Thursday, July 15, 2010

WLS Friendly Camping

Banana Boats
I am about to embark on a weeklong camping adventure – a long standing tradition that I've let lapse in the past couple years – and I'm looking forward to the solitude, quiet and alone time. Yes folks, I go camping by myself! (And I give the entire family and all my friends explicit instructions that they are not invited to "drop by" to say hi or come for a visit.) Even my cat isn't invited to come along… but she'll have her own catsitter keeping her company at home, so she'll be fine.

Just to clarify… we're not talking about camping in the "roughing it" sort of way. My parents have a 27' travel trailer fully equipped with bathroom, kitchen, full size bed in the bedroom and a sofa direct access to the TV. But… For the most part I'll be unplugged from the digital world. The campground I'll be at won't have a good cell signal, so no phone and of course, no internet. I'll have a TV and VCR, so I won't be cut off completely. Plus the McDonald's in town has wi-fi that I'm sure I'll use a couple times (ya know, to check in with you guys).  But there will be a nightly campfire and probably plenty of mosquitoes and lots of walking and biking and nature hikes.

I'm actually excited about attempting kayaking for the first time!  Across the river from the campground is a canoery and they have kayaks for rent. So I plan to try that early in the vacation to see if I like it - if so, then I might try it several times! I"ll let you know how it goes.

So anyway, let's talk about food.

I bought a new little cookbook at Barnes & Noble the other day and just sat down this evening (the night before I leave and after all my groceries are already bought and packed) to read it. The cookbook is called: Campfire Cuisine: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors. And they weren't kidding when they said gourmet. One recipe that caught my eye right off was the Orange-Herb Salmon with a side of Grilled Asparagus. Sounds complicated, huh? Nope! Super easy, foil wrapped salmon with a few herbs and orange slices cooked over the open flame of the campfire or on the grill. Plus, all the campfire recipes have instructions on how to cook it at home with a stove. Loving this book and it's getting packed for the trip (I might even just leave it in the camper for my parents).

So how can camping be WLS friendly?  Usually food at the campground revolves mostly around junk, junk and more junk. But with the benefit of a fully equipped RV, I've got a refrigerator and plenty of room to cook healthy meals.  Plus a bit of pre-planning helps too.  I don't have a set menu for meals, I'm going to wing it for the most part... but I did pack some healthy options along with a few naughty treats. This is what I've got in mind:



  • Deli sliced Mesquite Turkey Breast on Flatout Bread with lettuce and mustard for rollup sandwiches
  • Salad with pre-cooked chicken stripes (from the freezer section) and apple slices or dried cherries
  • Finger foods like grapes and cheesesticks, turkey rollups (turkey wrapped around a dill pickle), fruit finger jello --- for afternoons when I'm lounging by the pool, of course.
Dinner over the campfire:

  • Chicken tenders cooked with black bean sauce in foil packets
  • Ribeye steak over the fire
  • Bratwurst (gotta have whole grain mustard and dill pickle relish with brats!)
  • Orange-Herb Salmon (I happen to have all the ingredients already!)
  • Veggie foil packets – zucchini, squash, carrots, onion, broccoli – cooked with spice mix in foil packet over the fire
Josh's Banana BoatNaughty Treats:
Since I'll be on vacation my rules of moderation won't be quiet as strict, so I'll indulge in more naughty treats than normal.

  • S'Mores
  • Fruit Custard Tart (I saw it in the bakery, decided this would be my weeklong indulgence - it's a small tart filled with vanilla custard and topped with fresh strawberries, grapes and blueberries)
  • Campfire fruit pie (this isn't actually naught - sugar free cherry pie filling and low-carb bread cooked in campfire sandwich iron)
  • BBQ potato chips
  • Banana Boats (unless I eat all the bananas for breakfast) - check out the picture of my nephew making one a few years ago.
Every food I have planned - except the last things on the naughty list - are all WLS friendly options. And in moderation, even those naughty treats can fit into an overall healthy eating plan. I won't be eating all of the treats on that list every single day... I might choose one campfire treat each night while enjoying the fire and I might have a few chips with my turkey rollup sandwich at lunch.  Ok, ok, ok, by the time the week is over that custard tart will definitely be gone... but the rest of the stuff will stay in the camper for my parents. 

I'm packing my laptop computer and I"ll be diligently working on writing the book.  It's coming along nicely and I'm happy with it so far. I'm about halfway through and hope to slug out the other half this week -- then the next several weeks will be spent on editing, refining and adding new material. I hope you'll love it when it's done!


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