Once in a while perhaps we should also take a page out of Henry Thoreau’s book, Walden and head to the nearest woods for a couple of days of camping. Sometimes that is all we need to recalibrate and recharge. The life of the city has its own excitement but taking a break from the constant movement of urban life is really necessary. Moving around in the serene stillness of nature is not just calming but it can also be inspirational. If you are finding yourself in a slump this could be all you need to get out of that funk. It’s also great exercise which isn’t just good for burning calories but also scientifically proven to be good for our brain. A simple walk or a hike releases endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers, and helps us de-stress. Plus, it has the added benefit of a better scenery than your local gym.
Speaking of health, while camping it is a great idea to also consume healthy food. Some staple foods of camping might not be the healthiest and will probably just cancel out any health benefits you get from your hike. Frequently, when we are spending time outside without our appliances and utensils it is natural to reach for quick and easy to make options. But these options usually do not have many health benefits.
However, you don’t have to give up on your healthy habits for a camping trip when you can do both together. How’s that? Well the first step is planning.
- While spontaneity can be thrilling and fun it can also make us end up like Nick Miller unsuccessfully trying to catch fish for dinner. If you don’t have much experience with planning camping trips then we suggest taking some time out to think things through. That’s because fast food may be the go-to option otherwise and the amount of sodium and carbs in fast food is incredibly unhealthy and particularly bad for your liver. There may not be a big golden M sign in the woods but foods like camping hot dogs are in the same league when it comes to health.
We love snacks as much as anybody else. Chips, nuts, trail mix, beef jerky are all favorites. So we aren’t going to suggest you get rid of all of these, just to balance it out with some food which will give you energy for longer and not lead to a crash. So make a menu, or go all out with a spreadsheet, before you leave so that you don’t end up taking any unhealthy options to succumb to on your trip.
- Which takes us to the second step: prepping ahead of time. Think about it; you come back to your camp after hours of trekking, ravenous and just want to eat whatever comes your way. The quickest food would be anything with instant on the packaging. Instant is just another word for superbly unhealthy. If you have prepped ahead of time, assembling a healthy meal will be instant enough to satisfy your urgency while providing you with the nutrients your muscles need after a workout.
- Not all snacks are equal. Snacking is actually a great way to ensure that you don’t end up devouring a high sugar candy bar just so you can make it through the last part of your hike. Plus, snacks are fun and camping without them? No, thank you. What we are suggesting is that you substitute unhealthy snacks for healthier ones. So the third step is to only bring healthy snacks. Yep, remove temptation. Healthy snacks don’t mean bland, boring food. Some of our favourite snacks include carrots and cucumber sticks with hummus, fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, granola bars or dark chocolate. There is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing ingredients for s’mores but don’t think of them as a meal but rather a dessert.
- Speaking of dessert, you don’t have to completely get rid of sugar to be healthy. Just add some movement instead. Move around and explore your camping site even if you are not a big fan of hiking. Grab your camera and take pictures on your walk. If you are near safe waters then you can enjoy a nice, refreshing swim. Even some yoga in nature sounds perfect.
- Okay we know it isn’t easy to fulfil your daily water requirements. Sometimes we just forget. And unfortunately, water in coffee or tea doesn’t count. These are diuretics meaning they actually remove water from your body and end up dehydrating you. So if you drink coffee or tea, you should be drinking a little more water. Dehydration can cause headaches and fatigue which is not what you want when camping. A lot of times we even mistake thirst for hunger so drinking enough water will actually keep us from overeating. If you feel hungry ask yourself first if you’ve had any water recently. If you’re camping in summer and sweating from all the exercise then it is very likely that you just need to drink more water. Keep a bottle on you always. You can even add some electrolytes to your water or buy some with electrolytes already included. The plus side is that they come in a bunch of different flavors and you can keep packets on hand to add to water whenever you feel you’re way too exhausted. We recommend taking small sips throughout to avoid even reaching that too-tired-to-move stage.
These five steps will make your camping experience much better and you will come back home feeling invigorated and ready to bring your A game to work or school. Camping is fun for sure but always go with your camping gears to avoid any kind of trouble.