How To Help Your Child Eat Healthy At Camp

Camps are generally nurturing environments designed to help your child succeed and grow.  Whether playing sports all day or learning about science experiments, all children need healthy foods to help their endurance and brain activity.  Healthy lifestyles begin with healthy food choices and healthy food choices should be encouraged every day, no matter where you are; school or camp!  Because you are a concerned parent, there are a few questions you must ask the camp administration upon admitting your child into summer camp.

Here are a few suggestions to help make the most out of your child’s camp experience:

  1. Make sure the camp is accredited by the ACA (American Camp Association).  It is the best evidence parents have of a camp’s commitment to a safe and nurturing environment for their children. This voluntary accreditation guarantees parents that camp practices have been measured against national standards and go a step beyond basic licensing requirements.
  2. Speak to the camp administration regarding their food resources and snack-time availability.  Ensure their food suppliers have a high-quality reputation and encourage a break be made for a snack time if there is not any.
  3. Talk to the camp nutrition staff (if there is one) and ask them what types of meals are served.  Remember, you want fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats being served to your child on a daily basis.
  4. Does the camp have any nutrition guidelines?  If so, what are they? Ask to speak with the camp official who is in charge of the menu.
  5. If your child is attending a day camp, you may want to ask if children can bring their own lunches and snacks; by doing this you can control the nutritional value of the meal.

Focus on a healthy lifestyle all year round!  Months and months of health food choices during school cannot afford to be offset by unhealthy food choices made in the summer.   It is important that children are served well-balanced and healthful meals at summer camps not only to maintain their weight loss but to remain fit and active.  Become an advocate for your child and demand that healthy meals are served at camp.  Do not be afraid to ask questions concerning the nutritional value of meals being served to your child; summer camps want to provide special experiences for your children so they should be happy to help you in any way possible.

Top 10 Snacks for Camp-Go-ers!

  1. Hummus with fresh carrots, celery and peppers for dipping.
  2. Peanut butter spread on rice cakes.
  3. 2 cups of air-popped popcorn.
  4. Trail mix made of low fat and low sugar granola, assorted nuts, seeds, raisins and craisins.
  5. Non-fat plain yogurt topped with fresh berries.
  6. 1 cup of edamame.
  7. Apple slices and low fat string cheese.
  8. 1 small whole wheat pita stuffed with 2 turkey slices, spinach leaves and fat-free cheese.
  9. Baked sweet potato chips.
  10. Your favorite flavor Fiber One bar.

Joanna Dolgoff MD is a pediatrician who specializes in child and adolescent weight management. She is the creator of Dr. Dolgoff’s Weigh.

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