Monday, June 13, 2011

Camping chow

Do you remember the "Lowered Expectations" bit from MadTV? It was like a dating service for, well, people who might have a difficult time meeting other people because they were, like, serial killers or cat freaks or whatever? Well, I hear the little jingle from that bit going through my mind whenever I pack the food for camping.

I adore camping. Getting out in the woods with my husband and sons is something that just takes all the stresses and makes it float away. Getting ready to go is another thing altogether, though. I turn into a list-making machine the week before we leave. Particularly, planning out the food for the trip is a source of stress for me. I don't know why it gets my panties in such a bunch to deal with something that should be so simple, but it does. I guess it is partly because if you don't have every component of every dish, you're out of luck. What if it rains and you were planning to cook on the campfire? Also, there are four people to take into consideration, and I like to try to prepare meals that everyone will enjoy. I don't really want any mealtime battles on vacation.

At home, I try to serve my family mostly healthy foods. We have a couple boxed/processed items in the cupboards, but for the most part I try to stay away from too much of that stuff. Of course, with kids, things like Goldfish crackers are pretty much a staple.

But when we go camping, we don't eat nearly as healthy. I was appalled when I got groceries for our first camping trip of the year. It looked like, well, what I think a LOT of Americans' regular grocery shopping trips look like. Sad. A lot of junk. Sure, there were a few fruits and veggies in there, but I had definitely lowered my standards.

Here's a glimpse...

Here's what my planned meals looked like:

Breakfasts: Cereal, oatmeal, fruit (either fruit cups or fresh) and yogurt.

Lunches: Sandwiches. Ham & cheese or PB&J. I got the Simply Fruit jelly but shamefully got the Jif to Go peanut butter instead of the natural kind. Each little cup is just the right size to make a sandwich for each of the four of us, and the package of 8 cups will probably last us through the summer for camping. Plus, unlike with the natural PB, we won't have oily leakage! Learned that one from experience!!! Also we have fresh veggies with hummus, trail mix and beef jerky, or cheese and crackers and ring bologna.

Dinners: I planned three nights' worth. One was Koegel Vienna hot dogs and raw veggies with hummus. The second was ham steaks, crescent rolls cooked on a stick over the fire, and some sort of canned veggies. Probably green beans. The third was chicken fajitas (I'll pre-cook the chicken at home) and chips w/ guacamole I make at camp (the kind where you just mix a packet with the avocados).

As for snacks, I got a bag of potato chips (I never buy chips, except mini bags for the Chore Store, and tortilla chips to have with homemade salsa and guacamole) and, of course, I took stuff to make s'mores.

To drink, we took milk, orange juice and a copuple Powerades (it was 69 cents for a 32 ounce bottle so I figured it would be a treat. Plus, I always get dehydrated when we camp because I forget to drink water). We also each take our stainless steel water bottles to refill at the campground tap.

The funny thing is, when we camp, after a day or so my tummy tells me in no uncertain terms that it is unhappy with my food choices. Especially after hot dog and marshmallow night. My gut HATES that stuff! You'd think I'd learn, but I don't.

One day I'd like to figure out how to maybe not take quite so much junk camping. A little is fine, but when I'm getting tummy aches and often can't wait to eat a normal meal when we get home, something needs to change.

How about you? Do you eat healthy on vacation, totally junk out, or somewhere in between?