PALM SPRINGS – When was the last time your child went bananas over fresh fruit?
For the kids in the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs, “fresh” is the buzzword this summer.
“I didn’t really see a dissatisfied customer,” says Lois Bondurich, a part-time nutritionist. “There’s smiles on their faces, and they’re coming back for more.”
Healthy options were not always available. But recently, the Wal-Mart Foundation donated a hefty sum to the Boys & Girls Club of America. The Palm Springs chapter received $6,000.
The money could not have come at a better time during these tough economic times.
“It also helps our parents as well because they know when their kids come here, they don’t have to send a lunch or send money with them,” explains Dean Moore, the chapter’s executive director. “The club has something for them free of charge everyday, and it’s healthy.”
Many of the fruits these kids try are exotic to them, such as kiwis and white nectarines. But, there is a strategy to having kids eat what is served. Bondurich suggests cutting up the fruits and presenting them in a fun way.
“You see some funny looks on their faces when they first put in their mouths. It’s like a flavor explosion!” says Moore.
Most of the kids in the summer program receive at least two snacks and lunch per day. They may bring snacks from home, but usually these snacks are loaded with sugar and preservatives.
“You pack them with them with Kool-Aid and sugars, and it’s going to bounce them off the wall like a video game,” warns Bondurich.
The $6,000 has been split between the Kid’s Club and the Teen Center so that all age groups get nutritious meals.
School may be out for the summer, but it is never too late for kids to stay “fresh” all day.