State parks offer better food options to keep kids healthy

BUCKHORN, Ky (WYMT) - A recent study revealed that kids gain weight three times faster during the summer than any other time of year.

That information coupled with recent data from the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, which found that almost 40% of children in the state are overweight or obese, could spell trouble for Kentucky's kids.

That is why the Kentucky Department of Parks started the Better Bites nutrition program.

It began in Lexington and now is used at all 17 state park restaurant locations around the state.

Tami Patton is with the Buckhorn Lake State Park in Perry County.

She said the new nutrition guidelines are a great way to keep kids healthy when visiting the park.

"We are recreational parks and so that kind of fits really well with what we are doing," said Patton.

Patton said often times children will participate in activities like swimming and hiking only to over eat afterwards.

"Even though we tend to go to the pool and we tend to do all these things, we tend to eat more than we would have done if we had not done those things," said Patton.

The healthier food items include: turkey sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheeseburgers on wheat bread and fruit and vegetable sides.

Alexis Smith is nine years old and is vacationing at the state park with her family.

She tried the new menu items Tuesday and said she would never have known her lunch was healthy.

"The cheeseburger I just ate was delicious and I want to try it more often," said Smith.

She said it is nice to know the park is looking out for her health because she knows how important it is to eat right.

"I try to stay healthy so I can be strong," said Smith.

Her father, Mike, echoed her sentiments.

He said any help he can get in promoting healthy habits with his kids is appreciated.

"I think it is great that the parks are offering healthy foods and it is always good to come to the park," said Smith.

The Buckhorn Lake State Park has offered the healthier food choices since June.


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