Week-long summer camp teaches kids about healthy eating


by Claudia Coffey


Posted on June 5, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 5 at 6:21 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Getting kids to eat their fruits and veggies is never an easy thing, but that's not the case for more than a hundred kids from area African American churches who are spending their week at culinary camp.

Inside the Sullivan University kitchen, it sounds more like a party than a cooking class. Kids from across the Metro area gathered around Chef Danielle Gleason's table to learn how to cook with fresh vegetables and fruits, and actually like it.

"I was thinking that it would be fun. What do you think today about making all this stuff? It is fun, " Marquis Johnson said.

The week long culinary camp, sponsored by the Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville's James Graham Brown Cancer Center, is designed to teach children how to make healthy snacks and meals.

One of the recipes they learned is home-made fruit drinks. One recipe has lemon , honey, strawberry and blackberry. The goal is for the children to enjoy a drink without all the sugar.

"The blackberry one was good but I liked the strawberry one," Johnson said.

They also learned a healthier way to make pizza. the "happy face" pizza recipe is made with all fresh ingredients and  kids get to choose their own veggie toppings.

"They put a couple on the table and they said we could do whatever we want. And we get our own half of the pizza. Then make it into little parts and we could put whatever we want on it and we could share it with other people," Joppa McDonald said.

WHAS11 asked, "What do you think about this how they taught you to cook with things so fresh? Did you think it would be this good?"

"No. I thought it was going to be kind of boring," McDonald said.

Many of the kids at the camp said they were surprised by the taste and that it was good for them.

The program is helping instill healthy eating habits, but more importantly, its aim is to reduce cancer rates among African Americans. One-third of all cancers are related to diet, according to the National Cancer Institute. African Americans suffer the greatest burden for each of the most common types of cancer. For all cancers combined, the death rate is 25 percent higher for African Americans.

The camp is part of the Harriet Porter Culinary Institute. Porter, a native Louisvillian and a cancer survivor, made it her mission to help kids understood healthy eating with the hopes that they could avoid living with cancer in the future.

"We wanted to be out in the community teaching and educating our community about things we can do to reduce the risk of cancer in our bodies . And one of the things is our nutrition, Our diet , we are what we eat," Virginia Bradford with  Community Outreach and James Graham Brown Cancer Center said.

The kids also learn about planting their own herb and veggie gardens.

The camp runs all week at Sullivan University. For more information about the healthy camp.  call 852-6318.