I’m not a diabetic, but I certainly know people who are.
Those who have diabetes and enjoy camping may be understandably concerned about managing their glucose levels while away from home and the comforts of daily routines.
As someone who previously turned to overly processed and sugar-filled foods on camping trips, I know it can be especially difficult to find foods that are both blood-sugar friendly and easy to prepare at camp.
But with a little extra research and prep, it’s totally doable.
Here are some of my favourite blood-sugar friendly foods for camping, as well as some tips and tricks for meal planning and preparation.
Blood-sugar friendly camping breakfast ideas
Starting the day with a healthy breakfast is essential for anyone who goes camping, but especially for those with diabetes.
Here are some breakfast ideas for your next camping trip:
- Greek yogurt with berries and nuts
- Scrambled eggs with vegetables (such as spinach, bell peppers, and onions)
- Oatmeal with almond milk and cinnamon
- Low-carb breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, avocado, and cheese wrapped in a low-carb tortilla
- Turkey bacon or turkey sausage with a side of roasted vegetables
- Cottage cheese with sliced peaches and almonds
- Chia seed pudding with unsweetened coconut flakes and berries
- Protein smoothie with almond milk, protein powder, and mixed berries
- Low-carb breakfast sandwich with a whole grain English muffin, egg, and turkey sausage or bacon
- Homemade trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
- Almond butter on whole-grain toast
Blood-sugar friendly camping lunch ideas
For lunch, it’s important to focus on lean proteins and complex carbs.
Here are some simple lunch ideas that can be easily packed for a camping trip:
- Tuna salad wrap with lettuce and tomato
- Turkey and cheese roll-up with lettuce, diced peppers, and mustard
- Vegetable quesadilla with black beans, bell pepper, onion, and cheddar cheese
- Hummus wrap with cucumber slices, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and baby spinach
- Taco salad bowl with ground turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and shredded cheese
- Grilled chicken skewers with vegetables
- Vegetable stir-fry with brown rice or quinoa
- Turkey burger wrap with guacamole and tomato
- Black bean burrito bowl with brown rice, peppers, onions and salsa
- Dill and cucumber sandwich on whole grain bread
- Low-sodium canned soup and salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, diced cucumbers, and your choice of soup
Blood-sugar friendly camping dinner ideas
For dinner, lean proteins and healthy fats are key.
Here are some dinner options that will help keep blood sugar levels under control:
- Grilled fish tacos with slaw, avocado, and a lime wedge
- Roasted turkey breast with roasted vegetables
- Chicken fajita wrap with peppers, onions, andcarb tortilla
- Grilled salmon with quinoa and roasted vegetables
- Shrimp skewers with grilled vegetables
- Vegetable stir fry over brown rice
- Grilled vegetable wraps with cheese and hummus
- Turkey chili with kidney beans and bell peppers
- Stuffed bell pepper with ground turkey, quinoa, and cheese
- Vegetable soup with added lean protein such as chicken or tofu
- Stuffed sweet potatoes with roasted vegetables and black beans
Blood-sugar friendly dessert ideas
It’s always nice to have a dessert option while camping, and there are many blood-sugar friendly options.
Here are some of my favourite healthy and delicious desserts for camping:
- Fruit salad with honey or agave syrup
- Low-carb brownies with walnuts
- Greek yogurt parfaits with berries and nuts
- Chia seed pudding with almond milk and mixed berries
- Mini apple pies with an oat crust
- Frozen banana “ice cream” with peanut butter and chocolate chips
- Dark chocolate truffles made with cocoa powder, almond butter, and honey
- Coconut macaroons with dark chocolate chips
- Strawberry shortcake with almond flour and coconut sugar
- Grilled banana boats with walnuts and dark chocolate chips
- No-bake energy bites with oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
Blood-sugar friendly snack ideas
Snacking is important while camping, as it helps to keep your energy levels up and prevents blood sugar spikes.
Here are some easy snack ideas that will help keep your blood sugar stable on a camping trip:
- Fruit and nut bars with no added sugars or preservatives
- Homemade trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
- Apple slices with almond butter
- Carrot sticks with hummus
- Hard boiled eggs
- Roasted chickpeas
- Greek yogurt with berries and granola
- Popcorn with olive oil, chili powder, and nutritional yeast
- Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins
- Almond butter on whole grain toast
- Vegetable chips with salsa or guacamole
- Smoothies made with almond milk, frozen fruit, and spinach or kale
- Baked sweet potato chips and nutmeg
Tips for diabetes-friendly camping meals and snacks
Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning your blood sugar friendly camping meals:
Create a meal plan. Write down all your meals and snacks for the trip so you can avoid packing too much food, or too little.
Choose foods you already like. Try to stick with meals and snacks that you’re used to eating at home, so you know how they will affect your blood sugar levels
Include lean proteins at every meal. Lean proteins, including meats like chicken and fish, help keep blood sugar levels stable.
Avoid processed foods. Stay away from processed foods as much as possible, as these often contain added sugars or preservatives that can quickly raise your blood sugar
Prep ingredients at home. Pre-chopping vegetables, for example, will reduce the amount of time you need to spend preparing and cooking while camping.
Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is key for keeping blood under control.
Eat smaller portions more frequently. In other words, plan to bring more snack-friendly foods.
Make snacking easy. Bring shelf-stable snacks like dried fruit, nuts, and nut butter packs.
Bring healthy oils for cooking. Good fats, such as olive oil or coconut oil, are essential for keeping your blood sugar levels in check.
Include plenty of fibre-rich whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fibre helps keep you full and slows down the digestion process, which will help maintain steady blood sugar levels.
Enjoy a few indulgences in moderation. Don’t be afraid to have some of your favourite treats while camping, just make sure to enjoy them in moderation!
Keep track of your blood sugar levels. Make sure to always have a glucose monitor on hand so you can track your blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Consider consulting your doctor beforehand
Before heading out, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider.
They’ll be able to provide tailored advice on how to best manage your diabetes while camping.
Be sure to also bring the necessary supplies, such as blood glucose meters, insulin, and medication, with you on the trip.
Be careful not to skip meals or snacks
It’s easy to get carried away with camp chores and activities and forget that eating is important for regulating your blood sugar levels.
Be sure to stick with a regular meal and snack schedule throughout your trip, so you don’t miss out on essential nutrients and energy.
If necessary, set reminders on your watch or smartphone as a way to stay on track.
Be prepared for emergencies
Make sure to bring extra medication, glucose tablets, and other supplies in case of an emergency.
It’s also a good idea to let someone in your camping group know that you have diabetes and what to do in case of a medical emergency.
Camping food for diabetics FAQs
Can diabetics go camping?
Yes, diabetics can go camping and enjoy all the same activities as anyone else.
However, it’s important to be mindful of your diet and monitor your blood sugar levels closely while you are away from home.
Are s’mores okay for diabetics?
S’mores can be enjoyed in moderation by diabetics.
Since the graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows all contain sugar, it’s important to remember to include fibre-rich foods at other meals and snacks throughout the day.
Try swapping out traditional graham crackers for a low-sugar option such as honey-wheat crackers.
Are hot dogs okay for diabetics?
Hot dogs can be enjoyed in moderation by diabetics as long as they are low-sugar, nitrate-free varieties.
Look for hot dogs made from lean cuts of beef or turkey and limit your intake to one serving per day.
Also, make sure to always pair it with a high-fibre, whole wheat bun and go easy on the condiments.
Instead, add a side of leafy greens or your favourite vegetables for a balanced meal.
Are chips okay for diabetics?
Chips are generally high in both fat and sugar, so it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes.
Instead, look for baked chips made with healthier oils such as olive oil and coconut oil.
You can also try making your own chips at home with a variety of vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, and carrots.
These options are lower in sugar and higher in vitamins and minerals, which can help to keep your blood sugar levels steady.
How do you keep insulin cool while camping?
The best way to keep insulin cool while camping is by purchasing a small, insulated cooler and packing it with ice packs.
You can also purchase cooling wallets that are specifically designed for storing and transporting medications like insulin.
These wallets will help keep your medication at the right temperature all day long.
Make sure to check the temperature of your insulin before administering it each day.
If you’re travelling abroad or going camping in a particularly hot climate, consider investing in an additional cooler with dry ice as well.
This will help keep your medications even colder for longer periods of time.
Finally, always keep your insulin in a secure and safe place to prevent it from becoming too hot or getting lost.
Elise is an experienced backcountry canoe tripper and winter camper from Ontario, Canada. She loves cooking up a storm over the campfire, taking in all the backcountry views, and enjoying a piña colada or two while relaxing at camp. She’s also certified in Whitewater Rescue (WWR) I & II and Wilderness First Aid (WFA).