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By Wendy Sterling, Marlo Mittler & Tanya Berg

Making Menus Nutritionally Sound Camps can definitely do their part in stemming the increase in childhood obesity and incidences of Type 2 diabetes

Time to Take Action Campers may revolt if these favourite foods were omitted from the camp menu, but such drastic measures are actually not even necessary. In order to balance out some of the

not-so-nutritious items, camps should take a close look at what else is being served on that day, as well as what is being served for that week. For example, when looking at an average camp day, the menu might include French toast for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch and pizza for dinner. When analyzed for the day, the menu

is over in carbohydrates by 15 to 30 per- cent, over in fats by 10 to 20 per cent, under in protein by 10 per cent, under in fiber by 10g, and is clearly low in fruits and vegetables. By making small changes, such as moving pizza to another day and substituting it with a chicken and veg- etable stir-fry, the daily balance improves significantly. While working with kids, it’s impor-


ver the past few yers, there has been an alarming increase in obe- sity and Type 2 diabetes through-

out North America. The prevalence of obe- sity in children six to 11 years of age has more than doubled in the past 20 years and tripled among 12 to 19 year olds. Overweight and obesity, influenced by

poor diet and activity, are significantly associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, joint problems and poor health status. In addition, overweight children and adoles- cents are more likely to become over- weight or obese adults, making improve- ments in diet and exercise essential for kids today. As parents are working more and

spending time away from the home, fami- lies are relying on fast food, which is often high in fat, sugar and sodium. Technology has also contributed to a notable decline in activity levels. According to a report pub-

12 Canada Camps Spring 2010

lished by the U.S.-based Kaiser Family Foundation, children are spending more than seven-and-a-half hours per day using computers, iPods, cell phones and televi- sion. Essentially, kids are eating more and moving less. Furthermore, 50 per cent of kids

drink less than one serving of milk per day, and the average teen drinks 15 to 20 teaspoons of sugar per day from soda pop alone. A typical kid’s diet is often low in fruits and vegetables, and high in fat, car- bohydrates, sodium and sugar. Though camp may only be for eight

or less weeks, it is still a significant time period in a child’s growth and develop- ment. As countries are mobilizing to make impactful nutrition and fitness reforms, camps can no longer stand by without taking action. Favourite camp foods including pizza, tacos and chicken nuggets, are low in protein, high in fat and are usually processed.

tant to keep campers’ favourite foods but to make them healthier. This may sound like an oxymoron, but it is achievable! Some suggested strategies include: mov- ing foods around, changing the recipes to include healthier and lower fat ingredi- ents, cooking healthier, and/or changing the portion sizes. For example, when making chicken nuggets, use white meat chicken, bread them with whole wheat bread crumbs, and then bake, rather than deep fry them. This adds fiber, while sig- nificantly reducing the fat content. Grilling, baking, poaching, steaming and roasting are excellent cooking techniques that do not add any extra fat and calories. It’s also wise to look at food portions

being served. For example, some bagels can be as large as four or five ounces. This is equivalent to four or five slices of bread! Changing this to a mini-bagel can enable a child to better meet (rather than exceed) his or her carbohydrate recom- mendations for the day. In addition, camps can change the

plates or bowls that certain foods are served in to reduce the amount being served. They can also reduce the scoop size that the kitchen is using to portion out the food. Don’t forget to add in more fruits and vegetables to the menu. Each meal should

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