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Tips on Gluten Free Camping Meals
by Stephanie Trementozzi

You love camping, but you just found that you are allergic to gluten. Don't worry! It's not that hard to convert your favorite camping meals to a gluten free version.

gluten free campingGluten is a protein in wheat, rye, barley, bulgur, semolina, couscous, triticale, durum flour and oats and any foods that are made from these grains. It is the cause of the elastic quality of dough. Some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance are severe intestinal distress, fatigue and muscle weakness. There are many others, but these are the most common ones.

Gluten can be found in many products. Be on the lookout for hidden gluten in additives, artificial flavorings and anything made from soy, i.e., jerky, teriyaki, soy sauce or "fake" meat" (hydrolyzed vegetable protein). Avoid canned soups and gravies and bottled salad dressings. Watch out for veined cheeses and textured vegetable protein. You are going to be doing a lot of label reading.

So how do you deal with meals when you are camping. You must decide if you are going to prepare your meals separately or prepare meals together with your camping companions. If you work together in preparing the meals, it is a good opportunity to educate your friends about gluten free cooking.

There are many natural gluten free ingredients that you can build your meals around. Here are some examples of gluten free items.

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Chicken and beef
  • Fish--Salmon is a great favorite, but avoid farm raised salmon. They are often fed with a wheat based food. Wild caught salmon is okay.
  • Beans
  • Rice and quinoa
  • Corn tortillas

An easy breakfast recipe would be a corn tortilla with refried beans and/or scrambled eggs.

Lunch can be any gluten free snack, trail mix or gluten free crackers and cheese. Gluten free crackers, snack bars and brownie and cake mixes can now be found on your supermarket shelves. It used to be that you had to go to specialty stores, but now they are readily available.

Dinner is not difficult either. One recipe that I love is Taco Salad.

Taco Salad

Doritos toasted corn tortilla chips. Be careful about the corn chips. The toasted corn chips are gluten free, but most of the flavored varieties are not.
Chili - canned or make your own
Lettuce, tomatoes
Sour cream
Grated 4 Mexican cheese

Heat your chili on your Coleman portable grill or on your campfire. Crush the Doritos on your plate and pour the hot chili on top. Add a handful of grated cheese, some lettuce, chopped tomatoes and salsa.

Enjoy! This is a recipe that I make at home as well as when I am camping.

Another recipe that I enjoy is Enchilada Bake. I make this at home in my oven, but it can easily be adapted to camping with a Dutch oven.

Enchilada Bake

Corn tortillas
Enchilada sauce
Black beans
Grated cheese- I like the 4 cheese Mexican style, but mild cheddar will do.
Sour cream
Chopped black olives
Chopped fresh cilantro

You are going to layer this dish like you would a lasagna. Put a little enchilada sauce in the bottom of the Dutch oven to keep the corn tortillas from sticking. Add corn tortillas to cover the bottom. You may have to cut them to fit. Next sprinkle on black beans. Be sure to rinse them first to take out extra sodium that you don't need. Then add a handful of grated cheese. Spread the sour cream over this mixture. Add the black olives and cilantro. Repeat this order until you run out of ingredients. Always finish with corn tortillas and enchilada sauce. As well as being gluten free, this is a delicious vegetarian dish.

I think you will find that with very little difficulty, you will be able to adapt your favorite camping recipes to gluten free versions. Don't let gluten allergies rob you of the joy of camping!

Stephanie Trementozzi is the publisher of Always-Outdoors. She has enjoyed camping all of her life and is now learning to cook gluten free for her new son in law. She writes about outdoor activities and reviews products like the Coleman large family tent and Nikon Monarch binoculars, which are great for birding and observing wildlife in general.

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