Six new ways camps are keeping
about what foods your kids will eat when they
travel to camp this spring or summer?
you went to camp as a kid, you probably
didn't serve yourself lunch from a salad
bar, but that might just be changing
for your children. According to the American
Camp Association (ACA), the majority of
children's recreation and travel camps
now offer not only salad bars, but also fresher
foods and healthier cuisine.
is one of many updated ways camps are
encouraging the longstanding tradition
of healthy behavior — in the dining hall
as well as on the playing field or at
the swimming pool.
ACA says camps nationwide are addressing
recent concerns about the growing problem
of childhood obesity and diabetes. Camps
believe kids who eat the right foods through
thoughtful menu planning - along with
physical exercise - can curb child weight
gain problems. As wellness becomes a focal
point in today's society, healthy habits
are now reaching expected places including
summer camps, kid-friendly travel resorts
and day camps. A healthy day camp travel
experience can provide the structure and
activity needed to keep your kids healthy
recent study by the ACA shows 63 percent
of children who learn new activities at
camp tend to continue engaging in these
activities after they return home. Many
of these camps now offer health-friendly
activities with their reinvented menu,which
accommodates allergies, special diets
and healthy living. Also, camps
are educating kids about nutrition and
Look for these healthy features in your child's camp.
Healthy menu choices
Over 66 percent of all camps accredited
by ACA say they've started serving more
fruits and vegetables to children. Additionally,
nearly 40 percent have reduced the use
of fried and sugary foods, opting for
more low or no-fat choices.
with olive oil, adding flax, avoiding
partially hydrogenated oils and making
food from scratch are all ways camps are
incorporating healthy eating into their
menu plans. Even the snacks are leaning toward healthier choices,
cutting out the junk food.
ACA estimates that 66 percent of all camps
now offer vegetarian options, with an
additional 21 percent offering vegan choices.
More than 10 percent of children's camps
provide foods that are organic or
Many summer camps now provide choices
that address specific allergy issues for
children. The peanut-free option is provided
by nearly 40 percent of all camps. Many
camps are completely peanut-free, while
others set up a no-nuts table at meal
time. Camp directors also report being
more attuned to children who have sensitivity
Kosher, calorie controlled or diabetic-friendly
meals are now options many camps offer.
Parents can ask camp directors about how to accommodate their
children's special food needs.
Classes in nutrition
In addition to new menu choices,
camps offer specific programs to
teach children healthier eating habits.
A few camps offer family night programs
where health and nutrition topics
Awareness of eating disorders
The ACA also reports that camps are now
training their staff members to watch for
indicators of eating disorders, making
sure good eating behaviors are modeled
for children. Health staffers are informed
to watch out for children, and keep a
trained eye on campers to look out for any
problems or unhealthy behaviors.
Additionally, camps offer special programs
where campers can experiment with their
own cooking. Summer camps may also offer
programs on natural therapies and de-stressing
for older campers.
searching for your child's next travel
resort or camp, check with the ACA's
Find a Camp service to see
what healthy programs nearby camps can
offer your children and your family.
more about ACA
Camps and healthy camp options.
Source: American Camp Association