You’re low carb and love the outdoors. You dream of a nature get-away, minus the extra sugar. Ditch the processed pepperoni chips and string-o-cheese logs because you have much better options:
- 18 Low Carb Meals that Grill in Foil
- Low Carb Grilling with Skewers and DIY Ovens
- Low Carb Camping Food Prep Tips
Eating low carb outdoors hassle-free involves two basic things. First, find fire-ready low carb camping recipes that are big on flavor, then avoid the fussy mess.
When camping or cooking out, you have several grilling options. The easiest options are skewers, foil packages, do-it-yourself brick ovens and slow cookers.
Grilling Low Carb on Skewers
Skewer, then marinade pieces of meat with your favorite low carb veggiesovernight. Store in plastic bags or containers until ready to grill. The skewers will absorb the marinade and remain moist while grilling so you won’t accidentally set them on fire.
Freezing the uncooked skewers is also an option, but works best with firmer veggies such as peppers and sliced mushrooms.
Low carb grilling with bacon? Of course – if you skewer it! To conserve space, smash the bacon tight and add a second strip. Drizzle with dark chocolate for a low carb ‘S’more.’
Nesting Low Carb Food Inside Other Food
Low carb camping should include colorful, novel meals that are also easily prepared. If possible, it should also include bacon. Wrap eggplant slices around herbed Ricotta. Stuff Peppers with peppers and cheese.
Bacon tightly wrapped around asparagus stays in place on the grill.
Cook eggs in empty orange peels over the fire, then eat straight from nature’s container. Flavor mini Oopsie Rolls (less than 1 net carb per roll!) with blueberries and grill inside the orange peel. It will stay moist and have a roasted orange flavor.
Crack eggs inside large onion slices or avocado halves. Place on a greased pan or heavy foil.
Hollow-out and stuff sweet onions with meats and cheeses. Wrap in foil and place into the fire.
Fill onion halves with meatloaf or ground sausage. Place the halves back together, wrap in foil and grill. Tops-on stuffed peppers may be grilled without wrapping.
Wrap everything in bacon: burgers, chicken… everything.
‘Bacon breading’ for onion slices, like these Smoked Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings recipe from Grilling24x7, are loaded with crunch and pair well with spicy mayo dipping sauces.
Pound thin strips of meat and wrap around chopped marinated veggies.
Grill tomato halves and use as buns. Add sliced jalapeno to ordinary hot dogs or sausages.
Grilling in Foil Packets
Low carb grilling is fast and easy with foil packets. Meats and veggies stay moist, and flavors are locked in. Experiment with full-meal packets, side dishes or raw veggies with spices.
Meals in foil packets may be made ahead of time, and kept cool or frozen until ready to cook. After grilling, simply open the top of the packet and eat. Clean up is a crumple away.
How to make a foil packet:
- Use a piece of heavy-duty foil (or 2 layers of regular foil).
- Place ingredients in the center of the foil.
- Bring the short ends of the foil together and fold twice to seal.
- Fold in the outer edges to seal, leaving room for steam.
- Grill on a metal rack or directly on the coals by the fire’s edge.
Fire Roasted Garlic Heads
Imagine the melodic smell of fresh garlic roasting over your campfire…
Drizzle olive oil over whole garlic heads with tops removed. Sprinkle with sea salt and ground black peppercorns. Wrap tightly in foil and place around the edges of the campfire.
Variations: Whole cauliflower heads with curry or spaghetti squash halves with onion slices.
These meals are wrapped in neat foil packets that cook perfectly on any grill or at any campsite.
These low carb camping recipes are easy to make and change. Add full-fat meats (cooked or raw) and a few extra tablespoons of butter or healthy oil to up the fat.
Each recipe serves 2-4.
Cilantro Jerk Chicken
Place 6 split chicken wings, 2 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons jerk seasoning on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over high heat, turning once, 25 minutes. Top with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
Spicy Garlic Olives
Place 1 cup olives, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and 1 minced garlic clove on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, turning often, 15 minutes.
Cilantro Chicken Quesadillas
Sprinkle shredded pepper jack cheese on one half of a low carb tortilla; top with chopped rotisserie chicken and cilantro and fold in half to close. Repeat to make more; seal in personal foil packets. Grill over medium heat, turning once, 5 minutes.
Combine 1 1/4 cups chicken (or beef) broth, 6 peeled large shrimp (optional), 2 skinless chicken thighs (or 8 oz beef, cut into strips), 4 ounces sliced dried chorizo, 1/4 cup each pimiento-stuffed olives and roasted pepper strips, and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika in a disposable pie pan. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with pepper. Seal the pan in foil. Grill over medium-high heat, 30 minutes.
Coconut Pull-Apart Chicken
Place 1 pound chicken (cut into strips), 2 each chopped lemongrass stalks and scallions, 1/4 cup coconut milk (or heavy cream), 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut and the juice of 1 lime. Divide between 2 foil packets. Grill over medium heat, 10 minutes. Top with chopped cilantro.
Spiced Roasted Nuts
Place 2 cups salted mixed nuts, 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder, 1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin and pepper, and 1 tablespoon butter on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium heat, turning often, 8 minutes.
Garlic Ground Beef
Mix 1/2 stick softened butter, 1 cup chopped parsley, 2 chopped garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. Toss with the juice of 1 lemon, 1 pound ground beef (cooked or raw) and a big pinch of red pepper flakes. Divide between 2 foil packets. Grill over high heat, 8 minutes.
Lemon Chicken with Herbs
Place 4 chicken breasts, 1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs and 3 tablespoons each olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Divide among 4 foil packets. Grill over medium-high heat, 12 minutes.
Garlic Chicken, Tomatoes and Zucchini
Place 2 chicken breasts (diced), 2 sliced zucchini, 2 diced tomatoes, 4 smashed garlic cloves, olive oil, basil, and salt and pepper on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over high heat, 10 minutes. Top with grated parmesan.
Spicy Roasted Broccoli
Place 1 head broccoli florets, 2 sliced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and salt on a sheet of foil. Arrange in a single layer and form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 10 minutes.
Remove the stems from 8 jalapenos; scrape out the seeds and stuff with Muenster cheese. Toss with olive oil, salt and 1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, turning often, 10 minutes.
Hot Lime Scallions
Put 2 bunches scallions, olive oil and a pinch of cayenne on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, turning a few times, 15 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.
Sweet Pepper Chorizo
Place 1/2 cup sliced dried chorizo, 2 sliced bell peppers, 1 sliced onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over high heat, turning a few times, 10 minutes.
For each serving, layer a few lemon slices, 1 tilapia fillet stuffed with veggies and cream cheese, and a few dill sprigs on a sheet of foil. Add a pat of butter. Sprinkle with salt and ground coriander. Spread whole grain mustard on top. Form a packet. Grill over medium heat, 12 minutes.
Tangy Baby Beets
Place 1 pound halved baby beets with olive oil, sea salt and crushed black peppercorns on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium heat, 30 minutes. Toss with vinegar, mint and feta.
Paprika Shishito Peppers
Place 1/2 pound Shishito or Padrón peppers, a drizzle of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon paprika on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 7 minutes. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Peppery Portobello Mushroom Chop
Chop 4 Portobello caps, 4 smashed garlic cloves, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, salt and chopped parsley to taste. Divide among 4 foil packets. Grill over medium heat, turning once, 10 minutes.
Plums and Onions
Place 3 quartered plums, 1 sliced red onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, thyme sprigs, salt and pepper on a sheet of foil.
Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 12 minutes.
Low Carb Camping Prep Tips
Weather, wildlife and the natural world aren’t predictable, but a well-planned low carb camping trip can be.
Food Prep Tricks
- Wash, cut and pre-pack fruits and veggies in ziplock bags or store in hard-sided containers between paper towels.
- Pack produce that lasts and doesn’t bruise easily, such as peppers, mushrooms, squash, zucchini and celery.
- Fresh eggs are a good source of protein and require minimal cooling.
- Cheese, cold cuts, hummus, cooked burgers and chicken stored in a cooler should be eaten within a few days. Freezing them beforehand will extend their life an extra day or two.
Eating low carb outdoors often means no electricity. Ice chests are a must, so use a few tricks to extend their cooling power.
- Freeze drinks, liquids and foods several days before your trip. (Meats and most cheeses can be frozen.) They’ll become ‘extra ice packs’ in your cooler.
- Large chunks of ice keep food cold longer than small cubes.
- Plan your meals so you can pack the foods that you’ll eat first near the top of the cooler.
- Pack a few small coolers: one with meals, the other with frequently used items. This will minimize opening the cooler with the more perishable items inside.
- Each person needs a minimum of two filled, 32-ounce water bottles per day. When frozen they make excellent ice packs, taking days to thaw depending on size.
Hot Hacks for Cooking Low Carb Outdoors
Make your low carb camping trip special with a few hot hacks.
Create personal ‘campfires’ using foil-lined flowerpots and charcoal. Add a few mesquite or cedar chips for flavor. Add sprigs of sage to repel mosquitoes.
Go Dutch, Slowly
Slow cook leftover grilled meats and veggies in a low carb Atkins Beef Stew using a Dutch Oven. Dutch ovens perform well on top of a grill, suspended over a fire or placed directly in the campfire coals. Get started with a Guide to Dutch Oven Cooking.
Build a Brick Rocket Stove for $10
You can even build your own rocket stove for less than $10 using common bricks and metal mesh. This oven is simple to put together and easy to light.
The rocket stove boils water in 5-6 minutes in 30 degree F temperatures, and you can even control the heat.
Best Excuses to Go Camping
Who needs excuses to go camping? Here are six solid ones anyway. Grasp the great outdoors without feeling guilty for taking time off orblowing your diet.
1. Reset Your Biological Clock
Camping resets your natural sleeping rhythm be allowing you to synchronize your internal clock with the light-dark cycle. You’ll feel well-rested even after a long day of hiking and exploring!
2. Outdoor Activities Strengthen Bonds
Camping brings people together, communicating and reconnecting with each other. We explore, laugh and learn new things. We build great memories of hiking a mountain trail, or eating delicious low carb food while sitting around the campfire.
3. Camping Sharpens Your Mind
Camping trains the brain to solve complex problems. We use our cognitive thinking skills for new tasks: setting up camp, dinner and building a camp-fire.
4. Camping Trips Include Exercise
Hauling your gear, gathering wood for a campfire, setting up a tent, hiking, fishing and exploring gets you on your feet and exercising.
5. The Sun Increases Vitamin D
Sunlight spurs your body to make vitamin D. Even a small amount of sun exposure does the trick, about 20 to 25 minutes. Many low carb recipes for camping include ingredients that naturally increase your vitamin D: canned tuna, mushrooms, cheese and eggs.
6. Being Outdoors Makes You Happier
Camping increases your serotonin – the brain chemical that makes us feel happy. How? Increased oxygen intake, sunlight exposure and physical activity boost Serotonin naturally.
Camping ultimately means getting out and enjoying nature, making new memories and becoming healthier.
Add a little thrill to your grill AND serve delicious low carb recipes everyone will enjoy.
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