Girl Scouts change their eating habits while earning nutrition badges

June 16, 2004|EMILY TOADVINE

Boyle County Middle School student Abby Kerbaugh now drinks 1-percent milk or nonfat. Her classmate Kameron Collier rarely drinks a soft drink to quench her thirst after playing soccer.

"I haven't had one for two weeks," says Kameron, who tends to stick with water.

Kameron doesn't want to experience the sugar rush of drinking sweet beverages.

"It makes your blood sugar go up and down," she says.

Changes in the type of milk they prefer and drinks they take to sports practices occurred with the members of Girl Scout Troop 252 as part of information learned while earning their nutrition badges.

The vests worn by troop members, who will be seventh-graders in the fall, are covered with a variety of badges. After all, most of them have been earning badges since they were in Daisies in kindergarten. With sports and other diversions, keeping a troop together that long is seen as quite a feat by leaders Susie Allen and Scottie Collier. The troop initially had 18 members and now has nine.


Allen says it's important to be creative in finding ways to meet and support each other.

"One of the last things we did was go to see one of our Scouts in a play at West T. Hill Community Theatre," she says, referring to when they saw Kristyn Bastin in "Anne of Green Gables."

Collier agrees that sometimes it's a miracle to have the meetings.

"Meeting twice a month is like pulling teeth. I take four of them after this for soccer. Some of them go to swim."

The girls have done some cooking together, but it was a real eye-opener when member Kayla Steber's mother, Julie Steber, talked to them about nutrition. She gave them a blind taste test using different types of milk. The majority of the girls surprised themselves when they preferred skim milk.

"They said, 'We don't want to drink that nasty skim milk," Collier says.

Doing their bodies a favor

They are doing their bodies a favor by switching because of the fat content of other types of milk. A gallon of whole milk has 10 tablespoons of fat and a gallon of 2 percent milk has 6 tablespoons.

"Most of the girls' families were drinking whole milk," Collier says, noting that whereas some types of fat are desirable, the kind in milk clogs arteries.

As part of earning the badge, the girls also had to write down the last three meals they had eaten and how they fit in the food pyramid. They surveyed the school vending machines to decide how healthy the food is.

The study of nutrition has carried over onto the playing field. Several of the girls are involved in soccer and a sports nutritionist talked to players about avoiding sugary soft drinks.

Collier says they were surprised that a Mountain Dew contained 31 grams of sugar.

"That's 19 teaspoons of sugar. No wonder people are hyped up," she says, noting that the nutritionist recommends flavored water or plain water.

The Scouts haven't gotten to camp as much as they would like, but they know a few tried-and-true campfire recipes. They make Silver Turtles, which is pre-cooked chicken and vegetables wrapped in foil shaped like a turtle.

"We use cooked chicken and put it around the outside of the fire or on a grill on top," Collier says.

Of course, their years of experience have made them pros at make Trail Mix, a hiking standard.

"It's easy to carry around when you're camping," says Kameron Collier.

Allen says Trail Mix can be mixed to suit individual tastes.

"We do individual bowls and people can put what they want in it."

Trail Mix






Sunflower seeds

Can make individual bags by having each girl select quantity and items and put into a bag. Mix thoroughly by shaking bag. It's a great treat to take on a hike.

Droopy Eggs

This is a fun way to have girls make individual omelets without using a skillet.

Quart-size freezer-quality bags for cooking the eggs


Sausage links, cooked and sliced

Shredded cheese


Green peppers


Whatever ingredients you like in omelets

Salt and pepper

Crack one to two eggs into a bag. Mush up the eggs. Add desired ingredients in the bag. Close bag, but leave the air in. Place in a pot of boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes. Use tongs and remove. Open bag and place on plate. Enjoy.

Silver Turtles

(Easy version)

Bag of frozen, precooked chicken fajita strips, thawed

Canned vegetables such as sliced potatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, drained

Sliced mushrooms

Sliced onions

Butter, salt and pepper

Cheese and sour cream

Aluminum foil

Spray oil

Tear large enough piece of foil to enclose individual serving, at least a 12-inch section. Spray lightly with oil. Place chicken, any vegetables, butter, salt and pepper on top and seal foil to make a tight packet. Place in the coals of campfire or on top of a grill or in a 350-degree oven. Cook long enough to heat thoroughly, usually about 10 minutes. Place on plate and top with cheese or sour cream.

Imitation Apple Pie

2/3 pound graham crackers, crushed

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup sugar

3 small cans applesauce


Mix graham cracker crumbs with butter and sugar. Put in an 8- by 12-inch baking pan, except for 1/4 cup of mixture. Spread applesauce over crumbs. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs on top. Heat in oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot.

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