Healthy drinks at 4-H club meetings

When youth and adults come together for club meetings, normally a snack and drinks are included in the meeting. This article will explore some different ways to incorporate healthy drink options for 4-H club meetings.

Many times at the beginning of the year, a 4-H club may split up the duties of who is going to bring a snack or food to each meeting throughout the year. According to Michigan State University Extension, this is a great planning exercise to do with youth, and it gives them the responsibility to bring something to a club meeting.

To make sure that what is brought to share for club meetings is healthy, it is important to discuss with them what some healthy drink options are.  Leaders can facilitate a brainstorming session and have members share their favorite healthy drink. These ideas could be captured on a white board or in the notes.  You could also do this activity again and have youth come up with drinks that are not as healthy and should be avoided at 4-H club meetings. Once the lists are done, have members compare them and see if there are things that need to be changed.

If youth have lots of questions about some of the healthy suggestions, it might be a good idea to invite a speaker to a club meeting for a “Re-think Your Drink” presentation. A nutrition educator could come in and talk about common drinks and what type of nutrition is in them.

Healthy drink options:

  • Milk (Low Fat or Skim)
  • Chocolate milk (Low Fat)
  • Water
  • 100% Fruit juice (any variety)
  • Smoothies (blended fruit, vegetables)
  • Unsweetened ice tea

Drinks to avoid:

  • Pop
  • Fruit punch
  • Lemonade
  • Energy drinks

Water is one of the best and most reliable options for drinks at club meetings. You could bring some cut up lemons, limes, oranges or cucumbers to put in the water. It adds some natural flavor to the water and is a great low-cost alternative to juice.

If you are looking for more ways to make your 4-H club meetings healthy, visit a series of articles about healthy living programming in 4-H club meetings.

To learn more about Michigan 4-H Youth Programs or how to join, visit your local MSU Extension office.

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