At Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club, a big part of helping young people to reach their full potential is teaching them the keys to a healthy life. An understanding of how to make smart nutritional choices is essential. Our Club’s Healthy Habits program and other Club-wide initiatives give our members the tools and resources they need to learn the basic building blocks for a healthy future.
As part of our Healthy Habits program, we encourage our members to sit down to a “healthy plate” at every meal and to make informed choices about what they eat. We help them to increase their consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while limiting their intake of foods high in calories, salt and sugar. Beverages like low fat milk and plenty of water are recommended to ensure proper hydration over energy drinks and sodas that may be high in empty calories. Balance and moderation are important habits to develop at a young age that can carry through to adulthood.
In order to achieve these goals, we have taken a proactive approach to nutrition at the Club. In addition to teaching about nutrition we have also taken steps to remove all the vending machines in the building to remove the temptations of soda, candy and chips. Instead, we provide water throughout the day. We have also added a healthy snack during Homework Help that includes veggies and dip, fruit, cheese, crackers and other nutritious choices. At 5:30 pm, our kids are also offered a balanced meal supplied by Long Island Cares. The meals vary throughout the week and incorporate a protein, a carbohydrate, a fruit, a vegetable, and milk, providing the calories and nutrients needed by growing children.
Another important piece of learning about healthy eating at the Club is our cooking program. To encourage our kids to limit the amount of fast food they eat each week, we recognize that young people need to learn the ABCs of cooking simple, healthy and economic meals for themselves and their families. Our kitchen was designed to accommodate and to ensure the safety of our young chefs. In our Healthy Habits Program, our kids are given a chance to learn the basics and to gain hands on training in the kitchen.
It is also essential that our children make smart decisions when choosing a healthy snack. One local business is helping: the Rising Tide Natural Market in Glen Cove. Each month, Rising Tide awards Nutrition Competition gift certificates to the Club members who demonstrate the greatest consistency in eating fruit or vegetables at the Club. Photos of the winners are posted on our bulletin board and Facebook page. Combining a knowledge of nutrition with a proper balance of physical fitness and positive relationships, members of our Club are well on their way to reaching their full potential and to enjoying a healthy life.