Cooking with John While Camping // Forest Tourist
Camping,  Health

Fresh in the Forest 001: Food and the Great Outdoors

Howdy y’all.

And yes, I did just say howdy.

As you know, I really enjoy getting outside. Like, really really enjoy it. I’m all for spending a few days camping, climbing, biking, hiking, sitting in a hammock, and kayaking; and in the midst of all that fun I need to find some time to shove food into my mouth to power my adventures.

So I wanted to start a little series about how to eat fresh(ish) in the forest, because believe it or not people who go outside haven’t figured out how to photosynthesize yet so we still gotta eat.

In all seriousness, my transition from a kid who had never slept outside to a woman who feels confident in the outdoors was long and full of mistakes. Learning how to eat in nature was a difficult process for me, and the period of my life where I couldn’t easily have a good meal outside was absolutely miserable. The very first time that I went camping in college I brought cans of food but no can opener, and I didn’t have a cooking system of any kind to even heat my stuff up with. That trip was a ton of fun but my memories of it are tainted by the pain in my stomach and the fatigue that resulted from not eating enough.

That trip taught me an important lesson: not knowing how to eat while camping makes people less inclined to go camping. Which stinks, because camping is a wonderful thing and everyone should do it, but at the same time I completely understand the disempowerment and anxiety that come from not knowing what to do.

Cooking with John While Camping // Forest Tourist

Fresh in the Forest is a collection of all that I have learned about how to eat food in the great outdoors. It is the culmination of several years of trial and error; of nights shoveling crunchy undercooked rice into my mouth because I had no other option and days spent eating only cliff bars because I didn’t want to leave the group to cook and miss out on the fun.

I recently reached this epiphany: when you’re camping you don’t have to sacrifice health for convenience. There’s nothing wrong with granola bars and dried mangos, but they shouldn’t be your only sustenance for a weekend at the crag. It is possible to have a deliciously healthy meal without spending hours at the campsite diligently stirring your food while your friends are off adventuring; all it takes is a little knowledge and some preparation.

So let’s delve into the wide world of cooking outside together! I’m excited to share my steadily-growing trove of easy and tasty camp recipes with y’all as we get Fresh in the Forest.

Want to read more about my food journey? Check out my post Let’s Talk About Food!

Was this helpful? Have feedback for me? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email at All photos in this post were taken by Brooke Neal.


I'm a climber, dog mom, and a hater of plastic. I like seeking wild adventures and sharing them with people.

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