This post was written a few years ago. But the recipe is a keeper!

I must really love my husband, because he’s finally convinced me to take our two girls camping (when they were both under 3.5 years old).   I really do love camping – being one with nature, technology-free, and cooking over a campfire.

The outdoors is part of my DNA.  I’m just not sold on the idea of tenting it with young kids (especially one who is in the midst of being potty trained).

Nor am I sold on eating “camp food” for 3 days.  

Unless it includes strawberry chia fruit roll-ups (hint, hint).

If we’re not sleeping much (my girls are acrobatic in their sleep) and required to be “on” 24/7 (making sure no one gets lost in the bush), we need fuel from some good-for-me food.  So do our little ones.

Therein lies my challenge.

Pull up any camping menu and you’re bound to find a lot of white and brown foods.  Bread and meat.  Meat and bread.  And maybe some cheese too.

Can’t we have something green, blue, or red to eat?

Dehydrated excalibur healthy fruit leather

Camping is one of those times the 80/20 rule becomes the 60/40 rule.  We will eat nutrient-dense foods 60 percent of the time and nutrient-dense (brown and white) foods for the other 40 percent.

Because you’ve gotta live right?

Just as you can’t have kale chips without kombucha…

You can’t have campfires without marshmallow stuffed smores.

They go hand-in-hand.

So I will relent and relax, and just ‘let’ my family enjoy their 60/40 weekend.  I will enjoy it too, yet it doesn’t mean I’m giving up on nutrition altogether 🙂   I have a few nutrient-dense camping-friendly recipes up my sleeve.  The one I am most excited about takes me back to my childhood days of Half Moons and Flakies.

Remember those sweet and chewy Fruit Roll-Ups?

They are a great idea in principle, and seemed like a healthier treat.  Well, the ingredients suggest otherwise.  Corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, artificial colouring…but why?!

Fruit_Roll_Ups_Variety_Pack

I don’t get it.   Why the LONG list of unnecessary ingredients?  Isn’t fruit in itself perfectly sweet and satisfying?  I thought I shouldn’t judge until I try it, so I put my Excalibur dehydrator to the test and made my first batch of fruit leather – strawberry chia fruit roll-ups were on the menu!

Of course, I couldn’t resist tossing in some chia seeds.  Working with picky eaters, I’m always looking for ways to up the ante and pack in more nutrition per bite.  I also wanted some fiber, fat and protein to help balance my little one’s blood sugars.

dehydrated fruit leather

Strawberry Chia Fruit Roll-Ups

Strawberry Chia Fruit Roll-Ups

Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh delicious strawberries (hulled) ideally local and organic
  • 1/2 cup dates depending on your sweetness preference add more
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth
  2. If using a dehydrator, spread thinly and evenly on paraflex sheets (about the thickness of a stack of 10 pieces of paper). Make sure edges are the same thickness as the middle, or they will get crispy).
  3. Place in the dehydrator at 105 degrees for approx. 12 hours (varies depending on machine, thickness, etc.)

Recipe Notes

  • Blend all ingredients and spread on parchment paper or silicon baking sheets (make sure edges are same thickness as middle).
  • Preheat oven to lowest temperature setting (170 degrees on most ovens)
  • "Bake" until middle is no longer soft/mushy (approx. 3-4 hours)

Then you can slice into strips with parchment paper attached (if using), roll up and store in an air-tight container.   They should last in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for 3 months.

  1. Remove when it looks like this…

strawberry chia fruit roll-ups

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven:

  1. Blend all ingredients and spread on parchment paper or silicon baking sheets (make sure edges are same thickness as middle)
  2. Preheat oven to lowest temperature setting (170 degrees on most ovens)
  3. “Bake” until middle is no longer soft/mushy (approx. 3-4 hours)

Then you can slice into strips with parchment paper attached (if using), roll up and store in an air-tight container.   They should last in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for 3 months.

These are my guinea pigs.  Safe to say these will be coming with us camping (the kids and the roll-ups).

strawberry chia fruit roll-ups