Incorporating a Healthy Camp Lifestyle at Home

At camp, kids learn good habits: how to be polite in a group, how to respect other campers’ things, and even how to clean up after themselves at the lunch table or in the cabin! But they also learn some healthy lifestyle habits at camp — like eating nutritious food and getting plenty of physical activity! Here are some ways that you can translate those healthy camp lifestyle habits into your child’s everyday life!

Physical Activity

The CDC recommends that children and adolescents get at least one hour of physical activity each day. According to a recent survey of ACA camps, over 80 percent of responding camps have campers engage in physical activity levels greater than an hour a day. In fact, at least one out of three campers that attended camp had three to five hours of intense physical activity a day.

Tips to Use at Home

  • The survey revealed that some favorite camp activities included swimming, basketball, and soccer. So kids might enjoy a day at the pool, an afternoon at the basketball courts, or even just some time outside — with you — kicking the soccer ball around!
  • Kids might also enjoy teaching the family a fun activity they learned at camp, such as pickle ball or geocaching, which will get everyone moving.
  • Be intentional with your child’s schedule so that he or she has free time to do a favorite activity every day!
  • Learn about Let’s Move In School, which supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign to solve the challenge of childhood obesity. The goal of Let's Move in School is to ensure that every school provides a comprehensive school physical activity program with quality physical education as the foundation so that youth will develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime.

Healthy Eating

Camps also have a focus on providing kids with nutritious and delicious meals and snacks at camp. According to a recent survey of ACA camps, 77 percent of responding day camps and 87 percent of resident camps offer healthy snacks such as fruits and nuts. Camps also work to provide healthy meals with more fruits or nuts, non-meat options, salad bars, and whole grains.

Tips to Use at Home

  • Make the same meals more “healthily inspired” by adding garnishes or toppings such as fresh herbs, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Examine food labels with kids at the grocery store or at home — it can be interesting to see where food came from, how it was made, its nutritional value, or even good things to pair it with!
  • Children should be encouraged to drink water often. Beverages with added sugar such as fruit juice drinks, soft drinks, and sports drinks should be limited.
  • Tasting parties can be fun! Each family member can choose a food they have never tasted. Purchase and prepare the new foods together, then try them all!

For more tips on incorporating physical activity and healthy eating into your child’s daily life, check out the Camping Magazine article “Make a Commitment: Encouraging Wellness and Healthy Living at Camp.”

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