One of the best parts about camping is being outdoors – the trees, the grass, the fresh air – it brings you closer to nature, as they say. Unfortunately, all of the goodness of the great outdoors can be ruined by some poor choices at the supermarket.
There have been too many occasions when processed foods in brightly coloured packaging are chosen over fresher, healthier options. Sure, they might keep better without refrigeration but they’re full of weird ingredients, the packaging creates rubbish and I don’t know about you but they always make me really thirsty.
We’ve found that fresh whole foods are better, not only in helping us feel energised, but for our pockets as well. So, without any further ado, here is our list of foods for the healthy camper who doesn’t want to break the bank.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, they say – but how? These mysteriously super heroic fruits contain two main nutrients – fibre and vitamin C. Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that boosts immunity and decreases the oxidation of important fats within the membranes of our cells.
We all know that fibre is pretty important but there is one form of fibre in apples called pectin, which plays a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure, blood sugar levels and reduces the ‘bad’ cholesterol in blood. Pectin, and the other forms of fibre in apples also help to maintain a healthy digestive system.
Apples can be as cheap as $2 a kilo and are delicious on their own, baked in foil on the fire with some cinnamon, smeared with peanut butter or sliced into a salad.
At around $1.50 for a kilo, carrots are an awesome snack, especially when dunked in some yummy dips or salsa. Put grated carrot in your sandwiches, salads or stews or make carrot noodles with a julienne slicer.
Carrots are a great source of vitamin A, which is great for eyesight and strengthening the immune system. They also contain biotin, a relatively new essential nutrient that supports healthy metabolism, blood sugar levels and skin health.
The price of zucchini can vary but you’re looking at around $5 a kilo in major cities. Because of the soft, delicate flavour of zucchini, they can be eaten raw, steamed, fried, grilled or BBQed, or grated for stews and soups. Juz likes to slice them up and use them like a cracker, or she makes zoodles with her julienne slicer.
Apart from being full of fibre and antioxidants, Zucchini contains a decent amount of copper, which plays a role in energy production when paired with iron, bone and tissue integrity, and the effectiveness of antioxidants in the body.
Chockablock full of vitamin A and vitamin C, sweet potatoes protect you against free radicals as well as supporting your immune system and vision. They keep well if kept dry, taste amazing mashed, baked in foil or grilled on a BBQ, and are only $4 a kilo.
The difference between brown rice and white rice is more than just colour. White rice is stripped of all the healthy bits to create a product that has a longer shelf life and minimal nutrients. Brown rice has everything that white rice has and more, such as vitamin B1, B3 and B6, manganese, fibre, and other awesome stuff that helps to provide the body with energy and protection against diseases like diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and more!
While brown rice takes around 50 minutes to prepare, it tastes better and is better for you, but if convenience is your vice, then stick to the white stuff.
The ultimate breakfast food and only $2 a kilo. Oats are low GI and full of manganese, which is great for stabilising blood sugar levels, bone production and healthy skin. Oats also contain a particular type of fibre that helps to lower cholesterol.
Our favourite recipe is Overnight Oats because it’s simple and fuss-free. You can also boil them and add in some egg, cheese and bacon for a savoury treat.
A supercheap source of easily digestible protein, but don’t discard the yolk! There are some excellent nutrients in the yellow stuff, including choline, which is really important for the structure of cells and nervous system support.
Fry them over the campfire for breakfast or boil them in the billy for a snack later on. You can cut up the hardboiled eggs and mix with mayonnaise and onion for a delicious sandwich filler, or smear with peanut butter for a kooky bite.
A cheap and versatile protein that also features healthy omega-3 fats and selenium, a mineral that supports healthy thyroid function! Single serves can range from $10-$30 a kilo, but if you’re on a serious budget, buy one of the big tins and you have four serves at around $8 a kilo.
Combine tuna with onion and mayonnaise for an awesome sandwich filler, or spread on toast and melt some cheese on top for a delicious treat. Tinned chicken is great for salads, soups and stews.
Ranging from $5-$12 a kilo, minced meat is not only relatively cheap but also seriously versatile. You can make stews, burgers, meatloaf, curries and heaps of other stuff with this malleable meat. If you’re on a serious budget, opt for fatty meats – they are usually cheaper and tastier than lean meats, but if you’re watching your fat intake, then there are always lean options available.
Apart from being one of the best sources of essential nutrients iron and zinc, animal proteins contain other vitamins and minerals that plant sources rarely supply, such as vitamin B12 for healthy brain function, creatine for strength and muscle mass, carnosine for protection against degenerative processes and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) for healthy brain function. Check out this great ad from 2010 with Sam Neill.