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  • Writer's pictureStephen Bean

The Grocery Store Challenge

Every week at Camp New Heights is packed with nutritional lessons, but how do we put them into practice. In addition to the previous blog (Meal Time) in which we talked about meal time and the informed nutritional choices that we make with each meal. On Sunday we really put our nutritional lessons to the test.

Following a thirty to sixty minute nutrition lesson, campers are split up into groups by the nutritionist. Each group is assigned one part of the meal (appetizer, main course, dessert). The nutritionist then assigns each group a specific set of guidelines to work within to design their portion of the meal. Our campers then set off to research recipes and ingredients that will satisfy the guidelines set out by the nutritionist. Once campers have their recipes and have adjusted the recipes to meet the quantity needed, it's off to the grocery store.

Every camper comes to the grocery store in their group ready to learn how to navigate a grocery store. Our nutritionist and other staff members teach campers how to read and interpret the nutrition labels. Campers learn how to comparatively shop and learn how to gather the ingredients necessary to make delicious home cooked meals. Campers work diligently with their teammates to assemble all of the ingredients in the correct quantities. Prior to checkout the nutritionist compares their ingredient list to what the campers and gives them the go-ahead to checkout.

Once all the items have been purchased, we had back to campus to begin the culinary magic. Campers continue to work within their teams to assemble and prepare their portion of the meal. Campers learn how to bake, grill, boil, and so much more. Campers are in full hands on mode while they prepare the food for themselves and their fellow campers. The entire process takes a few hours, but the final result is always delicious.

Through the cooking challenge campers learn important skills like navigating a grocery store, reading nutrition labels, safe food preparation, along with so many other valuable skills. The most important lesson of all is that cooking is fun and that delicious and healthy meals can be made with ease.

The most frequent feedback we hear from parents after their camper has returned home is how they want to be involved in going to the grocery store, preparing meals, and cooking. The grocery store challenge is one of our features that fosters the growth in campers' interest in taking ownership of their health and wellness.

Over the years the cooking challenge has become a camper favorite every Sunday that is revered by both campers and staff alike. We have seen and tasted some masterpieces over the years and we can't wait to see what creations occur this summer.

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