Jesse Lovett, 7, samples a frozen watermelon cone Thursday morning at the YMCA.
By IVY HERRON
Doctors, nutritionists and parents agree children should learn healthy eating habits early so they can make healthy eating choices when they grow up.
"The key (to living a healthy lifestyle at any age) is eating and moving," said Donna Black, a food and nutrition specialist at the Purdue Extension office.
Black has made weekly visits to the YMCA Summer Day Camp to teach children how to make healthy snacks at home. She hopes the children will remember the snack ideas for those after-school munchies.
"You can't just give up on all the good stuff, like candy, chocolate or ice cream," she said. "You can't eat a piece of cake and sit in front of a television or go to bed, that's not good for you. If you're going to eat a piece of cake, you need to walk a mile to work it off, or go find your friends and play a game like baseball or basketball. Physical activity and eating (all foods) in moderation is the healthy way to manage food and life."
As the 2006 YMCA Summer Day Camp focused on teaching children how to be healthy, there have been some unexpected rewards.
"Several of our campers have lost weight during the summer," YMCA Summer Camp Director Pam Fischer said. "It wasn't our goal, but it was an exciting benefit of the program."
Some of the healthy snack ideas the children have learned throughout the summer include frozen watermelon cones, apple sandwiches, whole grain shake-a-snacks, banana/ peanut butter smoothies and Ants-on-a-Log, which uses celery, peanut butter and raisins.
"We will make a Black Cow next week," Black told the excited group of children at the YMCA Thursday. "It's a smoothie made with peanut butter, milk and chocolate."