Ten things I’ve learned about fitness and nutrition at Cub camp

My daughter is a Cub Scout.

fitness and nutrition at Cup camp

In addition to weekly meetings, monthly hikes and quarterly bottle drives, Cub Scouts also go camping. A lot. And because Cubs are typically between the ages of 8 and 11, the parents of Cub Scouts regularly accompany them to camp.

As both the ‘accompanying parent’ and the volunteer food coordinator for three of this year’s camps, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned about fitness and nutrition at Cub camp.

  1. You don’t need to go to the gym to get a great workout in. Hauling tents and sleeping bags and bin after bin of food is equivalent to a rigorous strength training workout. Hiking uphill in heavy, wet snow burns more calories than an hour of step class; especially if you have to drag a tired, resistant child much of the way. fitness and nutrition at Cub camp
  2. When cooking for a large group in a foreign kitchen, simple foods are best. Providing the un-assembled ingredients for morning oats, lunchtime wraps or dinner pizzas allows everyone to enjoy a healthy, nutritious meal without the cook having to cater to specific dietary needs (or diners to go without because they weren’t sure what type of sauce was used on the chicken or because they simply have a ‘non-adventurous palate’)
  3. Resist the ‘weekends are for splurging’ mindset. Dessert doesn’t need to be served with every meal. Excess sugar and empty calories ultimately put a damper on weekend fun by making us too tired and cranky to enjoy our time with family and friends.
  4. Graze on healthy snacks when meal times are spaced irregularly. At Cub Camps, we set up a ‘grazing table’, laden with fruit, nuts, cheese and cereal bars and have found this practice to greatly reduce pre-dinner melt downs (by children and parents, alike 😉 ).
  5. Choose a room (or set up your tent) as far from the centre of activity as possible. You’ll not only sleep better, but you’ll also have to walk more throughout the day. Note, however, that snorers also tend to frequent the periphery so remember to pack ear plugs.
  6. When food is served buffet style and you didn’t have a hand in it’s preparation, choose raw over cooked. Fill your plate up with salad (go easy on the toppings and dressing if you’re watching your calories or fat intake) and raw vegetables, rather than the cheaper, and nutritionally impoverished white rice, pasta, mashed potatoes and french fries that typically accompany meals prepared for large groups. Your digestion will thank you in the days ahead (if you do indulge, see point #8 below).
  7. Plan an activity that requires big muscle movement between dinner and bedtime. At camp, dinner tends to be the largest meal of the day. Thankfully, a rousing campfire, replete with action songs, skits and cheers is a tradition with Cubs and Scouts. Don’t be that parent who sits in their chair watching the activity. My kids love it when I’m stomping and clapping and dancing with them!
  8. Learn how to operate the coffee machine. Institutional coffee is often weak and watery. On a weekend when your fibre intake is lower than usual, a good strong cup of joe can help kick-start a sluggish bowel and return you to regularity.
  9. Get back to your regular routine ASAP. Because food and fellowship often go hand in hand, it’s unlikely that you’ll make it home without having sampled something sugary, salty, fried or processed (s’mores and brownies are my achilles heel). Ditch the guilt and get back to your routine. Immediately.
  10. Processed food is for the birds. Even seemingly healthy processed snacks can be laden with sugar, fat and salt, not to mention unpronounceable chemicals and preservatives. Take a page from the Cub’s handbook and feed them to the birds!

fitness and nutrition at Cub camp

Do you have a favourite indulgent camp food?

How do you ‘get back on track’ after a weekend of missed workouts and nutritional missteps?

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.


    such the perfect post and one which had peeeeekd its way out from your emails to me too (and conversations 🙂 I am selfish with you that way).

    Miz recently posted…No electronics at the pool!My Profile

  2. LOVE!!!! Course camping is not my thing so… 😉

    All great points & as a snorer … well.. 😉

    You make it so easy!!!! 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted…Gratitude Monday, Memorial Day, Hair, FamilyMy Profile

    • You? A snorer? I would never have guessed Jody. If we ever camp together, I shall remember to bring my industrial strength ear plugs 😉

  3. I make it a point to never camp but I still think a lot of these fitness/nutrition tips could be applied anywhere!!! I especially love the get up and participate – so often the kids are running around and the adults just sitting – Ugh!!!
    Thanks for sharing these!!!
    Kim recently posted…Memorial Day – so much more than just the start of summer!!!My Profile

    • Kim, the ONLY time I go camping is with my daughter to Cub camp. My 45+ year body doesn’t like sleeping on the ground any more and I find cooking over a camp stove painfully slow..

      The action songs are my favourite!

  4. I don’t camp but you made it sound like fun. And a good workout.
    Carli recently posted…Eat to LoseMy Profile

  5. I was a scout from age 7-18. At heart, I am still a scout. They were great days, and very formative. I learned much about exercise and eating during those years without even realizing it. Not the least of which lesson was, food is fuel for long hikes.

    To answer your question: Dutch oven apple cobbler with oats, and cinnamon, cooked over the fire and with coals from the fire!
    Contemplative Fitness recently posted…Music to my nerves…My Profile

    • Yum! That sounds divine! We have made something similar using flour tortillas; wrap the apples, oats and some chocolate pieces in a tortilla; encase in foil and cook in the coals. Very sticky, but yummy!

  6. Such a cute & informative post! Looks like you had fun! I’m always itching to get back into the routine post-weekend indulgences. I always try to remember they’re “worth it” every once in awhile & help me appreciate my mostly clean style of living the other times! Happy Memorial Day 🙂
    Katie @ KatieEnPursuit recently posted…Wine, Eat, Repeat…My Profile

    • Katie, certainly some of the splurges are worth it. But some of them weren’t splurges; just no alternative available at meal times 🙁

  7. Love this post. I recently did a cub scout trip. We actually brought our own food. However if you were the coordinator, I would have thought otherwise. We did a fun dessert. We put a banana, chocolate chips and coconut into tin foil. We cooked it over the fire. The chocolate made it seem like a suitable treat to replace the standard marshmellows but I felt good that the main part was a fruit. It was a big hit with all the scouts!

    • We’ve made something similar at one of our previous camps Stephanie. The kids loved it! Even as food coordinator, I was unable to really change the way our group was fed. There’s a long standing tradition of serving several specific meals (and even guidelines as to the brand and store some items are purchased at!) that I couldn’t really change. I also found it very hard to satisfy everybody; some complained about too many pre-packaged foods, others about sweets, still others about not having enough hot dogs at a bottle drive. I’m not doing it again next year…

  8. Great post!
    Erica @ erica finds recently posted…A Running DilemmaMy Profile

  9. I love camping; I love the memories I have of being volunteer mom on my daughter’s camp trips. And for the workout, kid dragging uphill both ways is good! But in our case, we camped at the ocean – no snow.
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted…Which Running Surfaces Are Best?My Profile

    • Yes! It’s definitely the memories. Certainly not the photos, as I left my phone off and didn’t manage to have my camera when I needed it!

  10. So many great tips! I agree with so many! Sounds like a fun camping trip . . . I haven’t been camping in such a long time, and I miss it. 🙂
    Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted…Friday’s Five: Food Must-Haves When TravelingMy Profile