If you're out in the wild on a great camping trip I hope that means that you are leaving the confines of the camp site and making a day of hiking, swimming, fishing, climbing, etc. Camping is a great fitness trip but like all fitness activities your body needs energy to keep going, especially on long activities that your body may not be used to.
That is where food comes in to play. Believe it or not … not all food is created equal, even if calories are.
For example the benefits that come from eating a peanut butter sandwich (on wheat) completely differs from eating a piece of chocolate cake. The cake is called empty calories, you get the calories but get no healthy benefits and though your energy may quickly rise, it will also quickly fall … and all you'll be left with is extra stored fat.
Now for camping and your outdoor fitness activities … there are 3 important times to eat and I will of course start with the first:
What should you eat before exercise?
You want food that is slowly absorbed to give last energy that will not spike and quickly fall like the cake example. Foods should combine these three big groups:
* Complex carbs (whole wheat, fruits, veggies)
* Protein (nuts, meats, beans)
Food like: peanut butter sandwich, turkey wrap, nuts, apple and peanut butter just to name a few.
What to eat during activities
Foods that are easily digested, absorbed and easy on the stomach. Energy gels, drinks, and energy bars are great ideas, or homemade trailmix.
Recovery, what to eat when the workout is over?
Your body and muscles are nurtured and need to recovery. The magic muscle recovery food is: Protein, protein and protein. You'll be carving a good hearty meal after your long day out away from the campsite so your body will remind you of its need for rich quality protein. So what are good protein options? Turkey burgers (here's a great camping recipe), grilled chicken, fish, seafood, lean beef, bison, nuts, etc.
When packing food just keep in mind the 3 factors:
portability (apples, bananas and other fruit is great), shelf life, and convenience (are you able to pack it, fix and enjoy it?)
My Person Power Foods, straight from the fitness trainer's mouth:
Whey protein, Powerbars, energy bars, Cliff gels, rice cakes and peanut butter, almonds, apples and pears, whole wheat bread, water, grilled chicken and sweet potatoes, ostrich jerky and energy cubes.
I recommend drinking protein shake after each big fitness activity you do. It energizes you and feeds the muscle. This is not just a guys drink, even women should have one. Do not worry they wont bulk you up.
For camping, I hope that you are as active as possible and not simply sitting around the fire all day. Hit the trails and burn off some calories, use this time as fitness time for you and you camping group. Just stay energized!