While at Take Off 4-Health campers will eat three delicious, well-balanced, kid friendly meals a day, plus two snacks. The meals are based on menus and recipes used by the Eastern 4-H Center, but modified by ECU pediatric dietitians to ensure the meal offerings are healthy and meet the nutritional needs of growing adolescents.
Meals are served “buffet style,” not plated. Each food item is labeled as a green, yellow or red food according to the Stoplight Food Guide to help campers make healthy food choices. Campers are not limited in what they eat but are encouraged to apply what they have learned in class to real life situations. The buffet service is by design since teens have to independently make decisions about which foods and how much food to select in the school cafeteria and at home. Take Off 4-Health is a safe and easy place for campers to practice making healthy choices.
The campers are encouraged to use a "camper meal card" to guide them in an appropriate calorie range and number of servings per food group based on their age and gender. In addition to the camper cards, the nutrition classes provide guidance on appropriate portion size and selection of healthy foods.
A graduate student in Nutrition serves as a “Nutrition Coach.” The Nutrition Coach provides a mini lesson with each meal, reinforcing what was taught in class that day and also demonstrating the appropriate serving size for each food item being served at the meal. The Nutrition Coach also circulates in the dining hall at meal times, helping campers as needed with nutrition questions.