The summer is still going strong (don’t try to tell me that fall is coming!) and for many of us, that means camping! This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than usual are choosing outdoor recreational activities, like camping, in lieu of amusement parks or resort getaways.
Planning ahead about which foods to bring along for your meals and snacks on your camping adventure can go a long way in setting you up for success when it comes to blood sugar management. Choosing high-protein, low glycemic-index meals that are wholesome, delicious, and temperature-stable is key to helping maintain your energy levels as well as keeping your blood sugar steady and in your target range.
After recently getting back from my own 4-day camping experience, I thought I would share some of my favorite food staples to bring along.
- Low-Carb Wraps: Whether making a quesadilla over the campfire or using it to wrap up any sandwich or burger ingredients, having some lower-carb wraps on hand is a must for me. My favorites are the Tumaro’s Many of them range from about 3 g to 6 g net carbohydrates per wrap.
- Cheese Snacks: There are many satisfying and shelf-stable cheese snack options nowadays. They make for a great snack, are packed with protein, and are very low in carbohydrates. My favorites are Moon Cheese or the Whisps.
- Nuts: I love bringing along a large jar of mixed nuts. It makes for a great snack, especially when you’re being active. The protein and fat content help replenish energy levels and keep your blood glucose steady as you hike.
- Sunflower Seeds: Similar to nuts, sunflower seeds offer a considerable amount of calories to keep you going, while having minimal effects on blood sugar levels. These tend to have an addictive factor for me though, and I have to watch my portions!
- Packaged Meals: There aren’t many ready-to-eat meals that I’ve personally come across that taste good and are carb-conscious. This is why I have to give another shoutout to Sugar Summit Backcountry for their line of camping-specific products that include items like trail mix, cereal, and even full meals – and even offer several vegan and gluten-free options!
- Beef Jerky: I love beef jerky, because it’s full of protein, temperature-stable and delicious, but sometimes it can be hard to find one that is low in carb count. Make sure to look for ones that do not have sugar added, always check the nutrition label and ingredients list, so you’re not surprised by a blood sugar spike.
- Eggs: Did you know that if you get fresh eggs from a farm (or your own chickens!) before they are washed and processed, you actually don’t need to refrigerate them? I highly recommend taking advantage of this. The possibilities are endless, from various breakfast options to eggs salad wraps or sandwiches, etc.
- Canned Chicken or Tuna: Whether you prefer chicken salad or tuna (or both!), having some canned sources of protein are a great idea. Combine with some celery, pickles, salt, pepper, and mayo, and you have incorporate the delicious salad over some greens or in a wrap.
- Peanut Butter: Whether you’re dipping baby carrots or celery sticks into it, or just having a spoonful or two, PB is a great product that is shelf-stable, filling, and delicious. Almond or sunflower butter are also great alternatives, too!
- Pre-cooked Bacon: What good are eggs without the bacon?! Look for shelf-stable, pre-cooked bacon that does not need to be refrigerated prior to opening. Consider a cast-iron pan over the fire for heating it up.
Once you have your shelf-stable proteins covered, time to add some veggies, and tie it all together with some exciting flavors. I like to bring cucumbers, radishes, and celery, as these tend to do well, even when not refrigerated. Then, I select a couple of bold flavors to bring along, such as a sriracha mayo, or a ranch dressing to pair them with. You can also chop veggies into your low carb wrap, alongside your protein of choice and add mayo, mustard, or dressing for a quick and satisfying meal.
Finally, pickles are my wild-card choice. I love having a large jar of pickles with me, whether to include in my chicken or tuna salad, or just to snack on. The pickle juice is also an excellent source of electrolytes!
Planning my meals and snacks to be not only satiating and tasty, but also blood sugar-friendly always helps me have the best time. The focus is off my diabetes management and I can be more free to enjoy the experience, whether I’m hiking or sitting around the campfire.
What are your go-tos when you venture outdoors for a few days? Please share your thoughts in the comments – we love hearing from our readers!
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