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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Alfresco Dining Tips from 'Outdoorsy Diva' Lauren Gay


The Valrico-based travel influencer shares her adventures, from hiking and horseback riding to kayaking and swimming with manatees.

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Fall is on the horizon. Whether you’re a Floridian anticipating a break in the humidity or a Northerner seeking to squeeze in one last outdoor adventure before the weather turns cold, this episode is for you.

Today, we’ll get alfresco dining tips from Lauren Gay, better known online as Outdoorsy Diva. On her popular blog and social media channels, the Valrico-based travel influencer shares her adventures, from hiking and horseback riding to kayaking and swimming with manatees.

And she always looks fabulous. Her Instagram account, @OutdoorsyDiva, is worth a follow for the outfits alone. We figured someone so glam probably enjoys some pretty amazing meals, even while she’s roughing it. So we recently spoke with Lauren about how she got into adventure blogging and how we can all eat better in the great outdoors.

Here are Lauren’s tips for eating in the great outdoors:

  • Camping: “For me, the go-to is those foil packet meals that you can prep beforehand and just keep in your cooler on ice,” Lauren says. For dinner, prepare packets of shrimp, potatoes, veggies and seasonings. For breakfast, think frozen hash browns, sausage and cheese. “Then just throw that puppy on the grill when you’re ready to eat,” Lauren says.
  • Beach or boating: “I think one of the easiest things, which is totally in right now, is charcuterie life,” Lauren says. She likes to prep a board full of strawberries, grapes, olives, cheeses, salami, crackers, nuts and other nibbles. “And I’m frugal, honey. You can get all that fancy stuff from Aldi,” she notes. Avoid messy items like chocolate, which melts in the Florida heat.
  • Backpacking: Lauren likes belVita breakfast biscuits for a portable snack. For longer trips, Lauren recommends investing in a Jetboil portable cooking system to prepare coffee, oatmeal, chili and other hot foods.

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