Getting healthy in 4-H with nutrition - snacking

Learn easy steps 4-H clubs can take to get healthy through snacking.

Getting healthy through 4-H can be easy to do. Michigan State University Extension understands the importance of this topic for 4-H as the program participants are committing to health as part of their 4-H pledge. There also additional concerns about increased rates of childhood obesity -- research shows that children who are not now overweight may be developing habits that can lead them to be overweight in the future.

All children can learn the skills to be healthy and their involvement in 4-H can help. Clubs can follow these simple steps to follow their pledge to health for better living.

Step 1 – Make a club commitment to change how you are snacking to enjoy healthy snacks and beverages.
Step 2 - Can the members think of snack ideas that their families could take turns bringing?
Step 3 - Set clear guidelines that families can follow in bringing refreshments.
Step 4 - Talk as a club about the health benefits of the foods and beverages you are now having as snacks. Are members noticing any changes in how they feel with the healthy snacks at their meetings?

Some general ideas are to offer healthy drinks like low-fat milk or water. Avoid high-sugar and high-fat foods and offer nutrient-rich and high-fiber foods like veggie slices with low-fat dip or dressing, low-fat yogurt fruit parfaits or whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese instead.

Clubs may want to even consider electing a health officer to help their group follow through with their commitment to health. Cornell University has a Choose Health Officer Guide and Choose Health 4-H Leader Guide with can help groups learn how to incorporate this new important role.

By incorporating simple changes 4-H clubs can easily follow their pledge to health.  For more information about resources available through Michigan 4-H Youth Development contact your local MSU Extension office.

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