Frozen banana ice cream. Black bean brownies. Juice pops made from fresh berries. At HealthBarn USA, healthy eating isn’t a summer fad—it’s a lifestyle. Founder Stacey Antine calls it “an immersion experience.”
HealthBarn USA was founded in 2005 by Antine, who holds a Master’s of Science in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics from New York University. A summer camp soon followed with a simple mission: Teach healthy eating habits to children growing up in a fast food culture.
Camp is open to children ages 5-15 and hosted at HealthBarn’s 10-acre Ridgewood campus, which opened in 2016 and includes a pond, hiking trails and playground. A typical day starts with children making breakfast and visiting the facility’s garden.
“There, they do their skill-based learning in terms of growing an organic garden and learning why that’s different from a conventional garden,” Antine says. “They will be harvesting and planting. It might be troubleshooting because there’s a bug problem, or we have a groundhog problem. There’s all sorts of dynamics happening in the garden.”
Once vegetables or fruits are harvested, campers are broken into teams to cook. “If a child likes to cook and bake, why miss the opportunity by making Rice Krispies Treats? Empower them in a place where they learn how to bake with natural ingredients or cook with fresh vegetables,” says Antine.
Another daily tradition is Value of the Day. That could be teamwork, kindness or patience. But like healthy eating, it’s not just a summer fling—it’s a lifestyle. They did it safely and successfully for camp 2020 and will follow COVID protocols again for camp 2021.
1057 Hillcrest Rd., Ridgewood