Camp Australia cooks up a storm to combat poor COVID-19 eating habits
Outside school hours care (OSHC) provider Camp Australia is using National Science Week to help get children’s eating habits back on track after learning of research showing one-quarter of children developed a habit of making more unhealthy food choices than they normally would because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 Science Week theme for schools is Food: Different by design, and Camp Australia has designed an in-service activity, ‘Food for Thought’, which involves educators taking children through the chemistry of food and why and how we use food to fuel bodies and minds. It will include food experiments to excite them about creating nutritious, healthy meals in the kitchen.
This activity has been designed not only to fit the theme, but also in response to the research from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne which showed that children have been eating processed foods, unhealthy fats and sugar because of the convenience and accessibility while under stay-at-home orders.
Camp Australia Chief Operating Officer Brett Comer said the disruption to children’s eating habits caused by the pandemic is a pressing challenge for parents, guardians and educators to address.
“Parents and guardians are incredibly stretched during these challenging times,” Mr Comer said.
“Many know how important it is to maintain healthy eating and exercise habits for themselves and their children. Coming up with those healthy choices in an exciting way can be an extra workload at the end of a long day.”
As part of the ‘Food for Thought’ activity, Camp Australia will also ask children to create their own recipes as part of a nation-wide competition. The top 30 original creations will be included in ‘The Experimental Cookbook’ showcasing outstanding homemade contributions to inspire children everywhere.
Part of the motivation for the activity, Mr Comer explained, is to help parents and guardians to become excited about healthy eating and to understand the impact of poor food choices.
“Nutrition is foundational to the health and wellbeing of children and sits alongside the need to be active and social.”
Julie Meek, Performance Specialist and Sports Dietician, and Kelly Bramble, Accredited Practicing Dietician, have partnered with Camp Australia for the week to inspire children with healthy eating habits and to educate them about the role food plays. They will judge the recipes submitted for the competition, with entries closing 30 August.