Okanagan College instructor Kelsey Galt is ready to change the way kids think about food

Okanagan College instructor Kelsey Galt is ready to change the way kids think about food

Kids invited into the kitchen

Cooking classes for children are one of the highlights of this summer's Camp OC day camps at Okanagan College

Kelsey Galt has always been interested in eating healthy and staying fit.

The holistic nutritionist and owner of Basket Case Picnics attributes this interest to her upbringing and the fact that she has been an athlete for much of her life.

“I was a competitive snowboarder — to compete at that level you need to take care of your body and ensure you’re getting the right nutrition,” said Galt.

After her snowboarding career ended, Galt thought about becoming a dietician but decided to study holistic nutrition instead. She was drawn to the principal philosophies of the field: prevention over treatment, and the idea that each person deserves an individual and holistic approach.

“Holistic nutrition is about so much more than simply food — although of course that’s a large part of it — the idea that food can be healing,” she said. “We also look at supplements, and lifestyle is a major piece of the puzzle.”

Galt is a graduate of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Vancouver. During her studies, she deepened her understanding of the role food plays in health, as well as learning how many physical symptoms are rooted in stress and how important it is to include activities like yoga that help “de-stress.”

“I think many people have lost a connection with food because of the fast-paced environments we live in,” said Galt. “We really only scratch the surface when we talk about ‘this food is good for you, this food isn’t.’ That’s not enough. My goal is to educate people about how essential food is to their health and help them get back in touch with their connection to the earth and where food comes from.”

Galt is bringing her passion for healthy eating to Camp OC at Okanagan College this summer, where she will teach two camps: The Independent Chef and Travelling Taste Buds, for kids entering Grades 4 to 7.

“We’ve got to start with kids. That’s why I’m so excited to be teaching at Camp OC this year,” she said. “We’re going to start in the garden and see where food comes from. The kids are going to pick it, chop it, prepare it and ultimately enjoy it more.

“I think it’s crucial that kids develop that sense of pride and feel like they’re in control.”

The Independent Chef runs July 18 to 22, Travelling Taste Buds runs Aug. 8 to 12, both at the Vernon Campus. Galt plans to share with campers her love of food from other places that she developed while travelling all over Europe, as well as the experience she’s gained working in the food industry for years.

Galt has run her own custom catering business — Basket Case Picnics — for the past four years. Basket Case Picnics started out in farmers’ markets with a food truck, branched into private catering, and is now a Culinary Service Partner with Okanagan College — offering daily food services and event catering at the Kal View Café.

“Kelsey is definitely impressive,” said Cindy Meissner, program coordinator of Camp OC in Vernon. “She has the education and the experience to back her up – much like many of our Camp OC instructors.”

Meissner said all Camp OC instructors match industry experience and expertise with a camper’s area of interest. The instructor for Jr. Passion for Fashion is a Canadian designer and owns her own design and retail store; a professional photographer will be teaching the Kids with Cameras camp. The Camp OC instructor for Metal Fabrication and Building with Wood is an industrial teacher in the Vernon School District.

“But I think what makes Kelsey unique is her obvious passion for what she’s doing,” said Meissner. “Whether it’s serving up delicious food in the Kal View Café here on campus or arming kids with that oh-so-important life skill of cooking for themselves, Kelsey really is on a mission to change the way we think about food.”

For more information about Camp OC at Okanagan College, see www.campoc.ca