Summer Camps and Meal Plans: Making Recovery Work

Summer camp

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Director of Content and Social Media at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Following a meal plan is often an important aspect of eating disorder recovery. This tool can provide the much-needed structure to ensure that you or the person you care for is getting consistent and adequate nutrition intake on a daily basis.

Following a meal plan structure can also help give framework and structure, which is particularly needed when reestablishing a normal relationship with food.

Working with a dietitian as part of your recovery from an eating disorder can help you better understand your own individual meal plan.

Learning How to Incorporate All Foods

Many people may fear that following a meal plan means having to stick to eating only certain foods, however, quite the opposite is true.

A meal plan in eating disorder recovery encourages the consumption of all foods within a structure that feels safe.

This is often needed when a relationship with food has previously been chaotic and/or out of control. Learning to follow a meal plan make be difficult initially, but with time and practice, it often will become second nature feeding your body adequately.

Working With Changing CircumstancesSummer Camp Fun

Summertime often brings change to normal routine, which can be caused by vacations, trips, summer camp and more. If you have a child in eating disorder recovery who is venturing on a summer camp trip, be sure to work with your child’s treatment team to determine if this type of activity is appropriate for them at this time.

Your child should be at an outpatient level of care for a significant amount of time, should be cleared of any medical/psychiatric issues, and weight stable before taking any length of time away from treatment.

Even if all these requirements are met, it still may be deemed necessary by the treatment team to follow a prescribed meal plan while in the phases of recovery. If your child is following a meal plan and unsure how to meet their nutritional requirements while at camp, be sure to discuss these concerns with your dietitian.

Ensuring that your child is having adequate meals and snacks while at camp will continue to be an important part of their recovery. This may take some creativity, but finding ways to meet meal plan requirements can happen successfully with planning ahead.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are some of the ways you can incorporate unfamiliar foods into your meal plan?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 8, 2016
Published on