This post was sponsored by the National 4-H Council as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
4-H has been a big part of our life for the past couple of years. I didn’t participate in 4-H when I was a kid so I was clueless to what was included. Coming from a small farming town I was under the impression it was all about farming and animals. I was wrong.
After we attended our first 4-H 101 meeting we were all hooked. The girls had a blast learning about food and nutrition while I was in the next room learning about all 4-H had to offer. Science, nutrition, photography, and more. It was at that time I decided our homeschooling circles needed a 4-H club and I would be the leader; letting the kids take the lead as much as possible, of course.
The girls were Clover Kids last year so we spent a lot of time on the basics. We did several of the contests such as Speech and the Rocket Launch, plus we signed up and received the incubator for the embryology program for a month to hatch chickens and learn about eggs. This year I noticed that in addition to their more academic interests and how to tie dye clothes, food was on their radar.
This year the girls want to take part in the Table Toppers contest, bake something to enter in the fair, and they were looking at maybe growing some produce to enter. This has definitely gotten the in the kitchen cooking with me more. They love experimenting with new recipes and trying new food.
I love everything 4-H has to offer our family. It really is about getting kids, and families even, out in the world learning how things work, giving them the skills and knowledge they need to keep making the world a better place.
4-H Food Smart Families
In addition to the clubs, programs, contests, and educational resources, 4-H also does a lot for the community. They provide opportunities and encourage kids to get out in the community to volunteer. Since 2011, one of the amazing program opportunities 4-H offers in partnership with United Healthcare is 4-H Food Smart Families.
Almost 16 million children live in households that are food insecure. This means they don’t have consistent access to food year round. The Food Smart Families program works with these families to educate them on how to plan, shop for and prepare healthy meals.
In the past six years 340,000 youth and their families in 14 states have benefitted from healthy living programs provided by the partnership between United Healthcare and 4-H.
Teens as Teachers
While I was learning more about becoming a leader in 4-H it was emphasised to me not to separate the kids out by age. This allowed the older kids/teens to practice leadership and being a role model while helping the younger kids work through the projects. It really does promote community and I have met some amazing teens during our time with 4-H.
This same idea is implemented in the Food Smart Families program with the Teens as Teachers model. More than 400 teens have been trained to teach families to shop better and cook smarter. They are empowering their parents and serving as role models to younger children while they educate others on life-long healthy habits.
- 90% of youth participants now think being active is fun and good for fitness
- 89% now encourage their families to eat meals together
- 87% said their families have purchased healthier foods
- 86% now eat fruit for a snack over unhealthier options
Watching my own kids make healthy choices and participate in our food planning and preparation has put a smile on my face. I didn’t even consider looking at food labels until I was an adult. Here they are at a young age paying attention to what’s in their food and getting excited about growing our own produce as well as cooking with it. I couldn’t be happier, and I’m thankful the Food Smart Families program is out there for other families to participate in.
How are you helping your family to make smarter food choices? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.