Food & Nutrition

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Food Decisions, not Food Restrictions.

We believe campers should make their own food decisions. After all, they're teens and young adults with increasing independence, going off to college, living on their own.

How can they be expected to reach and stay at their healthiest, happiest weight if camp takes away all their food decisions just as they're becoming fully responsible for them?

The Science of Nutrition and Weight Loss

A huge number of well-designed weight loss studies have demonstrated that:

  • When people are hungry, good intentions about food go out the window
  • Food restriction typically results in short-term loss, followed by rapid weight regain - unhealthy yoyoing that's all too familiar
  • Food behaviors are driven by the heart and mind -- by thoughts and feelings
  • They're influenced but not controlled by empirical knowledge about healthy nutrition
  • Ways of eating based on "normal" food choices are far more effective than special or extreme diets or reliance on "diet" foods

Our Nutrition Program

Our camp's nutrition program has two distinct elements. First, our campers learn about:

  • The brain/weight connection: links between thoughts, actions, feelings and behaviors
  • Practical techniques for making food decisions that they'll feel really good about, even in stressful or difficult situations that otherwise lead to less healthy choices
  • Up-to-date nutrition information that debunks common myths and misconceptions about carbs, fats, and more

Then, they participate in a huge variety of camp activities specifically structured to help them turn these new insights into comfortable habits. For example:

  • Campers eat tasty meals with familiar ingredients -- just like back home
  • We serve a well-balanced plate to each camper, and they're then free to make additional choices from the Camper's Choice Bar described below
  • Culinary classes teach them how to prepare their own favorite entrees and snacks -- the ultimate empowerment tool!
  • Structured outings to groceries, restaurants and fun places like theme parks are specifically designed to give campers practice in applying their new insights
  • Each camper returns home with a personalized cookbook and the know-how to make over other favorites

The Goal: Embedding New Habits

Our goal is to give campers lots of hands-on experience understanding and making their own food decisions so they build confidence and know-how.

Every single day provides structured, purposeful opportunities to learn, then apply, the principles that will help them reach and maintain their healthiest, happiest weight -- for life.

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Meals and Snacks

Served in our own Tropicana Café!

  • Freshly-prepared & delicious

    Three meals and a snack every day, crafted by culinary pros from quality ingredients like market-fresh produce, using our own special recipes

  • Never institutional or mass-produced

    Well-balanced, highly-nutritious whole foods and lots of delicious, good-for-you options.

  • As tasty as meals at home!

    So don't be surprised when burgers and pizza show up on the menu -- smart choices, with just a few small modifications!

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Camper's Choice Food Bar

You decide what makes your meal complete

  • Food that fills you up yet helps you lose weight

    Meals start with a balanced serving of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and market-fresh produce – for example, chicken, green beans and couscous

  • The unique Camper's Choice food bar

    Unrestricted access to a wide variety of meal additions: soups, fresh fruits, vegetables, condiments, toppings, sauces, and additional proteins like avocado, nuts, chia seeds, Greek yogurt and scrambled egg whites

  • Practice makes perfect

    Empowers campers to choose additional food if they're still hungry, encourages mindful eating, and helps them practice their new life skills and healthy habits

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Nutrition Know-How

Fun, interactive mini-classes

  • Accurate, up-to-date nutrition knowledge

    Remember when scientists thought all fats were bad for you? Now we know better. Covers all the latest info about fueling our bodies for health, energy and happiness.

  • Insight into food/brain/weight linkages

    Mini-classes on nutrition and the linkages between food and our thoughts, feelings, physical activity and weight.

  • Practical knowledge you'll use every day

    Learning about calories and grams isn't enough to help anyone make smart food choices or lose weight. You'll get scientifically-sound information that you can put into action.

  • New life skills and healthy habits

    A host of useful information & truly useful strategies, from dissecting fad diets to reading food labels, making their own food, navigating restaurant menus and other situations that can make smart food choices difficult.

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Hands-On Culinary Adventures

Nothing tastes better than your own creations!

  • Hands-on culinary workshops

    You'll learn to broil, grill and sauté like a pro, and nothing builds confidence in the kitchen like knowing how to amp up flavor with herbs, spices and sauces that add almost no calories.

  • Meal preparation & recipe makeovers

    You'll actually get to cook! You'll make tasty, healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, and practice modifying your favorite recipes to make them healthier.

  • Your own customized cookbook

    You'll head home with a customized cookbook containing your favorite recipes and kitchen hacks that you can share with the whole family

  • Practice applying new life skills and healthy habits

    Structured opportunities to practice smart food decisions: choosing your own meals, creating a meal plan, building shopping lists, and applying your new life skills on grocery store and restaurant field trips