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Old 06-29-2010, 03:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Need help planning healthy camping menu

My family often celebrates the summer with several camping trips. Our campfire menu has traditionally been laden with high fat, high carb foods. Do you have any tips for campfire cooking that is healthy and will satisfy a family of 5 (including teenagers who eat me out of house and home)?
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Old 06-29-2010, 03:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Question Need help planning camping menu

My family often celebrates the summer with several camping trips. Our campfire menu has traditionally been laden with high fat, high carb foods. Do you have any tips for campfire cooking that is healthy and will satisfy a family of 5 (including teenagers who eat me out of house and home)?
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I always love to make tinfoil dinners when we go camping. Usually I use lean ground beef, onions carrots, red potatoes, garlic, salt & pepper and maybe a little dribble of olive oil, cook 15-20 minutes each side. But seriously you can make a tinfoil dinner out of just about anything you would bake or throw on a grill, portabella mushrooms, mushrooms of any sort really, sweet potatoes, ground turkey, pork tender loin, chicken, fish, any veggie. One recipe my family loves is tinfoil chicken fahitas, wrap up chicken, onions, peppers, taco seasoning and salsa in the foil, cook 10-15 minutes each side and serve with chopped lettuce and tortillas The best part of tinfoil dinners is that you don't have to do dishes!

Shish kabobs are also a really great camping dish, and then the kids can put whatever they want on their own skewers, fruit, veggies, meat, whatever floats your boat.

We also love to make hobo pies, people call them different things but you make them in those camp fire sandwich makers. Instead of using canned pie filling, we use fresh fruit or reduced calorie jam, low-cal whole grain bread instead of Wonderbread, cooking spray instead of butter and whatever low-cal ingredients we're in the mood for. You can easily cut the calories by a ton and have it taste about the same.

What about chili? Make it in advance, freeze in a crock pot liner, use it for ice in the cooler and toss it into the crock pot after it thaws out. Viola' dinner's all done and it was almost no work at all.

For snacks take fresh cut veggies, fruit, granola bars, trail mix, protein bars, yogurt etc etc. Believe me you can camp without chips and junk food. You might even find that your ravenous teenagers eat a little less when the food they consume actually has nutritional content. My kids are swimmers, so they burn tons of calories at practice, which is 2-3 days/week. Switching them over to healthier snacks has saved us some money because they don't wolf down quite as much.

And did you know a s'more only has about 160 calories? So have your s'more if you want, just make sure you get in an extra hike to burn it off.
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Last edited by almeeker; 06-29-2010 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Can you take the same foods and switch them out for healthier options? For example, hot dogs or bratwursts might be easy, but what about switching them out for brats made from turkey or chicken. And switching out starchy buns with whole wheat. Or can you make chicken or salmon kabobs ahead of time and cook over the fire? Cut up veggies and roast in foil packets over the fire. Potatoes aren't so bad for you, it's all the stuff you pile on top that is, so maybe baked potatoes (or even sweet potatoes) are an option? Grab apples and oranges, basically fruits or veggies you wouldn't necessarily have to keep in a cooler. Even your carby snacks, (chips or crackers) come in healthier options.

I have some of my own camping trips coming up and know that it's easy to sit here and talk about all the things you COULD take and it's harder to make it a reality. Just hope you get some ideas and please share them!
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Tin foil dinners, LOVE them. Pretty much any recipe can be converted into a tin foil dinner version. My family likes them with a lean ground beef burger, onions, carrots, sliced red potatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and a dribble of olive oil, wrap and cook 15-20 minutes each side (these are especially filling). They also love to make tin foil chicken fajitas, with chicken strips, taco seasoning, onions, peppers and maybe a dollop of salsa, wrap and put them on the grill or hot coals for 10-15 minutes each side.

We also love to do hobo pies, people call them different things but we use those campfire sandwich irons and make pretty much any kind of thing that tastes good between 2 slices of toasted bread. I use cooking spray instead of butter, whole grain low-cal bread, low sugar jam instead of canned pie filling, we make pocket pizzas with turkey pepperoni and part skim mozzarella cheese (and whatever toppings the kids like).

I also like to do shish-kabobs, and have everyone make their own. The sky is the limit baby, get crazy with it, fruit, veggies, marinade, whatever floats your boat. I also like prepare some stuff ahead of time, then freeze it in bags or freezer boxes and use it as ice in the cooler, once it thaws out, it's dinner. So far I've done that with chili, turkey burgers and meatballs in marinara sauce.

When we go camping I'm all about grab and go food, so we load up on granola bars, trail mix, fresh fruit, cut up veggies, etc etc. You can totally camp without living on junk food. One thing we used to do as kids is have "you caught it, you eat it night", which usually meant fish or if you were very lucky black raspberries. It's a great way to combine an activity with a healthy meal. I've also done the "mountain biking" vacation, which not only requires a bike, but a mountain (who knew?). Now let me tell you that burns a serious amount of calories, and all you want at the end of the day is pain killers and protein.

And just so you know, a s'more has about 160 calories, so have a s'more, well have it provided you put in a hike to burn it off. And s'mores made with dark chocolate are DIVINE.
__________________
Starting weight: 244.6 lbs. 10/01/09
Pounds lost: 80.6 lbs
Current weight: 164 lbs
Goal weight: 120 lbs
Weight to go: 44 lbs
Goal Date: 1/1/13
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I love doing tinfoil dinners (my family calls them "Hobo" dinners)
We do any kind of lean meat, frozen vegie mix (corn, carrots, peas, etc.)

I to have found that while camping, my blood sugars are very low (100's). Just be very active and stay away from munching.

Good luck
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