Posts Tagged ‘eating healthy at camp’

Aaaaachoo! How Camp Weequahic Keeps Kids Healthy

Posted Monday, April 24th, 2017 by

Many parents ask us about what happens if their child gets sick at camp, and what we do to keep everyone healthy. These are very valid questions, and ones that we take extremely seriously. We want all of our campers to enjoy every day at camp and be in the best health possible. We are serious about maintaining the cleanliness of our surroundings, and encourage campers to be avid hand washers and reduce the sharing of germs whenever possible.

 

There are sinks, hand washing stations, and access to hand sanitizer all throughout camp, making it easy to quickly wash their hands before a meal or after as sport or event that involved a lot of hands-on activity.  Our main focus is on the health and safety of all of our campers, and so we try to implement these 4 tips to keep campers performing optimal health.

 

We Keep Them Hydrated

We know that dehydration can be a major risk for kids who are on the go all day, especially when the temperatures start to climb. Drinking a lot of water is great for the immune system and flushes out toxins that can make campers feel sluggish and sick. We have water available all over camp and are always encouraging campers to drink up before, during and after each strenuous activity.

 

We Let Them Sleep

Although kids may not be excited about bedtime, as parents, teachers, couches and well-educated adults, we all know that sleep is vital in keeping their growing minds and bodies at their peak. This is why we’ve set specific times for our campers to rest throughout the day, as well as encourage them to get a good night’s sleep each night. Campers have different “bedtimes” depending on their age, but all campers get plenty of opportunities to rest and recharge their batteries each day

 

We Feed Them Well

We provide our campers with freshly prepared and healthy food choices for every meal. They have access to fruits and a salad bar and have every opportunity to make good, healthy food choices. We teach campers that when you put healthy foods in, you’ll get power and speed and energy out. We know kids will want to indulge in sweets every now and then, and that is perfectly okay. But for the most part, they are eating nutritious food that fuels their bodies and boosts their immune systems, making it easier for their bodies to fight off colds.

 

We Encourage Good Hygiene

At camp, we encourage campers to wash their hands regularly and teach them proper etiquette when sneezing or coughing around other people. We discourage sharing of drinks or snacks that could spread germs, encourage high fives and fist bumps to reduce the transfer of icky germs, and if a camper does feel like he/she is coming down with something, we have a fully staffed medical facility on campus that can help.

Evolving Camp Menus

Posted Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 by

If you’ve ever been to camp, then you know what wacky mac is and, chances are, you get a bit of a nostalgic feeling when you pass it in supermarket aisles. You also know that bug juice is not made from bugs, s’mores are best made over a campfire, and that knish is the perfect side dish for a cookout. Campers who jumps out of bed every morning and race to breakfast, hoping that it’s chocolate chip pancakes as well as those who can’t get enough of the pizza, know that camp food is as much a part of the camp experience as the activities. Like many other camp traditions, the menus constantly evolve to meet the current demands of campers.

One major concern that is heavily influencing camp menus is the growing awareness of the importance of developing healthy eating habits early in life. Camps are introducing new menu items as well as opting for healthier versions of current ones. Items such as Greek yogurt, hummus, guacamole, and wraps are finding their way onto camp menus to combine with salad bars, which are longtime camp dining staples, to give campers and staff more nutritional options at meal times. Lite dressings are also appearing alongside regular ones and more fruit and vegetable choices are being offered. But the camp food revolution doesn’t begin and end at the camp salad bar.

Bug juice is now a lot less sugary at many camps, and some have even done away with it altogether. Camps are increasingly using olive oil instead of vegetable oil and are playing around with herb and spice combinations to enhance the taste of the food. This isn’t to say that some traditional camp favorites are disappearing off of menus. Grilled cheese, pasta, and chicken fingers are all still very much camp fare. Camps are just trying to make healthier versions of them by using fresher ingredients and fewer pre-packaged ones.

Campers are very enthusiastic about the recent trends in camp food. Today’s campers have savvy palates, and they like that favorite foods and ingredients that have traditionally not been available at camp are finding their way onto menus and that some of their favorites are getting nutritional makeovers. Meal times are important parts of camp each day. They are times for the camp to come together and dine as a family. They are times for singing, cheering, and catching up.  Perhaps that why camp food is such a key part of camp.

Camp is a Summer Home for Nutrition Too!

Posted Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 by

Much has been made recently about the meals that our children consume in places such as school cafeterias and summer camps.  A general sentiment that these types of establishments place cost and convenience over nutrition and well being seems to be developing.  In the world of summer camp, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, so dedicated are some summer camps to providing meals and snacks that combat bad eating habits that we’ve decided to dedicate an entire series of blogs to summer camp menus.  In this first blog, we’ll introduce you to the basic concept of camp nutrition and menu compilation.  In future blogs, we’ll discuss special diet, snacks, and the strategy behind the compilation of camp menus.

Most reputable camps offer a deliberate, carefully planned menu to campers and staff alike.  Many camps employ the assistance of nutritionists when planning menus and select food based on the heightened physical activity of campers during the summer.  All of America’s Finest Summer Camps, for instance, offer extensive yogurt and fruit bars at breakfast as well as salad bars at lunch and dinner.  At breakfast, several different kinds of yogurt are available as well as fruit such as oranges and bananas.  Hard boiled eggs, bagels, and cheese are also typically available.  For those with lactose intolerance, lactose free as well as soy milk are often on hand.  At lunch and dinner, salad bars offer everything from basic staples like tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, olives, cucumbers, and carrots to more progressive offerings like garbanzo beans, tuna, and marinated vegetable combinations, along with several dressings from which to complete the dish.  Almost all camps offer vegetarian selections at mealtimes.

Increasingly, special diets are being taken into consideration as well.  With many camp leaders and directors themselves learning to live with gluten allergies and diabetes, camp leaders have looked inward when planning menus and are becoming increasingly sensitive to special diet needs.  More and more, menu options are being added with these considerations in mind.

Planning camp menus is a special challenge for camp directors.  With so many campers and staff dining at each meal, it’s impossible to please everyone all the time.  However, there are other considerations when planning menus.  Children are very active at camp—often considerably more active than they are at home.   Physical activity begins in the morning and often continues into the evening.  Many camp menus have been criticized for being heavy in carbohydrates.  However, there is a nutritional basis in this.  Diets heavy in carbohydrates are recommended for children who engage in heavy physical activity, as carbohydrates convert to sugar very quickly and help replenish energy.  While it’s true that many camp foods are high in carbohydrates, it’s also important to consider that such a diet at camp is also responsibly balanced by ample servings of fruits, vegetables, and proteins.

Food allergies are also a prevalent consideration when planning camp menus.  Nut allergies are the most common, although there are many others.  Since food allergies tend to reveal themselves through various levels of sensitivity, it’s not only important to consider what campers and staff might consume when planning menus, but with whom and what they might come into contact during the course of a summer camp meal.

The preparation of food, particularly food that is fried, is another key target of critics.  The fact is that even though many camps offer such traditionally “fried” fare as hamburgers, french fries, and cheese sticks, many of these foods, when prepared at camp, are not fried.  Hamburgers are often grilled while fries and cheese sticks are typically baked to minimize the use of fatty oils.

In case you have ever suspected that your child’s nutrition takes a back seat to fun at summer camp, we hope this brief introduction has helped put your mind at ease.  And if you’re still not convinced, we invite you to continue visiting this blog as we continue our series about camp menus.