Balanced Nutrition

4. Involve the campers. Children are much more open to trying new foods if they have something to do with it! Having a “Build Your Own Burrito Bar” (see recipe below) also decreases the amount of work the kitchen staff needs to do. They simply prep the components, and the kids make their own burritos at the table. Burritos may not sound “healthy,” but they are packed with real, fresh foods, and are sure to be a filling crowd pleaser.

5. Encourage more fresh produce. Whether it’s fresh fruit at breakfast, a salad bar at lunch, or a well-prepared vegetable at dinner, it is fairly simple to incorporate more produce into camp meals. Well-prepared means that the vegetables actually taste good. Roasted veggies and sautéed, fresh veggies seem to receive a warm reception, while steamed vegetables often go untouched. Skip them when at all possible.

Camp Endeavor’s afternoon snack time has been a great approach in introducing new foods. Called “Tasting Trios,” three dips are served with one “dipper,” or the other way around when using fruits or vegetables.

For example, pita chips are paired with hummus, roasted red-pepper feta dip (the favorite), and cucumber tzatziki. Each camper receives a small serving of each dip–they are portioned out ahead of time so there is no “I don’t like that, I don’t want it” argument. It sparks great conversation about what they do like–and don’t like–but more importantly opens up their eyes to a new world of delicious, healthy foods that they may have been hesitant to try on their own.

Don’t forget to give the campers some credit–they’ll often try more than you think, enjoy more than you expect, and maybe even find some new foods to enjoy during their time at camp. And that’s what it’s all about. Healthier kids start one meal at a time.

Emily Dingmann is Assistant Director at Camp Endeavor. She can be reached via email at


Build Your Own Burrito Bowl Recipe–40 servings

Mexican food is always popular at camp, but doesn’t exactly have a healthy reputation.

“Build Your Own Burrito Bowls” is great for several reasons–the kitchen staff only needs to prep the components, the campers get to choose their toppings, and it provides whole grains, vegetables, and lean protein, which can often be lacking in typical camp meals.

Vegetarians can simply leave off the chicken and still have a well-rounded meal with protein from the beans and cheese.

10 pounds (dry) brown basmati rice

1 cup lime juice

5 ounces cilantro, chopped

40 4-ounce chicken breasts

10 pounds canned black beans

4 pounds sliced red onions

6 pounds green-pepper strips

2 pounds red-pepper strips

Toppings: shredded cheese, light sour cream, salsa, shredded romaine lettuce, hot sauce

Prepare brown rice as directed.

Toss rice with lime juice and fresh cilantro. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

Grill chicken and cut into strips.

Heat black beans in liquid. Set aside.

Heat large cook top. Spritz with oil. Stir-fry red onions and peppers together for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Prep toppings in bowls for each table.

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  2. Chow Time
  3. Recipe Resources
  4. Welcoming Vegetarians
  5. Kick Nutrition Up A Notch

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