Nutrition & Healthy Eating

Jiff juggling food

Want to learn more about healthy after school snacks?

Michigan 4-H programs encourage young people to think about the foods they eat. This includes taking positive steps to increase their intake of foods that will keep them healthy and where possible, helping them avoid foods that lead to unhealthy risk.

Teaching proper nutrition and healthy eating habits takes place in many different activities and forms throughout Michigan 4-H programming. By training teen and volunteer leaders, in ways such as giving them tools, recipes and activities, these individuals can work with youth to provide fun, positive, educational programs that encourage increased focus on healthy choices.

Jump Into Food and Fitness Curriculum

In the Jump Into Foods and Fitness (JIFFcurriculum, Jiff the Joey Kangaroo will teach youth ages 8 to 11 years old what he has learned about growing up strong and healthy by eating a balanced diet from the five food groups and getting plenty of physical activity. Jiff wants to be your guide through JIFF, to teach you about:

  • Plate for Health
    You’ll learn about how you can use My Plate to discover the best foods and fitness activities for you.
  • Go the Distance With Grains 
    Learn about the foods of the grain group by doing activities like the “Great Grain Obstacle Course” and make your own jump rope so you can hop, skip and jump your way to fitness.
  • High Five for Health
    Did you know that there are five kinds of fruits and vegetables? These super foods provide you with vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber – things that keep you healthy and strong. Learn more about these important parts of your daily diet and about ways to build your fitness through activities like the “Fitness Scavenger Hunt.”
  • Moooving and Motion 
    In “Muscle Mania,” explore the 12 muscle groups that are important to keep you moving and active. You’ll also learn about the foods that provide the vitamins and proteins that help build and repair these muscles.
  • Power Up the Day:
    Learn how eating a nutritious breakfast gives you the energy you need to start your day right. Explore how morning fitness activities can give you even more power for your day!
  • On the Go 
    When you’re on the go, snacks can provide the energy you need. You’ll learn about how you can create healthy snacks using the five food groups, and you discover “activity snacks” you can use to improve your fitness.
  • Choices for Good Health 
    Learn to read the labels on foods so you can make your best nutrition choices. You’ll also design a game using your own fun movement activities.
  • Celebrating JIFF 
    It’s a nutrition and fitness party! Celebrate what you’ve learned in JIFF by creating your own goals for future fitness and eating choices.

Through your time with JIFF, you’ll also learn about food safety, including the importance of washing your hands to “slam dunk germs” and the safest ways to store the foods you eat.

Jiff stretchingWant to Get Involved With JIFF?

JIFF the Joey invites you to participate in a JIFF session in your area! Contact your county Michigan State University Extension office to see which foods and fitness programs they have available.

JIFF Helps You Take Action!

After you have learned more about healthy and active living, you can put your ideas into action! Decide on one or two nutrition or physical activity goals to start this week and write them on a large sheet of paper. Decide with your family where you can put them so you will see them every day! JIFFthe Joey Kangaroo sometimes keeps goal sheets on the refrigerator, bathroom mirror or at eye level on a door.

Now develop your JIFF Plan of Action to make your goals happen for you! Your actions may be dancing during TV commercials, trying new food choices, starting to jump rope or skate, or joining a sports team! Use the JIFF Eating and Physical Activity Goal Sheet to “jump start” into action!

Jiff playing basketballJiff the Joey wants you to remember:

Build strong bodies and brainpower with . . .

Snacking choices such as fresh and dried fruit; crunchy veggies; whole grain crackers, tortillas or pita; cheese chunks or yogurt; granola, nuts or cereal


Physical activity choices such as playing active games with friends; jumping rope or hula hooping; playing basketball or baseball; biking, skating or skateboarding; dancing or playing hopscotch.


For more information on how to get involved as a youth or volunteer, contact your county MSU Extension office or:

Michelle Neff, Extensoin Educator
Phone: 989-539-7805

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