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Submitted by: Cherie Rasmussen
Camping in the winter is a beautiful experience and a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors. What s more, it need not be restricted to the seasoned hiker or camper alone. Anyone can do a spot of winter camping with the right gear and appropriate supplies.
The one thing that distinguishes winter camping from the summer experience is that campers require almost twice as many calories as in the summer. Even the chore of maintaining body temperature while you sleep in the outdoors takes more calories. When picking food for the camping, you will need to choose food that is rich in fats and carbohydrates.
While packing food that is high in fats and carbohydrates, remember that some of these foods freeze easily. Peanut butter, for this reason, is best avoided. Cheese freezes too, but it can be melted into the food you are cooking. Other food like pepperoni, salami, and different types of sausages can be eaten even if they are frozen.
Also, pick foods that need minimum preparation at the campsite. You will need more stove fuel in the winter, and you ll be wearing gloves as well, so food that needs cutting and slicing is best left out. Look for frozen foods that are already sealed in a bag and need only to be put on a pan of boiling water. Carry plenty of soup packets as well. These are easy to prepare, and keep you warm and hydrated too.
Keep foods that can be cooked in a cup for breakfast. Options include instant oatmeal with hot milk and margarine, hot Tang, Granola with hot milk, or hot chocolate with extra milk and margarine. It is important to have enough sugar to start you off on your day s activities and enough fats and proteins to keep you going.
Stock up on a variety of snacks energy bars, health-food bars, cereal bars, chocolate, and nuts. Eat these when you are cold, tired, or just plain hungry. Bring along thermos bottles so that you have hot water at hand for quick coffee or hot chocolate. Nothing cheers you up quite as well as a hot drink before you turn in for the night.
Water is critical at a campsite, whatever the season might be. If you have a safe source of drinking water, that s great. Otherwise, you ll have to melt snow for drinking water. Use ice or ice crust rather than loose snow. Fluids are very important in winter camping and a drink of even cold water can hydrate you quickly in the outdoors.
For every meat on the menu, there s a slimmer, healthier choice. Take sirloin or extra-lean beef instead of regular beef. If it s a steak you re eating, go for the lean cut. Avoid Polish sausage links, hot links, smoked sausages or bratwursts and go for the reduced-fat sausage link instead. Grilled, skinless chicken breast or thigh is preferable to the breaded or fried chicken patty or even a grilled chicken thigh with the skin on.
So eat and drink right to enjoy the wonders and joys of winter camping, and you will live to cherish the experience.
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