Healthy camping can be easy! There are so many benefits of being outdoors and that makes camping a great activity that can be a boost for your health. Being outside is great for your mental health boosting your serotonin and Vitamin D levels. In fact, regular outdoor time has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. Camping also encourages exercise and gets you moving without even realizing you’re exercising. With all the healthy benefits of camping there are also some pitfalls like pudgy pies, s’mores, grazing snacks, alcohol, sugary beverages and your electronics.
The summer sun and relaxation can make it easy to let your healthy habits slip. That’s not going to help you build a healthy lifestyle. Pitfalls are best avoided with planning and a commitment to your health. Here’s some healthy camping ideas to help you avoid some of these pitfalls and to get more healthy benefits out of your trip.
6 Healthy Camping Ideas
1 – Plan Healthy Meals and Snacks
Eating healthy while camping is so easy if you plan ahead! It’s not like going to a restaurant or party where you have to worry about potential allergens or unhealthy ingredients. You’re in charge! Plan ahead so you aren’t grazing on junk food. Protein balls make great snacks on the go and you can check out some of our other ideas for snacks on the go. Another favorite is Siete Chips with guacamole or salsa. Keep your cooking simple and find what you like. Check out some of our favorite summer recipes and ideas for grilling. You can also find tons more options in our recipe section.
2 – Try Healthier S’mores
I know we talked about healthy foods and snacks already but this one deserves its own category. S’mores and camping just go together. They haven’t found a way to make cauliflower taste like s’mores yet but there are healthier options for an occasional treat. Check out our healthy S’mores ideas to make them a better option or make an even healthier dessert without the sugar curb s’mores cravings. Try Christy’s Peanut Butter Dream Pie or Thin Mint Cookies for sugar-free treats.
3 – Stop Bugs Naturally
What goes on your skin goes in your blood stream, so it’s important to look at what ingredients are in your bug spray. Those ingredients add to your toxic load and why do that when there are natural options to keep bugs away? Eating garlic not only adds flavor to your food but keep bugs away. Try burning a mixture of cinnamon and coffee grounds to repel bugs. Place dry grounds mixed with cinnamon essential oil in a bowl or flat surface then add a bit of cedarwood for easy burning. For more ideas and how to make your own DIY bug spray check out our article on natural bug repellents or the DIY Bug Spray recipe.
Learn more about making your own natural bug spray:
4 – Safer Sunscreen
With all the time outside it’s likely you will be getting lots of sun. That’s great for Vitamin D but too much and you will get burned. Don’t reach for toxic sunscreen. As we talked about in an article on toxic sunscreen, one study found that chemicals in sunscreen were found in the blood stream 24 hours after application and levels rose with repeated applications. There are plenty of healthier options and if you need some help finding some, we have a few faves in our article on sunscreen choices.
5 – Cleaner Alcohol Options
You don’t need to drink to have a good time and your health will be better for it. Some people enjoy alcohol during their camping trips so if you’re going to imbibe don’t let it derail your healthy habits. There are healthier mixers like seltzer or Zevia and avoid sugar-laden sodas or juices. Look for gluten-free beers, organic wines and make sure you are avoiding your allergies. Check out our article for other cleaner drinking ideas.
6 – Skip the Electronics and Sleep Better
Camping is the perfect time to help reset your circadian rhythm. The exposure to natural light and grounding helps rebalance the physiological systems that can lead to better sleep. The effects will last long beyond your trip. Skip the electronics at night and you don’t need them during the day. Enjoy the time in nature so you can sleep better!
Make Healthy Camping Memories
You can make awesome summer memories and enjoy healthy camping. Taking care of your health will help make many more summers of camping even more enjoyable. A healthy you will appreciate camping much more than the sick version of you!
Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn