Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Real Food: Summer Camp Edition

Last week, I promised that I would give you a look into how we incorporated real food into our summer camp experience.  I still plan to follow through with that, but I have to take a brief moment to share a fabulous recipe with you that I discovered tonight.  Since we made the transition to real food several months back, I have found new recipes for most of my favorite foods, but I have struggled when it comes to burger and hot dog rolls.  We usually buy our sandwich bread from Great Harvest, but I had yet to find a roll recipe that came close to traditional rolls.  That is, until tonight.  These rolls from the My Humble Kitchen are fabulous, even without the butter on top or the freshly ground grains.  Try them and enjoy!

Okay, now for camp.  This is my first year running the summer camp program at our school.  We have two camps that run concurrently, one for preschool and one for elementary school students.  We feed a morning snack to the preschoolers each day, along with a morning snack and lunch to our older students.  After a brief internal debate, I decided that I wanted to try to keep all of the offered food as true to real foods as possible.  Of course, this was a lot more work than just giving the children the usual fare, but I felt that if we could pull it off, it would be worth it.  Now that we are nearing the end of camp, I can say that I feel our little experiment was a total success.  For the preschoolers, I tried to take advantage of all of the fresh summer produce.  We usually had two offerings each morning, one fruit, such as apples, peaches, raisins, or bananas, along with a grain such as air-popped popcorn, triscuits, or rice cakes.  The children appeared to enjoy the snacks, and there was not a single protest that we only served water, as opposed to juice.

The lower school camp was a bit more work, since lunch was involved.  Each day, we basically had a main offering, that the children could personalize to their own liking.  Some of our lunches included a pasta bar, individual pizzas, panini sandwiches, quesadillas, and tacos.  All of our lunches were made with organic ingredients and whole grains.  I was pleasantly surprised how often the children complimented the whole grain pasta, bread, and pizza crust.  We supplemented our main course with salad, smoothies, and fresh fruit.  For drinks, we served water and chocolate milk, which was our one concession to a sweet treat.  In my idealistic mind, perhaps one of our campers went home and requested more fresh produce or whole grains in their diets.  If not, at least they ate well while they were in our care. 

1 comment:

  1. I like that your mains were able to be customized. I think that definitely would be an easy way to appeal to wide-range of kids, some of whom are not used to healthier eating. Did you find a lot of veggies went in the trash? Some public schools are complaining that the new USDA school lunch guidelines are causing students to go hungry because the kids throw all the vegetables in the trash. IMHO I think it means the schools need to figure out a better way to cook/present them.