You can find an incredibly rich set of resources here that includes articles, curriculum materials, videos, Blogs from industry experts, online discussion forums, Job Postings, Training Listings, the most detailed listing of outdoor adventure providers on the Web and more! Thanks for being a part of the Outdoor Ed Community
Outdoor Ed Store
Outdoor Ed Community
The Recreation Law Center
The Outdoor Ed Community is the online Social Networking site for outdoor professionals where you can interact colleagues and peers from around the world.
Outdoor Ed offers the best source for outdoor professionals to find careers and for employers to find great staff. We also host the largest online directory of companies and schools offering outdoor and experiential education programs and degrees. You can search for specific jobs, companies or schools.
From Wilderness First Aid courses to rock climbing certifications, this is your source for finding professional training.
The Outdoor Ed Community is where you can interact with other outdoor professionals.
This is a fully-editable chapter of the Outdoor Ed Online Outdoor Program Manual. We encourage you to add your own material to this online resource. The base material comes from the Food & Menu Planning chapter from the Princeton University Outdoor Action Program Leader's Manual for our annual outdoor orientation program.You can download the Word version of the original chapter for your own program's use. (Please note the Creative Commons License requirements).
This menu is based on group sizes of 10-12. You'll note that groups over ten are given extra food items.
Food items marked with the symbol are part of Outdoor Action’s sustainability initiative through being locally produced or purchased in bulk to reduce packaging. Currently due to the large size of our program (each year about 800 students) we have purchased food items in retail sizes due to limited staff to purchase in bulk for sustainability purchases we are moving to bulk food purchasing and repackaging to cut down on waste and decrease cost.
Special notes about food boxes:
If your group is listed below, you have more than 10 total people in your group. To be sure you have enough food for your large group, you should receive two additional food boxes: Food Box D on Thursday (with additional non-perishable food) and Food Box F on Saturday (with additional perishable food).
The following breakfast items are to be spread out across 5 breakfasts on the trail. Pace your group accordingly!
The following lunch items are to be spread out across 5 lunches on trail. You probably also want some food for the bus ride back, since most groups don’t get back to Princeton until well into Friday evening. Pace your group accordingly!
1) Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese
3) Pita Pizza
5) Vegetarian Chili
Note that a tablespoon is one heaping spoonful. If no one on your trip has a measuring cup (it doubles great as a hot chocolate mug!), you can use the measurement lines on a Nalgene.
Measurement conversion chart:
Use approximately 6 quarts of water per 1 lb of pasta. Add salt to the water, and bring it to a boil. Add the pasta. STIR CONSTANTLY or you’ll be sorry! Mac ‘n’ cheese noodles easily burn to the bottom of the pot, and burnt mac ‘n’ cheese tastes terrible. Drain the water, but leave enough in to make the cheese sauce. Use about 2 oz. of cheese sauce for every 6 oz. of pasta. It’s easier to add water back in then have runny cheese sauce, so you might want to drain the water into someone’s bowl, and then add it back in gradually until you get the right consistency. Chop onion and sauté with green chilies in frying pan with olive oil; add to mac ‘n’ cheese.
Boil 1 cup water, and then stir in dehydrated refried beans in small pot. On a separate stove, make the minute rice. Use 1 cup of water for every 1 cup of rice. Boil water and stir in rice. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes or until water is absorbed Drain pouch chicken; cut peppers and onions into strips. Sauté half of the chicken, onions, and peppers in very hot frying pan with Parkay or olive oil. Store the finished mixture in a covered pot to keep warm while you heat the first round of tortillas: fry two tortillas at a time in a small amount of Parkay. Fill tortillas with chicken, veggies, rice, and refried beans, and cover with salsa. As the first group is eating, do a second round of sautéing chicken, onions, and peppers and then frying tortillas in Parkay.
Chop green peppers, onions, and cheese. Slice pepperoni stick. If desired, sauté the peppers and onions first in the frying pan and set aside in a covered pot. Make a big pocket in a pita by cutting almost all the way around the outside of the circle. On one side of the inside of the pita, spread pizza sauce and top with green peppers, onions, cheese, and pepperoni as desired. Don’t overstuff the pita or you won’t be able to flip it properly; its guts will fall out, burn, and make a mess. Butter the frying pan well, or the pizzas will stick horribly. “Shut” the pita and place in the pan. Move it around in the pan with your spatula so that it doesn’t have a chance to burn, and flip it when one side is lightly brown. Be careful because pita pizzas burn easily. Note: This is a time consuming meal since you can only cook one pizza at a time. Plan this for a night when you roll into camp early.
Dice cheese into small cubes. Combine 1¼ cups of water (per box of couscous) with 2 teaspoons olive oil (per box) and the contents of the spice pouches. Bring to a boil; stir in the couscous once boiling. Cover and remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in corn, cheese, chicken, and Cholula if desired. Consider adding finely chopped dried apricots as well for a touch of sweetness.
Boil 2 ½ cups of water for every 1/3 cup of chili. Stir in veggie chili mix once boiling. Be careful not to add too much water or you will have chili soup! STIR CONTINUOUSLY as cooking or the chili will burn to the bottom. Add diced tomatoes and kidney beans. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Chop onion and green pepper; sauté separately if desired. On a separate stove, make the minute rice (cooking directions can be found under fajitas). Serve chili over rice, covering with cheese and Cholula.
To make crust: Clean the frying pan thoroughly or your dessert will taste like pita pizza! Stir crust mix, 2 tablespoons sugar, 6 tablespoons Parkay and 1 tablespoon water with fork in frying pan until thoroughly mixed and crumbs are well moistened. With the back of a spoon, press crumbs firmly and evenly against bottom of the frying pan and up on the sides as high as they will.
To make filling: Pour 1½ cups (12 oz.) cold milk into pot (mix powdered milk and the coldest purified water you have according to the powdered milk directions). Add filling mix. Whip vigorously with fork for 3 minutes. Spoon into crust. “Refrigerate” for 1 hour—i.e., find a cool spot in the shade to let the pie sit. You can also place the pan in a shallow stream; just be very careful not to get any river water in it.
All dinners can be made vegetarian or vegan by cooking the veggie/vegan-friendly stuff first and having people add meat/cheese individually to their own bowls. Each dinner recipe above includes instructions on how to make the meal vegetarian/vegan friendly. Talk to any vegetarian or vegan frosh one-on-one about what they do and do not eat, and what they are comfortable with in terms of food preparation. For example, strictly vegan frosh may be uncomfortable about eating out of pans or bowls that recently cooked meat and then were not thoroughly cleaned.
Many trips have vegetarians on them, and no supplemental food is needed for vegetarians. Because vegans do not eat any animal products—this means no cheese, a substantial calorie source on Frosh Trip—trips with vegans get 2 extra boxes of refried beans and 3 extra boxes of hummus as a caloric replacement. These should be used by the vegans alone to supplement lunches and dinners.
Some foods on Frosh Trip are sneakily not vegan, usually due to an ingredient such as whey, gelatin, or honey, all of which are animal products. Don’t assume that an item is vegan just because it doesn’t obviously have meat, milk, or eggs in it. Stoned Wheat Thins crackers, Fig Newtons, and most Chewy Granola bars are NOT vegan (Chocolate Chip Chewy bars are the only ones that are vegan). Although M&M’s are clearly not vegan (due to milk products in the chocolate), vegans can still eat GORP—picking the M&M’s out and giving them to some lucky group member!—because the candy coating keeps the chocolate from contaminating the raisins and peanuts. Occasionally, the flavor of couscous we buy has cheese in the seasoning packet, so inspect the ingredients to be sure.
Make sure any treats you buy for Support to bring to your group are vegetarian/vegan! Beware: gelatin, contained in many candies (like Starbursts), is not vegetarian or vegan because it contains collagen from animals’ connective tissues. Also, chocolates, cakes, etc. are vegetarian but not vegan because they contain milk (may be listed as “whey” in ingredients) and/or eggs.
Leading a kosher/halal trip is easy and delicious if you prepare your equipment and yourself ahead of time.
First of all, what exactly is does it mean to keep kosher? “Kosher” describes food selection and preparation in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. Briefly, (1) pork isn’t kosher and (2) meat and dairy must be kept and eaten separately. This means two separate sets of dishes and utensils are required for meat and dairy. Food that doesn’t fall under the heading of meat or dairy is considered pareve, or neutral. Fish with scales are pareve, so you’re going to be eating a lot of tuna. Many frosh who keep kosher also observe the Sabbath, so kosher trips are typically in areas close to Princeton (like the Gap) so that your trip will get back by sundown on Friday.
If a Muslim participant who keeps halal is placed on your “kosher” trip, the guidelines for an Outdoor Action trip are identical, though Islamic dietary laws differ from Jewish dietary laws. Be sensitive to your halal frosh! For example, don’t refer to the trip as a “kosher” trip, since it is really a kosher/halal trip.
On a kosher/halal OA trip, typically only 2-3 of your frosh will actually keep kosher/halal. However, to avoid isolating kosher/halal frosh, all of the provided food will be certified kosher. You can reassure your kosher/halal frosh by allowing them to inspect the original packaging for kosher labeling. In addition, your trip will be vegetarian (plus tuna) to avoid mixing meat and dairy—all of the pots, pans, dishes, and utensils used to prepare group food must be exclusively reserved for dairy and pareve foods. You will get new pots, pans, spatula, spoon, knives, and Gladware to avoid issues of contamination. That means if your personal pocketknife has ever been used to cut meat, leave it in your pack at meal times. If your bowl has ever held non-kosher food, don’t use it for serving or chopping group food. If your participants are especially strict, you also might have to double or triple bag all foods, since your pack could be considered a contaminated container.
What precautions you have to take all depends on the comfort level of your kosher/halal frosh, so talk to them and find out! Talk to each of your kosher/halal frosh individually in a non-threatening way to figure out how permissive they are when it comes to keeping kosher/halal. Before the trip, you need to determine if your group can eat out Saturday night (after sundown, to prevent a conflict with Shabbat). Ask if your kosher/halal frosh are comfortable eating at a local restaurant. No restaurants in walking distance of Princeton are kosher, but vegetarian options are available at almost all of them, and salads served in take-out containers are relatively safe. If you have a car, there is kosher food available in the food courts at McCaffrey’s, Wegman’s, and ShopRite (Lawrenceville).
Let your frosh supervise all food preparation, and make sure to wash everything thoroughly before and after, including your hands. For the trip, ask questions like: “Do you mind if we use a non-kosher pocketknife to cut the cheese” Different sects of Judaism observe different dietary laws, so your kosher/halal participants may have conflicting ideas about what it means to keep kosher/halal. Use your leader radar to prevent conflicts between kosher/halal participants, as well as between kosher/halal and non-kosher/halal participants. Never, ever suggest your trip is missing out on “traditional” OA food because it is a kosher/halal trip! Keep a positive, upbeat attitude about it, no matter how much your mouth waters for that meat stick.
Review the food pack list for kosher/halal trips above to see the items that are different: which standard items are omitted and which new ones are included. Since kosher/halal trips do not have chicken or pepperoni, extra tuna, refried beans, and hummus are provided as a caloric replacement. All the food on your kosher/halal OA trip is kosher, as are your pots, frying pan, spoon, and spatula. So the only thing you have to worry about is using non-kosher utensils and dishes to prepare and serve group food—any personal utensils and dishes that are not brand-new are automatically NOT kosher. Shake food out of pouches (powdered milk, tuna, etc.) directly into personal bowls whenever possible to avoid the issue entirely. Again, this is a matter of talking to your frosh to see what they are comfortable with.
Vegetarian chili is NOT kosher. To replace this meal, you have the ingredients for the ingredients for a classic OA dinner, a Thai peanut noodle dish called gado-gado. Without veggie chili, you have one extra green pepper to use in fajitas or any other meal. The recipe for gado-gado is provided below:
Dice the onion. According to directions on box, boil water in large pot and cook pasta. Don’t just dump the pasta water on the ground; that is bad LNT. Dig a sump hole or save the water for carbo-loaded hot chocolate after dinner. While the pasta is cooking, on a separate stove sauté the diced onions in Parkay in the frying pan. Add the soy sauce and sprinkle sesame seeds liberally; allow the mixture to cook for a little while. Then add 250 mL (~1 cup) of purified water and the brown sugar; cook until the sugar dissolves. Finally, add the peanut butter and stir until sauce is uniform. The longer you cook the sauce, the thinner it will get, so take the pan off the heat when you reach your desired sauce consistency. Pour the sauce over the pasta and enjoy!
You also need to determine if your kosher/halal participants have ever eaten shellfish, which isn’t kosher, since they may be allergic to iodine without knowing it. If they’ve never had shellfish, you’ll need to take along a water filter and leave the iodine at home.
Make sure any treats you buy for Support to bring to your group are kosher/halal! Kosher products are typically are labeled with a U symbol or a K symbol inside a circle or the word Pareve.
On a nut-free OA trip, typically only 3-4 of your frosh will actually be allergic to peanuts and/or tree nuts. However, to avoid isolating nut-free frosh, all of the provided food will be nut-free. We’ve worked really hard to find delicious nut-free alternatives to standard OA food that is not safe for people with nut allergies. (Just wait till you taste the delicious trail mix we put together with Kashi, chocolate chips, banana chips, dried pineapple, sunflower seeds, and raisins!). You can reassure your nut-allergic frosh by allowing them to inspect the ingredients list on the original packaging. Review the food pack list for nut-free trips above to see the items that are different: which standard items are omitted and which new ones are included. One major difference you’ll notice in your food boxes is that instead of 3 7-lb. Ziplocs of GORP, you have 21 1-lb bags of nut-free trail mix. After your nut-free frosh have had a chance to inspect the packaging, and you have thoroughly washed your hands, you should repackage this into double-layer gallon-size Ziploc bags to consolidate the packaging.
It’s important to talk to your nut-allergic frosh one-on-one in a non-threatening way to determine how severe their allergy is. You want to be prepared in case of an anaphylactic emergency. Questions to ask: What happens when you have an allergic reaction? What is the most severe reaction you’ve ever had? Do you carry an EpiPen or other medication? Have you ever been hospitalized for anaphylaxis? All nut-free trips are in areas with easy access to hospitals. You will also receive extra EpiPens if you are leading a nut-free trip. If a frosh has an especially severe nut allergy, they may be shuttled by Support from Princeton to the trailhead since we cannot guarantee a nut-free environment on a bus. Keep your leader radar on to the isolating effect this may have on a nut-allergic frosh at the very beginning of their Frosh Trip. Never, ever suggest your trip is missing out on “traditional” OA food because it is nut-free.
Since all food on a nut-free OA trip is free of peanuts and tree nuts, you only have to worry about cross-contamination from personal utensils and dishes. All personal utensils and dishes that have ever held a nut product should be washed with hot water and soap on Saturday before the trip. Also, do not accept any food from others on trail because you cannot guarantee that it is peanut-free.
Make sure any treats you buy for Support to bring to your group are nut-free! Beware: just because a snack itself does not contain nuts does not mean it is safe. Inspect the ingredients list on the packaging to make sure it doesn’t say “Manufactured on equipment that also processes peanuts” or something similar. Many chocolate candies are not nut-free for this reason.
Participants with particularly restrictive dietary needs (such as gluten allergies) are contacted over the summer so that the menu for Frosh Trip can be reviewed with them in advance and plans made accordingly. In many cases, these students will be carrying separate food for themselves, generally equivalent food items that can replace those carried on frosh trip (e.g., corn tortillas instead of flour ones). They are often provided with a small “Pocket Rocket” camp stove and instructed to prepare their own warm meals when group food is not appropriate. Keep your leader radar on for the isolating effects of a frosh having to prepare their own dinner. For any frosh with special dietary needs, leaders should review medical forms one-on-one and discuss what needs to happen on the trip to keep the frosh safe and comfortable. If frosh need to bring their own food, leaders should review food items to make sure they are suitable for backpacking and that participants will be well-nourished the entire trip.
Excellent research and advice especially when it comes to taking kosher/halal/nut-free food choices on the trail. Thanks.
Connect & Share