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Opinion & Essays - Jul, 2000 Issue #71 

Enough To Eat?
By Kristie Vollar
Bonners Ferry, Idaho

[The author is the daughter of Woodbury Reports publisher Lon Woodbury and his wife Denise. Kristie graduated from the Explorations Wilderness Assessment Course in 1993, and Mission Mountain School in 1994, both in Montana. She was inspired to write this article after participating in conversations with other parents while working at her fatherís office. Her presence there is a demonstration of the positive relationship that has evolved since she has returned from the above-mentioned programs.]

It is always important for parents to research a program before enrolling their child. Asking a multitude of questions about the program is a good way to find out important details and information. A frequent question is, ĎAre food rations adequate in these programs?í or, ĎWill my child have enough food to live?í I canít answer this question for all the programs out there, but I can answer it for mine and share my experiences.

The meals we ate on my wilderness expedition consisted of noodle dinners, rice and lentils, tuna and crackers, trail mix, and oatmeal. We also had cheese and peanut butter. We carried all of this food in hiking packs. We ate 3 times a day. For breakfast, we would make our oatmeal over the fire in pots that we also carried. We had one bottle of liquid butter, and one of us carried a bag of brown sugar to season the oatmeal.

In the morning, we would clean out our pots after making breakfast and boil our water. Each of us carried a one-quart water bottle on the trail, which we would fill between 2 and 4 times a day. Thatís Ĺ to one gallon of water every day.

For lunch, we would stop and have a can of tuna each, with cheese and crackers, and some trail mix. For dinner, we would all pitch in with a pack of Lipton dinner noodles, or some rice and lentils, cook it in one big pot and have enough for each of us to have two bowls of food. Of course, in the beginning, I felt a little hungry, but I had gone from eating snacks all the time, including chocolate, chips, and other junk foods, to eating three healthy meals every day.

On Solo, the staff members gave us enough ďrationsĒ to last for three days. I ran out before three days was up. They did bring us fresh water two times every, though, and checked up on us more often.

After my wilderness, I was at the residential program for a couple of weeks. We got plenty of food there. We ate three square meals every day.

A few days after I arrived at my residential program, the school nurse evaluated me. Based on my height, weight, and age, I was put on a food plan. I was re-evaluated two weeks later, and because I was still a little hungry, my food plan was raised to meet my needs. I was allowed to eat 1,850 calories each day. My food plan consisted of eight breads, five meats, three fruits, three veggies, three milks, and three fats. Believe it or not, that is a lot of food.

When we went on long ski trips, or did winter camping, our food plans were raised to give us more energy to keep warm. No one at anytime went hungry.

Since we were on a food plan, each of us was accountable to one or two food plan partners, who we needed to show our servings. We also wrote in a food plan book, everything that we ate, to ensure that the girls who wanted to avoid eating, did eat, and those of us who overate, couldnít.

In my case, I overate, partially to avoid dealing with my feelings and issues, or to console myself. At my school, I couldnít hide behind food like I used to do.

I was overweight when I arrived at my school, and by the time I left, I was at a medically healthy weight. The daily exercise combined with a strict food plan kept us healthy. We also carried one-quart water bottles with us everywhere and filled them often.

Like I said, I canít guarantee that every program has adequate food rations and it is important to ask each different program about its policies. If you donít feel confident that your child will get enough, find a program with which you do feel secure.

Copyright © 2000, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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