Camping is a North American summer classic. I personally love setting up a tent and relaxing in a secluded woods, free of noise pollution from the big city. Along with this seasonal tradition you have your standard camping foods: comfort-inducing marshmallow goodness, burgers or hot dogs slathered in condiments, graham crackers and melted chocolate, to name a few. Unfortunately, these options really are not ideal for optimal health. What are some tweaks you can make to keep the classics, but add a health promoting plant-based twist? Check out these recipes and swaps you can try on your next camping trip.
Plant-based Banana Boat
The banana boat is a childhood classic. Revamp this delicious camping food by choosing organic and fair-trade bananas. Conventional bananas are grown with heavy doses of pesticides, and often with poor farming labor practices. Supporting Fair-Trade bananas supports these small farmers ensuring they have liveable wages and working environments. Next, choose vegan marshmallows found in health food stores or the health food aisle in your grocery store. Lastly, find a chocolate of your choice to melt inside the banana boat. Yum! I like to grab a Vega Maca chocolate bar . Vega maca is nutrient-dense, sourced from a fairly traded supplier, and the cocoa supplier is a member of the World Cocoa Foundation and the European Cocoa Association. Both support farmers and the reduction of unfair labor practices.
- 1 banana, gently sliced lengthwise down the middle (without slicing through the other side of the banana)
- 3 to 4 vegan marshmallows
- ½ Vega Maca Chocolate Bar broken into pieces, or a small handful of vegan chocolate chips
- Aluminum Foil
*If you would like, add protein, sprinkle almonds, hemp seed, or coconut into your banana boat.
- Gently slice banana down the middle. Now your banana will act as a pita.
- Add chocolate and nuts or seeds into the banana.
- Stuff the marshmallows on top. It’s very important to add these last so they keep everything together once they melt.
- Wrap banana in aluminum foil and place in the fire. Leave for about 5 minutes and carefully remove with a marshmallow stick. Enjoy!
S’mores are synonymous with camping. But more importantly, who hasn’t tried to master roasting the perfect mallow to a golden brown? Whether you enjoy the classic mallow fireside sandwich, or simply enjoy a good roast-off, there are plant-based options for you. Grab your vegan marshmallows from your nearest grocery or health food store, dark chocolate (look for 70% cocoa or higher that does not list dairy in the ingredients), and gluten-free graham crackers.
Can’t find gluten-free graham crackers? Make a swap.
Grab an apple and thinly slice it from top to bottom from the outside to the core. Use these slices as a cracker to place your marshmallow and chocolate onto, and enjoy!
Standard Camping Breakfast
The standard camping breakfast after a night curled up in your sleeping bag generally consists of trail mix bar, pancakes, or refined cereals. Here are some easy ways to get protein and the healthy convenience you need, while staying plant-based.
1. Make a breaky veggie pack or veggie hash
Slice, chop or grate a few of your favorite root vegetables (beets, yams and carrots are a personal favorite), and throw into a frying pan or foil packet with canned black beans, Swiss chard, garlic and onion. Tip: prep all your vegetables at home and add a teaspoon of coconut oil and spice to the packet ahead of time. That way you’re good and ready for your camping trip. Ancho chili spice adds a fantastic flavor to a campfire breakfast.
2. Protein pancakes!
Bring your pre-packaged gluten-free pancake mix to the next level by adding a scoop of Performance Protein, or Vega One. If adding a scoop to your mix, add a splash of almond milk or sliced apple for moisture. For the ambitious at heart, here’s a great Protein Pumpkin Pancakes recipe from Vega’s recipe center. Pre-mix it before you go and place in your cooler until breakfast time; add another splash of almond milk before cooking, stir and cook. Tip: if pumpkin doesn’t work for you, use apple slices.
3. Nutrient-dense cereal recipe to swap out those refined cereals
Here’s a great base recipe you can swap ingredients with based on what’s in your kitchen. You could choose a seasonal fruit to add on the day of eating, or some of your favorite dried fruits and all-in-all you’ll have a nutrient-dense cereal option to take camping, instead of refined cereal.
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup buckwheat kasha
- ¼ cup chia seed
- ¼ cup hemp hearts
- ½ cup dried fruit, any (raisins, golden berries, goji, or blackcurrants are scrumptious!)
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- Stevia or maple syrup to taste
- Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir.
- Pour into a large 1 liter mason jar and pack into your cooler.
- Pack any non-dairy milk to use with the cereal.
Enjoy these tips and recipes to fuel your camping adventures, and celebrate the same traditions, but with a healthier and more nutritious plant-based twist.
Feature camping photo from: www.freedigitalphotos.net