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Camps Help Kids Get Slice of Good Nutrition

June 19, 2008

By Jessica Marcy, The Roanoke Times, Va.

Jun. 19–Jeanie Redick thinks it’s unfair what a number of kids are forced to eat these days: prepackaged, artificial, fatty gunk with too much sugar, too much dye and too little nutritional value.

The Roanoke County nutritionist and mother of five has a fun solution to the dietary problems many kids face: nutrition camp.

This summer, Redick will host eight nutrition camps at her private practice, Eat for Life, on Brambleton Avenue. They will examine a variety of topics such as proteins, fats and sports nutrition. The first camp started Tuesday, and they will continue through August.

Redick started the camps five years ago with Jennie Schafer, a student at Virginia Tech who is working on her registered dietitian degree. The two women met while Redick was giving a talk about sports nutrition at Roanoke College, where Schafer was a student and basketball player at the time.

This year, the camps are short so that they can fit into people’s busy summer schedules.

Redick thinks the camps are especially important because many kids struggle with weight issues. She says they encourage kids to be “little detectives” about their food choices by reading product labels.

“It opens up their little brains,” Redick said.

She became seriously interested in nutrition after she and her son both struggled with health issues 20 years ago. She went to a nutritionist who helped her make important changes in her and her son’s diets.

She then trained to become a certified nutritionist to help more people and has studied at the American Health Science University and the National Institute of Nutritional Education. She has been in private practice offering nutritional counseling since 1999 and also offers support groups and cooking classes for healthful eating.

“Food can be your medicine,” Redick said. “Eliminating certain foods and adding others can really make a difference in their health.”

Nicole Quinn knows that through her own experience.

The Roanoke County mother struggled with serious gastrointestinal issues. For a long time, she said she couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

She experienced pain anytime she ate something fatty and started losing weight uncontrollably. She also felt intensely fatigued.

She said she began seeing Redick for nutritional counseling and received very specific recommendations about what to eat. She regained her energy and gradually began to incorporate different foods into her diet. And she got her entire family involved in the process.

Quinn signed her daughter Madeline, 7, up for one of Redick’s nutrition camps last summer. Madeline enjoyed learning different nutritional lessons, such as the difference between good and bad fats, and how to prepare different recipes, including how to make smoothies.

This summer the mother-daughter duo plan to enroll in one of Redick’s cooking classes in August about how to pack healthful lunches.

Quinn praised the camps as a wonderful way to get kids involved in their own food choices.

“I think it’s just working together and giving your kids the right ammunition,” Quinn said.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Roanoke Times, Va.

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