Speaking Up: How offering a solution can help to pave the way to healthier food in camp or school

Last week one of my six-year-old’s camp counselors sent out an email announcing that this week they were going to be doing two baking projects in the classroom—sugar cookies and banana bread. In general, I have been lucky and have been able to avoid a lot of the camp snack issues that many have been struggling with. Both of my sons go to camps that are relatively mindful about the sorts of snacks they serve. Could they be healthier? Sure. But they also aren’t handing out candy and ice cream everyday and I know they are working on it. So when I saw the email last week I was of two minds: 1) I was so happy that they were planning cooking projects for camp! and 2) I was confident that I could bet good money that the recipes would be less-than-healthy spins on these treats and I was not crazy about that idea. But I also wondered whether it was worth my saying something about a special activity.

So I decided to email and offer my support.  I wrote to say how excited I was that they were doing baking projects and, if they were interested, I would be more than happy to share a banana bread recipe that uses whole wheat flour and only a small amount of honey. The response was immediate. “That sounds great! Let me make sure that we have the supplies and/or money in the budget to buy what we might need.” And then a second email came in, “We are going to do it! Would you like to come in to lead the baking project?”

For me, this was a wonderful moment. It really showed that if we speak up AND offer alternatives/solutions, the response is very often enthusiastic and open.

So yesterday I went in and led the baking project and had a blast. Later, when I went to pick my son up at camp, I discovered a copy of the recipe I had shared in every kids’ cubby and a proud son reporting that the whole wheat banana bread with just a little honey was a huge hit!

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