Healthy Choices: How to Stay Healthy in Hunting Camp

Two hunters cooking at camp

Some of the best meals I’ve ever had were at hunting camp.  Whether we have the luxury of a full kitchen or are working directly over a hot campfire, or camp stove, there’s something special about the aroma of a good meal after a long day in the field.  Indulging in a hearty second helping may be permissible on a weekend hunt, but my calendar calls for a little more self-control. My work schedule entails being on the road filming and hunting for 200+ days of the year, which requires finding ways to stay fit and healthy in a world where diet can be the last thing on our mind.

Fight Temptations at Hunting Camp to Eat Anything

Often I’m the only girl in camp or on the road. So, I don’t like to make a lot of special requests when the guys are deciding what we’ll have for dinner. This means that I have to plan ahead and make healthy decisions.  Social media is a great tool for my meal planning. I follow healthy accounts on Instagram, and I take their advice on how to plan meals around my busy lifestyle. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up:

  •  I pre-pack my food in Tupperware containers and when we stop along the way, I resist the urge to have a greasy burger.
  • I take a cooler with containers of hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken, and sometimes pre-baked sweet potatoes.
  • I carry small Ziplock bags of almonds and healthy snacks, and I slice a cucumber to add to my water.

All of these things work for me because they are items I enjoy eating.  It’s important to find healthy options that you enjoy; otherwise it will be tempting to deviate from your diet. 

That's Right, Snacks are Encouraged at Camp

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “eat six small meals a day.” This doesn’t always work with my schedule, but I do try to snack throughout the day. My go-to snacks are:

  • Laura and Cliff Bars.
  • Small bags of raw almonds – great source of protein to keep you feeling full.
  • A can of shredded chicken and barbeque sauce to mix in (Just don’t forget the can opener!)

While everyone is glassing, resting, or chatting, I’m usually noshing on some protein to keep my energy level up. I’ve also leaned to pack a little extra so I can share. There’s nothing worse than grumpy hunters because they all forgot to pack some food.

We move around so much during a typical day in the field that calories are burned quickly. For high altitude or hiking-heavy hunts, I make sure to pack additional calorie-rich snacks. On trips that require sitting still all day, like whitetail hunts, I pack light snacks that will keep me from getting so hungry that I’ll settle for anything later. Besides, no one wants a growling stomach when that bruiser buck finally steps into view.

Go Ahead, Have a Beer

Anyone who has spent time with me in hunting camp will know that I enjoy having a drink now and then. If I were trying to lose weight, the alcohol would be the first thing to go from my diet. The added calories are completely unnecessary for your body, and it basically turns to sugar in your system as soon as you drink it. However, in moderation it’s possible to enjoy a libation now and then and keep your health in check. My personal strategy is to trade something for my drink. If I want a glass of wine, then I’ll forgo the carbohydrates at dinner (potatoes, bread, rice), and I’ll have wine instead.

Following a healthy lifestyle is crucial to longevity in life and success in the field. If you have comments or advice of your own please feel free to share it with us in the comments. Follow me on Instagram @julesmcqueen for daily updates and to see if I’m following my own advice!