This weekend our family headed up to Lake Country in the Okanagan region of BC to do a little camping and a little exploration of the area (it’s one of our choices for the future homestead). It was our first real camping trip of the summer (as in, we slept in a tent and cooked on a portable grill).
When I was growing up, my father took us camping and hiking in the backcountry. No sissy car camping for us kids; we hauled in our food and water and stayed for several days. Dairy was out, as was anything else perishable. A can of condensed milk was available for tea or coffee (I hated the stuff), and dinner was often dehydrated meals from the camping supply store. The lack of fresh choices in my childhood camping experiences may explain why I have to think hard about packing anything other than convenience foods when we embark on our travels. Despite the healthy eating going on at home, when it comes to packing for a camping trip my brain seems to shut off and revert to old (bad) habits. Hot dogs and marshmallows are de rigeur, the car ride almost always involves at least one drive-thru experience, snacks are obtained from the gas station…you get the drift.
This last trip was mostly an on-the-fly affair when it came to planning, and I was working the day previous. Since I am the one in our family who plans and packs (Husband is the driver) I was really unprepared this time. My attitude towards food has changed considerably over the last several months, and while I did make a few pit stops at fruit stands along the way (the Okanagan region is bursting with orchards) we still ate way too much junk food. The only thing local at our camp table (besides some fruit) was the beer. Oh the shame!
We’re planning another trip in a couple of weeks and I’m challenging myself to provide better fare this time. We have a big honkin’ cooler and we’re never far from a bag of ice so there really is no excuse not to provide fresh, wholesome snacks and food for my family. Even on the road. A bag packed with sandwiches, fresh fruit, and some homemade granola bars is far better than anything you can get by talking into a speaker while the car is running. Meals can be planned ahead of time, condiments and essential seasonings (like olive oil) can come along for the ride. And of course there’s all the fresh fruit and produce at the roadside stands. We have a Coleman stove and a portable grill so really, I have no excuse. I hereby pledge to ditch the junk food on our next road trip before my children decide that “travel” is synonymous with “Happy Meal”.