscious Or Diet-Restricted Camper
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14 Must-Pack Snack Foods For The Health-Conscious Or Diet-Restricted Camper

Don't let your nutritional needs hold you back from having fun in the sun!

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14 Must-Pack Snack Foods For The Health-Conscious Or Diet-Restricted Camper

It's nearing the end of the prime camping season, so naturally, that's the time when we try to, last minute, fit it in. Maybe you've already been camping this summer, or perhaps you've been busy and this is your window of opportunity to make it happen; the bottom line is, you're making it happen now. Then it comes time to plan the meals and you want to maintain your healthier habits or simply keep cooling needs to a minimum.

Have no fear! It may seem easier to bring store-bought cookies and muffins but there are plenty of healthier items that make easy camping meals and snacks:

1. Canned Beans And Veggies.

Though canned goods can require heating (and sometimes a can opener), they don't require refrigeration and are easy to pack. You can make burritos with the beans you bring along or add vegetables to rice. I always check to see what "ingredients" are in the canned goods I buy, because some have more than just the bean or vegetable of choice, water, and maybe salt (though I try to avoid buying canned goods with additional salt). It may seem odd, but it's important to check all of your packaged food labels.

2. Nuts.

"Traditional" trail mix is not what I'm talking about. Candy laced trail mix usually leads to just the candies being eaten, and that defeats the whole purpose of the mix. Cashews, walnuts, almonds, and pistachios can be great sources of fat, protein, and fiber. Dry roasted nuts, without additives like salt or honey, are the way to go. They are easy to carry, and you don't have to cook them. Mix them in with a salad, or eat them as is.

3. Nut Butter.

Bagels with almond butter are a great and filling breakfast. For easy carrying, Justin's brand nut butter is available in squeeze packets and as snack packs. Nut butters are also great with apples and bananas. One serving of Justin's almond butter has 0 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein.

4. Soups.

There are dozens of brands to choose from and probably a hundred different flavors, but this is again a time when you'd need to check your food labels. Amy's makes 37 different kinds of soups, but not all of them are vegetarian or vegan if that's what you are looking for. Most soups you would buy off the shelf are high in sodium, and many have more than one serving per can. Having more than one serving of soup while out camping is not really an issue but it will open your eyes to how little soup can offer you if you are trying to get the most out of what you eat. I recommend soups be part of your camping meal, but not the whole meal. Like other canned items, canned soups do not need to be kept cool and they're easy to pack. Don't forget your can opener!

6. Energy Bars!

LaraBar is a great company for vegan snack bars. They are usually between 4 to 9 ingredients which are minimally processed. There are 24 flavors in the original collection and there are other collections available as well. They are by no means a meal replacement bar, but they are delicious snacks or desserts (vegan mint brownie bar, yes please!). If you're looking for meal replacements, try Greenbelly bars. Their Meal2Go bars are a third of your daily nutritional needs in a two bar pack. Made with 100% natural ingredients, they boast a 5-star rating and cost at least $7.66 per meal (this goes down if you buy bulk). Many proteins or granola bars are loaded with sugar, so read labels carefully.

7. Fresh Or Dried Fruits.

Some fruits can survive well outside of the fridge. Of course, you have the obvious ones such as apples, pears, bananas, avocados, and oranges. Berries can last too, especially if you buy them frozen and let them thaw before you eat them. With berries, I would still suggest to eat them early on into your trip, just in case. For better preservation, you could get individual fruit cups (look for ones with natural fruit juice as the preservative, not heavy syrup). Dried fruits are great for when you want some crunch added to a salad or a snack. They can also be replacements for potato chips.

8. Chips And Dip.

Bean dip or salsa is quick and easy to make before embarking on your camping quest (canned varieties can be questionable in terms of ingredients and quality, but the option is there). They need little refrigeration and can be eaten with tortillas, pita bread, and chips. Have chips and a heavy bean dip with a fresh cut avocado or a side salad and you've got a good meal for sharing.

9. Oats Or Granola.

Overnight oats are quick, easy, and a refrigeration-free breakfast. Granola clusters are also a great on-the-go snack. Here is a quick and easy overnight oats recipe I enjoy. Puffed rice can be a good substitute if you want a bit of crunch but not to feel as full. Pre-making puffed rice will take a while but is mostly due to the need to let the cooked rice dry out before it can be puffed. You can also buy puffed rice (usually in the cereal aisle) off the shelf.

10. Bagels, Pita, and Tortillas.

Make easy sandwiches and wraps with either of these three types of bread. They can be eaten with oils, dipped in hummus or nut butters, and can be the container for your beans and rice. Though they don't offer much on their own, they can build better meals such as burritos, breakfast bagels, and more.

11. Potatoes.

Baby potatoes or thinly cut potatoes can be cooked around the fire or on a small camping stove. They involve more effort in the sense that you'll need to bring a cutting board, cooking knife, and oil to cook with. Potatoes are a great addition to just about any meal, no matter how they're prepared.

12. Pickles.

Some pickles, or pickled items, do not need to be refrigerated after opening. This varies depending on how the items were pickled. Read the label carefully before you decided to take along the vinegary treat/condiment.

13. Dark Chocolate Bars.

Sweet treats are not out of the question entirely. Dark chocolate is actually nutritious (read Healthline's article about this here). Read the labels to make sure there is no added milk or other ingredients you are avoiding. For those who are not used to dark chocolate, just know that it seems bitter because most people are used to foods that are heavily laden with sugar. I used to hate dark chocolate, but with other changes in my diet, I realized I liked dark chocolate more than milk chocolate.

14. Salad Kits.

Leafy greens will need some refrigeration and should be eaten first. Don't let that stop you from bringing some on your trip though. They could be for your first lunch of the trip or added to a wrap or sandwich you make. Most grocery stores have packaged salad kits that are easy, mix-and-go meals.

Have fun camping! Don't let your nutritional needs hold you back from having fun in the sun!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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