Children: Maintaining a balanced diet at Summer Camp.
What is a well-balanced diet? A well-balanced diet means that you are making sure to eat all of the required nutrients for your body to function not only properly, but at an efficient level. There is no cookie cutter design, and this will not be the same for all.
Kids eating a balanced diet is an integral part of maintaining their good health and providing their bodies with the nutrients that they need to be in optimum condition. Camp is a great place to be conscientious of this fact. A well-balanced diet consists of a wide variety of foods, in the correct proportions, in order to support their bodies and help them maintain their energy levels, stay motivated and healthy, and get the most out of the camp experience.
This is something that camps would have to commit to because it requires staff that is conscientious of these things since they are the ones impacting the lives of each and every camper. This is a great thing to integrate into your camp culture as it benefits not only your campers but your staff as well. We recommend adding the idea of healthy eating and a well-balanced diet into your staff training so that they can also pass this information to campers.
Here are some ways kids benefit from eating a well-balanced diet:
- Stabilize their energy.
- Food for thought, literally.
- Balance their moods.
- Help them maintain a healthy weight.
- Help prevent mental health conditions. These include depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
Campers are more likely to carry these healthy habits with them through life if they learn them as children. That’s why we emphasize teaching them to eat healthful now, while they are young and in a Summer Camp environment where they are likely to pick up new habits and develop new life skills. Here you can find some additional information on teaching them.
Getting kids involved. Have campers speak with kitchen staff, ask questions, teach them how to read food labels so that they know the nutrition in the foods that they are eating. Teach them about mindful eating. Set the example!
Having a garden at camp can really help them connect to the foods that they eat and teach them valuable lessons.
Slow changes towards healthier foods. You don’t have to completely overhaul the meal plan, but rather find a few alternatives to some unhealthy items and start to add more healthy ones until the healthier food choices become the norm.
To encourage kids to eat a wide variety of foods, first and foremost, it is important to be a role model yourself. As camp staff, we are an important influence on children and can do many things to help them develop healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime. Lead by example – eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains with meals or as snacks, keep fresh fruit available, try new foods yourself and carry a bottle of water around.