Healthy living programming in 4-H Club meetings – Part 1

Part of the 4-H Pledge is “Health to Better Living.” Explore different ways to incorporate healthy living activities into your 4-H club meetings or county-wide events.

There are many components to developing healthy youth, and 4-H healthy living programming takes a holistic approach, focusing on healthy eating habits, physical fitness, the capacity to manage emotions, and the ability to develop and maintain positive relationships.

Leaders or teens can have a conversation with club members about what would be considered healthy snacks for them to eat at club meetings, encouraging healthy living and eating in their clubs. Create a list and then share the list with families involved in the 4-H Club so when it is their turn to bring snacks, they have healthy ideas to bring.

Some great healthy snack options include:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables (buy locally when possible)
  • Angel food cake
  • Pretzels
  • Hummus
  • Low fat yogurt
  • Trail mix, include nuts and seeds
  • Animal crackers
  • Low fat popcorn
  • Granola bars
  • String cheese
  • Sugar free gelatin or pudding

Calories and sugar are found in many popular drinks that youth like to drink. Leaders can help youth read the label of a pop or other sugary beverage to see how much sugar is inside. To covert grams to teaspoons, divide the number of grams of sugar by five (5). That is the number of teaspoons of sugar in that one serving. Again, brainstorm with them healthier alternatives to pop for club meeting beverages.

Here are some good examples of healthy beverages:

  • 100 percent fruit juice
  • Water
  • Milk
  • “Light” lemonade
  • Unsweetened iced tea

Healthy Living Programing is a mission mandate from the National 4-H Council. Making sure youth in Michigan 4-H programs are healthy is an important role for all 4-H club leaders to incorporate into club meetings.

Other articles in this series: 

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