Changing Camp Snacks For The Better

by Sally on July 7, 2014

Camp Snackivism by Real Mom Nutrition

Snacktivism doesn’t stop when the school year ends. While some kids attend just a week or two of camp throughout the summer, others spend many weeks–or even most of the summer–at camp. It shouldn’t be a place where healthy food takes a permanent vacation.

Two years ago, I had my own moment of camp Snacktivism, when I called the director at a local university-affiliated camp to talk snacks. I wasn’t happy that my son was getting a sugary cereal bar and a bottle of sports drink every afternoon (read: “On The Front Lines of Snacktivism“). I urged her to drop the sports drinks and switch to healthier foods such as fresh fruit. She promised she would take my ideas into consideration.

When I received the camp information last year, it stated that they would only provide snacks on Fridays (and no more sports drinks). The rest of the week, parents could pack a snack if they thought their child needed it. When I called the director to follow up, she said this: “It made sense to us that if we can’t offer a healthy choice, we shouldn’t provide a snack. If we can’t be doing it in the way we should, we shouldn’t be doing it.” (read: “Camp Snacks: The Sequel“)

The moral of the story: It’s possible to change the camp snack culture, and it doesn’t take an army of angry parents. It can be a polite phone call, an email, or quick chat in person. If you need ideas for how to approach it, here’s a sample script. Feel free to cut, paste, and customize this for your own needs.


Dear (camp director),

My child is having a blast at camp this summer. Thank you so much for all you do for the kids!

I know the camp has the children’s best interests in mind, so I wanted to touch base with you about the snacks that are being served. I was hoping you’d consider limiting the chips and cookies in favor of something healthier. I understand the kids play hard at camp and need to refuel between meals. My concern is that these snacks are high in sugar and artificial ingredients and very low in nutrients. Would it be possible for the camp to provide something more nutritious? Some ideas: fresh fruit, raisins, bananas, apples, popcorn, whole grain crackers, baby carrots, cheese sticks, or cups of yogurt or natural applesauce.

I also hope you’ll consider eliminating the soda and sports drinks that are served in favor of water. Our kids can receive adequate hydration through frequent water breaks at the water fountain and with the water bottles they bring from home. In the case of sports drinks, kids can replenish any electrolytes lost through sweat at their next meal. Eliminating these drinks would also cut down on expense as well as the amount of waste that the camp generates.

I understand there may be limitations on what kind of food the camp can purchase and keep in storage, and this may not be a simple issue. But I would love to hear your thoughts, and I’d be happy to help in any way that I can.

Thanks so much for your time!

When approaching someone about food–whether it’s a camp director, preschool director, or church group leader–remember to:

  1. Be kind and complimentary first.
  2. State your concerns politely and objectively. Have specific suggestions, not just complaints.
  3. Offer your help in some way.
  4. Follow up.

For more ideas, check out Caron Gremont’s success story about changing camp snacks, “From Oreos to Apple Slices“, that appeared on the Huffington Post.


The Easiest Frozen Treat Ever

by Sally on July 5, 2014

The Easiest Frozen Treat Ever by Real Mom Nutrition

It’s all about staying cool right now, which means stocking your freezer with some cold, frosty goodies.

Frozen grapes are the perfect one-ingredient frozen treat: Rinse, de-stem, place them in a freezer-safe bag, and lay them flat in your freezer. Be sure your kids can easily reach them for self-serve summer snacking.

They taste like little bites of sorbet. I also like to throw a few into my morning green smoothie for an extra burst of sweetness.

When you shop, look for domestic grapes from California, which are in season through January. Find more snack ideas on the Grapes from California website.

Reminder: Children under the age of four shouldn’t have whole grapes. Cut these into halves (or even quarters) for young kids before freezing, then defrost them a bit so they soften before serving. Check out this video for a genius way to quickly cut whole grapes in half!

Disclosure: I’m happy to be working with Grapes from California this year as a Blogger Ambassador. I am compensated for my time. All opinions expressed are my own.


All About Snacktivism: My Interview in StayBasic Magazine

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A few years ago, I got fed up with the Kool-Aid and cupcakes my son was getting after soccer games and vowed to make a change. I began talking to coaches and parents about providing fruit for post-game snacks instead–or even nixing snacks altogether (read: “What If Soccer Snacks Just Went Away?“). One day, a […]

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January 10, 2014

This week, I reached out to readers on my Real Mom Nutrition Facebook page asking for their most frustrating feeding dilemma when it came to their kids–and promised that feeding expert and parent educator Dr. Dina Rose would address one of them on this blog. Dr. Rose, who is full of effective strategies for diffusing […]

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Camp Snacks: The Sequel

June 21, 2013

I practically stood up at my desk and cheered when I read a piece by Caron Gremont yesterday on The Huffington Post about camp snacks. She writes: We send our children to camp and trust that the counselors and lifeguards will keep them safe, from the pool to the buses used for field trips. Shouldn’t […]

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{Giveaway} KIND Bars

April 29, 2013

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Change The Snack Culture: 3 Steps to Take Now

April 4, 2013

Two years ago, I had a “light bulb moment” about snacking when I saw a mom and her child on the playground one day (read: “Snacking Insanity“). Since that moment, I’ve become much more aware of the snacks my kids are getting–and what I see isn’t good. It’s a problem, and not just in my […]

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My Pre-Dinner Snack Strategy

April 1, 2013

There’s nothing more maddening at mealtime than sitting down to a dinner you’ve spent 45 minutes to prepare only to have your kids push aside their plates because they’re already full. On pretzels. Navigating the hour before dinner is tough with children–especially young kids, for whom “dinner will be ready in 10 minutes” sounds more […]

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Make Your Own Peanut Butter

November 28, 2012

My attempts to make homemade almond butter last year nearly resulted in an electrical fire (read: DIY Almond Butter or How I Almost Made My New Food Processor Explode). But my Cuisinart seems to like peanuts a lot more. Homemade peanut butter is so easy and so delicious. Do you have peanuts, a food processor, […]

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Halloween Snack Solutions for Classroom Parties

October 1, 2012

I like candy corn and pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies as much as the next person. But our little trick-or-treaters are about to be bombarded with sweets. So if your child’s class is celebrating Halloween with a party, why not go easy on the treats? Many schools are now requesting healthier party snacks anyway. Here are three ideas: […]

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