Camp is a wonderful time to get away from it all, including away from the temptations of microwave foods, fast foods, and other less-than-healthy choices.
Of course it’s not that camp is a place of austere eating and a saintly palette. After all, it is a fun summer getaway which wouldn’t be the same without some faves like our Lunch Under the Apple Tree picnics, Bug Juice, and of course milk and cookies.
But at the same time, we do have an offering of choices that allows your daughter to make her best effort towards the kind of foods that keep her nourished, energetic, and hydrated all day.
By taking a little time before she comes to camp to reinforce with her what her options are, and how she can make healthy choices, she’ll be well on her way to the kind of informed independence that we all want for our kids. And that will help her to know that then when it’s treat time, it’s okay to indulge in moderation!
Healthy options every day
One thing that’s important to us is that we offer a salad and fruit bar at every lunch and dinner, fruit at every breakfast, and vegetables with every dinner. This way your daughter is able to eat fresh produce, in their raw state, at every meal, with the most vitamins and minerals available to her growing body. The cooked veggies at dinner give another tasty option for a balanced meal.
Lest you think we can lead a horse to healthy water but can’t make her drink it, this year we are bringing back an old “tradition” or “rule” that we had when I was a camper in which everyone was required to have a “no-thank-you helping” of a dish they didn’t particularly want (unless there are allergies/dietary restrictions of course). This way even the most stubborn of eaters can take a little chance on things they might otherwise reject out of unfamiliarity and just give them a try.
We’re bringing the tradition back, but instead using the phrase “taste or serving” – everyone must have either a taste (a bite) or a serving (regular serving) of each dish served. The upshot is that there’s nothing better than that surprised look of, “Hey, this is actually good!” And we get to sneak more of the healthy stuff in this way, too!
Alums will remember the famous Lunch Under the Apple Tree menu. Well we’ve recently added applesauce to that menu to give a low sugar “sweet” to our campy lunch crowd. And we only provide wheat bread now — sometimes white-wheat! — to steer the girls toward better grains. (With an exception for gluten-free or wheat allergies.)
In between and all day long
One of the most important things that we emphasize at camp not once, not twice, not just on the first day, but every day, all day, is Water, Water, Water!
We encourage hydration all day long, and model it ourselves by having staff and counselors carry and sip at their water bottles, too. Drinking lots of water is key any time, but never more so than during summer months when you’re expending lots of energy moving around outdoors, in the sun, and walking to all your destinations. So pack a good water bottle for your daughter (and don’t forget to put her name on it!) and rest easy knowing that water is always on our minds and in our bodies!
Mid-morning we provide a snack, often of fruit, granola bars, or cheese sticks. And water, water, water! 😉
The girls use up a lot of energy, so having a balanced amount of carbs is, of course, important. Our favorites will always be there – biscuits, grilled cheese, streusel cake – but we balance it out with our fruits, veggies, and proteins.
When girls get a chance to go to the camp store, they’ll find a new choice this year. We’re selling new 100% fruit drinks – some with carbonated water, some just plain. Moms ought to like that, too!
We’re with you
We know that steering kids toward healthy foods is every parent’s challenge. We want you to know we’re with you on that and are making every effort to allow girls to choose variety while limiting much of that variety to what are already healthy choices.
Yes, we also do treats. This is summer vacation after all. But it is a balanced amount that is enjoyed all the more for being just the right amount, without being too much.
Camp is a great place to explore new foods and tastes, and we hope your daughter will enjoy doing so. Our excited new head chef Alene is committed to keeping camp healthy while also keeping our traditional favorite foods on the menu, too.
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls