Ladies who lunch...in the bush

Jess Sheppey is a Woman in Wood who started out in the resort and ski industry across Canada before pursuing a career in forestry. Jess graduated from the Forestry Technician Program at Algonquin College in 2018 and has been working as a forest technician in the Ottawa Valley ever since. She is currently on maternity leave with her little future WIW.

While working in an office or at home has its perks when it comes to lunch time like a fridge, microwave, and proximity to restaurants and take out, there’s no comparison to finding that perfect lunch spot in the bush. Overlooking a lake or a beautifully planted block, or sitting next to a nice and toasty fire, bush days can be long and hard so packing a convenient and nutritious lunch that is also flavourful and exciting can be a challenge. Lucky for us we have an amazing community of women who shared their favourite bush meals!

Early mornings are inevitable and having a nutritious breakfast is key in having a successful day! One of my favourite go-to breakfasts on the go is a mason jar smoothie. You can make them ahead of time and store them in the fridge and freezer. The combinations are endless and I always top mine off with protein powder to ensure I have the energy I need. The best part of pre-making them in a mason jar is that with most standard blenders you can unscrew the base with the blades and screw it right onto the jar. This way you can blend right in the jar and don’t have to worry about cleaning the entire blender before you head off to work.

Egg bites are a great option for breakfast, lunch or a snack! You can add cheese, bacon, spinach or whatever you are craving. They can be made at the beginning of the week and stored in the fridge to have on hand to grab and go. Another versatile item that was suggested by many women is a good old hardboiled egg, again they can be made ahead of time and are great on their own or added to many meals.


Bush days usually involve long drives or walks and for me that always means time for snacking. A snack mentioned by many WIW were energy balls, they are high in protein and packed with healthy carbs, fats, and fibre. There are many recipes for these on the internet with lots of different flavour combinations. Another great option is a good old granola bar, whether they are homemade or store bought, these are the perfect size to fit in a pocket or throw in a cruising vest and can handle the cold or hot weather.

As many ladies know, sandwiches just aren’t cutting it these days and as the saying goes, variety is the spice of life! Coming up with different lunches daily can be a daunting task so we’re sharing some of many great ideas provided by Women in Wood all over the globe!

  • Salads: there are so many options with this one. Pasta salad, mixed bean salad, chickpea salad, and a good old fashion lettuce salad. The topping options are endless and salads can accommodate any dietary needs and restrictions.

  • Soups and Chili: these are great in a thermos or if canned can be heated up on the spot by a toasty fire. Perfect for those damp and cold winter days.

  • Burritos: these are good cold or warm and can be filled with anything you’d like. They are also great when made ahead of time to make lunch making easy and save you time.

  • Mini Charcuterie is a great option. Sliced meats, cheeses like Babybels, hummus, crackers, nuts and dried fruits are all crowd favourites and are easy to carry, great for snacking and packed with nutrients.

  • Meat sticks and jerky, cured meats are a great way to get your protein and they do well in inclement weather.

  • Tuna, specifically the easy to open mini cans that come flavoured. They are tasty on their own or with crackers, veggies or in a wrap. They are also small enough to fit into even the smallest pockets of a cruising vest.

  • Spring rolls/ rice paper rolls are a great option as they don’t need to be heated up and you can easily make them at home. Add a little peanut dipping sauce for added nutrients and flavour.

  • Leftovers: one of the greatest lunches there is! From pizza and chicken wings to stir fry and tacos the options are endless and easy because you’ve already done the work!

Some other helpful tips given by Women in Wood were;

  • Invest in a good wide mouth thermos

  • Google is great for finding recipes and meal ideas/plans

  • Good storage is key! Finding small, reusable food containers that easily fit into your vest is very important

  • Frozen water bottles or juice boxes make great ice packs and help with hydration once thawed

  • Always carry marshmallows in your vest in winter – you never know when you’ll need one to perk you up next to a quick warm-up fire!

Bon appétit!