Create Healthy Habits for Kids with Ziporah Janowski of Camp Shane

Camp Shane is the world’s longest running weight-loss camp for children. In business for more than 40 years, Camp Shane provides a friendly and supportive environment that helps campers learn to eat healthfully and have fun doing it. “As someone who has seen thousands of parents struggle with how to continue their child’s weight loss at home, I’ve learned that cooking and eating with your kids at home is one of the simplest and most effective weight loss tools that parents can adopt,” said Ziporah Janowski, co-owner of Camp Shane.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask Ziporah a few questions about healthy habits to instill in our children. Read below for her answers, and check out the amazing smoothie recipes she’s shared with us – Banilla Shake, Blueberry-Orange Whirl, and my favorite, Very Berry Smoothie.  All are less than 175 calories and will help your kids achieve the recommended servings of fruit every day.

What do parents need to know about the basic nutrition needs of children? (i.e. RDA fruits/vegetables)

All children require a full range of essential nutrients, especially protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin A. In terms of recommended amounts of grains, fruits and veggies, dairy, protein, fats and sugars we recommend parents try to adhere to the guidelines set by the USDA food pyramid. As far at total caloric intake, for kids it varies greatly depending upon age. For example, a 3-year-old needs about 1,300 calories daily, whereas a 10-year-old needs about 2,000 calories daily and a teenager should consume approximately 2,800 calories per day. The best way to ensure kids get the food they need and still maintain a healthy weight is to provide them with a wide range of nutritious foods that are low in saturated fat and sugar.

How do you encourage children to be more active and help them understand the benefits?

Parents need to find activities that their children like to do and help them develop skills so they feel good doing them. We particularly like to encourage sports that can be practiced for life such as swimming, tennis, biking, hiking and running. Kids will understand the benefits of being active by doing – they will feel better and have more energy. And it is fun! For times when you are at home, a Wii Fit can be a terrific activity for the whole family. And everyone in the family should have a pedometer and have a contest to see who can log the most steps; aim for 10,000 steps a day (5 miles)!

If parents could implement one healthy change for their children, what should it be?

Cooking more meals at home! Cooking at home is one of the single best ways for kids to stay healthy and learn about nutritious foods. In addition to saving money, it’s a fun way to make healthy eating a family affair.

How do parents/children overcome the negative stigma of camps like Camp Shane and actually embrace the many benefits?

Unlike traditional “fat camps” or “boot camps,” Camp Shane focuses on having fun while achieving long-term, realistic weight loss goals. Because of this, our campers have an extremely high success rate when it comes to keeping weight off for the long-term. Overall, we try really hard to provide a friendly, supportive and non-threatening environment. I recommend checking out our website and watching some of the videos of our campers—this is a quick way for parents and kids to dispel any negative preconceived notions and to see us for who we really are!

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