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Healthy School Snack Ideas

Youth prepare salsa

Youth making blender salsa during Leon County’s 4-H Culinary Camp

Are you having a tough time finding kid-approved snacks?  With a little extra planning, you can add extra fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your child’s diet.  The following snacks can be included in lunch, enjoyed as an after school snacks or as a great addition to any 4-H club meeting!

Stovetop Popcorn
It’s quick, easy, delicious AND a whole grain. Stove top popcorn is delicious just with a sprinkle of salt, but kids can get creative by adding toppings like sugar/cinnamon, Parmesan cheese or lemon zest with pepper.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends making half of your grains whole grains each day.  Here’s a simple stovetop popcorn recipe for you to try.

Snack Mix
This is another great way to get kids involved in creating their own snack mix using a variety of items.  The key is to change it up every few weeks to keep kids interested. Suggested items include: chex mix, dried blueberries, raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts, pretzels, whole grain crackers, popcorn, and more. Use this snack mix recipe as inspiration.

Fruit or Vegetable Kebabs
Kids can help put together this great afterschool snack. For fruit kebabs, try grapes, apples, blueberries or kiwi. For vegetable kebabs, try green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes or yellow squash. They can be simple with only two items such as strawberry and pineapple or cherry tomatoes and broccoli. You can dip the fruit kebabs in vanilla yogurt or drizzle them with honey. A side of ranch or hummus pairs perfectly with vegetable kebabs. The key is to purchase fruits and vegetables that are in-season to make this snack budget friendly. Here is a resource to find out what is in season in Florida.

Hummus
Let’s be honest, hummus and vegetables might not be at the top of the list of your kid’s favorite snack item. The key is to allow kids to make the hummus and serve it with a variety of items to dip. You can dip carrots, celery, radishes, pretzels, or crackers in hummus.  Hummus can be made ahead and stored for a few days sealed tight in the fridge. Here is my favorite hummus recipe.

Blender Salsa
Here’s another fun way to get kids in the kitchen to make a perfect snack for after school. You can put together this recipe in less than 5 minutes – it’s so easy  Try this basic blender salsa recipe, but feel free to add your own inspiration by adding extra ingredients.

Smoothies
Endless recipes make smoothies a great after school snack. You can even pack a smoothie for lunch. To ensure the smoothie stays nice and cold, place the thermos in the freezer the night before. In the morning, pour the freshly made smoothie into the frozen thermos.  A personal favorite smoothie of mine is: 1 frozen banana, 1 cup milk, 1 scoop of peanut butter, 1 small scoop of cocoa powder and a handful of spinach. The spinach blends right in (you can’t even taste it), and the cocoa powder hides the color of the spinach.

Whole Grain Muffins
Whole grain muffins are an easy snack to make ahead and enjoy throughout the week. Muffins freeze well and still taste delicious when thawed. You can make chocolate chip, strawberry, blueberry, banana, pumpkin and more. Muffins can also be used as a quick breakfast while you are running out the door. For some extra protein, just add some nut butter, such as peanut or almond. Here is a delicious whole grain blueberry muffin recipe.

To learn more about 4-H’s healthy living goal, find your local UF/IFAS Extension office.

 

Putting Hands to Larger Service into Action

Hands to Larger Service…a perfect description of the amazing teens of the Jefferson County 4-H Teen Council.

Teens stand with yard tools in front of a yard they are cleaning.

The hardworking Jefferson County 4-H Teen Council.

The naturally curious Jefferson 4-H County Council put their best foot forward as they volunteered in Panama City on Saturday, October 20. The teens spent the entire day moving and piling tree limbs, garbage, housing debris and miscellaneous items.  These resilient teens worked around utility workers, fallen power line, utility poles and even worked through the rain.

“It was very devastating,
said Sierra.

Sarah added, “The devastation that we saw was unreal compared to what we’ve seen broadcasted on the news.”

“It was just amazing to witness,” Crandall added.

After spending the day in Panama City, Jada Mosley says that the trip home to Jefferson County served as a time to reflect on all they had witnessed in the city. “I was very grateful,” said Jada.

“These teens have displayed practical application of Extension’s youth leadership to the Disaster Relief efforts. They displayed service above self,” reports John Lilly, Jefferson County Extension Director.  “This experience gave the council real-world hands-on learning that will prepare them for future disasters.”

People pose as a group

Homeowner and Bay County 4-H Agent with her clean-up crew.

 

Hurricane Michael was particularly hard on the Extension family because it affected so many of our own including every member of the UF/IFAS Bay County Extension office.

 

 

John Lilly, Jefferson County CED & 4-H Agent


Special thanks to John Lilly, UF/IFAS Jefferson County Extension Director & 4-H Agent for providing this article and pictures.

 

 

 

FALLING INTO A FA-BOO-LOUS OCTOBER

Youth dressed as a green 4-H clover

A happy 4-H member’s smile is contagious in this face-friendly clover costume.

While Walmart has already jumped to Christmas season, many parents are still scrambling to figure out their children’s costume for October’s Halloween party.   Now, all of us have the cutest pumpkins in the pumpkin patch, but none of our children want to dress up as pumpkins anymore!  Gone are the simple days of our generation when white sheets with eye holes were the extent of our Halloween attire.

With the hectic schedule of the world and the complicated costumes of today, here are a few guidelines to follow when helping children choose Halloween costumes (and keep them safe safety during the spooktacular holiday season).

This little pumpkin has comfortable walking shoes for trick or treating.

If it Fits, it Flies Past Inspection

While cute or scary may be what the children are striving for, well-fitting costumes should be the goal for all parents. Ill-fighting costumes are a disaster waiting to happen.  Costumes that hang loosely become a distraction.  Capes, gowns, or any material in length that drags the ground can be a tricky thing to maneuver at any age so be sure to trim above the ankle.  Speaking of ankles, shoes that are too high can cause unexpected hospital visits so keep shoes low to the ground and comfortable to walk in.  Children (and parents) do a lot of walking to collect their candy treats.  Shoes that are too large or too small can cause blisters and cranky children, all things to avoid on a fun night.

Can You See Me Now?

One of the scariest things about Halloween is not what you can see but what you can’t see!  Not being able to see children in costume in poorly lit areas of the neighborhood can be scary for adults.  Parents, remedy this by using inexpensive reflective paint or tape to make children’s costumes visible or giving them glowsticks to wear or flashlights to hold.

Be sure to think about if your children can see well in their costumes.  Masks can be difficult to wear if they don’t fit well.  Be sure that eye and breathing holes are extra-large.  If a costume can be complete without a mask, consider skipping it and use makeup.  If costumes are come with hats, scarves, or capes, secure them down with velcro to keep from hitting others.

Does my Makeup Look OK?

Children love face paint and makeup, and hair dye appears to be the latest trend.  Halloween seems a good fit for these outlets, but use them with caution.  More and more children are sensitive to pigments found in everyday items – makeup included.  Your children may be going for the spooky look but not at the risk of it being itchy and painful.  If your children will be using face paint, makeup and/or hair dye, do a simple test run at least a week before use to ensure there are no allergies to the ingredients.

Accessorize Everything…Or Not
Girl with face painted like a skeleton

Makeup that does not obstruct children’s view is essential to their safety.

You’ve probably heard that “accessories make the outfit,” but in the case of Halloween and children, accessories can be highly overrated.  Parents usually end up carrying the accessories that went with their children’s costumes before the night is over.  But if children insist their outfits are not complete without a Ninja sword or Katniss Everdeen’s bow and arrow, be sure they are easily distinguished toys.  Those accessories should be soft and flexible.

Spooktacular Adventure Awaits!

Whether you get into Halloween with costumes or not, these tips are good reminders for all of us to look out for children and keep them safe.  Enjoy the upcoming holiday seasons!

To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills to your children or to volunteer your time to work with children in your area, please contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.

2018 4-H Chick Chain Results

2018 4-H Chick Chain

The final link in the 4-H Chick Chain project closed on Saturday as 4-H members from the northwest extension district participated in a showmanship and skill-a-thon contest and brought their best birds for judging.

Skill-a-Thon Seniors

Skill-a-Thon Juniors

Skill-a-Thon Intermediates

Showmanship –  This tests youth on how knowledgeable they are about the care, nutrition and health of their project and how they handle their bird.

Junior Showmanship – 1st Taylor Anderson,
2nd Tucker Padgett, 3rd Emma Weeks

Intermediate Showmanship – 1st Catherine Proud, 2nd David Marr, 3rd Brodie Price

Senior Showmanship – 1st Kearsten Dalton, 2nd Hailey Dalton, 3rd Brayden Price

 

Best of Breed winners

Exhibition – How the youth fed and cared for their projects was also put to the test as the birds were judged on breed characteristics and production potential.

Best of Breed Barred Rock – JaceBryan Broxson

Best of Breed Buff Orpington – Ethan Thornburry

Best of Breed Cochin – Brooks Marr

Best of Breed Cuckoo Maran – Kearsten Dalton

Best of Breed Speckled Sussex – Emma Fore

Best of Breed White Leghorn – Bella Price

 

 

Overall Grand Champion and Reserve Champion

Grand and Reserve Champions

From the Best of Breed winners, an overall grand champion and reserve champion were named.

Overall Reserve Champion – Emma Fore

Overall Grand Champion – Bella Price

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best of Show Production Bird

Best of Show Production

Youth who have participated in the 4-H Chick Chain in 2016 and 2017 also brought their best production birds to be judged.  Birds were judged on production elements.

Best of Show Production – Brayden Price

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skill-A-Thon

Skill-a-Thon Juniors

Skill-a-Thon Intermediates

Skill-a-Thon Seniors

Skill-a-thon is a hands-on way to test general knowledge of poultry including identifying breeds, setting up a brooder, reading a feed label, identifying common poultry diseases and identifying parts of the chicken.

 

 

 

 

Photography Top Senior

Photography

Our newest category youth this year included photography.  We had several entries featuring the birds at all ages of the project.

Best of Show Photography Senior – Hailey Dalton

 

 

 

 

 

Cloverbud Exhibitors

Cloverbuds

Our Cloverbud 4-H members are an important part of our project.  Even though they are non-competing, they participated in every aspect of the show, skill-a-thon and project books.

Be sure to like the 4-H in the Panhandle Facebook page to get the latest information on when registration for the 2019 4-H Chick Chain project will open.  There’s also a comprehensive list of all of the award winners from this year!

Thanks for participating

Hitting the Mark – 4-H Shooting Sports Volunteers Ready to Lead!

4-H Volunteers learn and practice the pre-shot routine so they can teach it to their youth.

4-H Volunteers learn and practice the archery pre-shot routine so they can teach it to their youth. Photo: Julie P. Dillard

Ready to Lead

Sixteen 4-H volunteers joined ranks with one of Florida 4-H’s largest projects by earning their Level One Shooting Sports Instructor certification September 8.  Training participants included 4-H volunteers and UF/IFAS Extension staff from Escambia, Holmes, Jefferson, Marion, Wakulla, Walton, Union and Alachua counties.  What sets 4-H instructor training apart from other shooting sports trainings is the focus on youth life skills and positive youth development as opposed to focusing only on skill mastery.

About Florida 4-H Shooting Sports 

The 4-H Shooting Sports Program teaches young people safe and responsible use of firearms, principles of archery and hunting basics.  Lifelong skill development is one of the main benefits of involvement in the 4-H Shooting Sports Program and applies to both youth and adults involved in the program.  Specifically, the 4-H Shooting Sports Program is designed to:

  • Provide youth proper training in the use of firearms, archery equipment, and other areas of shooting sports.
  • Provide thorough instruction in shooting sports safety.
  • Develop life skills such as self-confidence, personal discipline, responsibility, and sportsmanship
  • Create an appreciation and understanding of natural resources and their wise use.
  • Provide volunteer instructors safe and proper instructional techniques.
  • Show volunteer leaders how to plan and manage 4-H Shooting Sports Clubs.  (Culen et al, 2018).

Resources for Success

Establishing eye dominance is one of the first tasks of new member.

Establishing eye dominance is one of the first tasks of new member. Photo: Julie P. Dillard

It’s important to equip agents, volunteers and youth with the tools they need to succeed in the Florida 4-H Shooting .  To assist you in organizing the county shooting sports program, here are some resources from the 4-H State Shooting Sports Committee and Environmental Sciences Action Team:

State Match Information, Rules and Risk Management

Youth Project Books

Getting Organized

To learn more about your county shooting sports program, contact your local 4-H agent.

Wakulla 4-H Shooting Sports Club Leader, David Pienta, takes aim during shotgun instruction.  Volunteers practice peer teaching to get ready to teach 4-H youth.

 

Is this Extracurricular Right for my Child? Try this 10-Point Checklist

With so many extracurriculars available these days, parents and kids are overwhelmed with choices.

To choose the right one, know what to prioritize, says Heather Kent, associate director of the Florida 4-H youth development program, part of University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.

“The 4-H motto is ‘To make the best better.’ The research shows that kids are more likely to find success as adults when they feel confident and capable in the face of new challenges,” Kent said. “You want to find a program where kids can find their spark in a safe environment.”

So, when comparing extracurricular programs, keep this checklist in mind, Kent said.

  1. Does it help them do better in school?

Look for programs that complement a child’s day-to-day school work. “Each 4-H activity has an educational component to it,” Kent said. “Compared to their non-4-H peers, 4-H youth report better grades, higher levels of academic competence and an elevated level of engagement at school.”

  1. Does it teach them how to speak up?

Give your child a chance to express him or herself to others. “4-H alumni often say that the public speaking skills they learned in 4-H have helped them throughout their careers, no matter which field they are in,” Kent said.

  1. Does it include STEM?

“One of the goals of 4-H is prepare young people for the workforce, which means introducing them to STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — through hands-on projects in areas like horticulture, robotics and embryology,” Kent said.

  1. Does it broaden their horizons?

“The members of a 4-H club may not all go to the same school or live in the same neighborhood. Meeting people who have different backgrounds from yourself expands your worldview,” Kent said.

  1. Is it a good return on investment?

Some programs give you more bang for your buck. “Annual registration for 4-H is $20, and there are scholarships available. That gives youth access to a wide variety of projects and events—everything from aerospace to agriculture. If not for their 4-H membership, they might have to join several other organizations to get all the same opportunities,” Kent said.

  1. Does it help them explore their interests?

“Finding a passion teaches youth about delaying gratification and taking pride in their work. That’s something they take with them into their careers,” Kent said.

  1. Does it develop organization skills?

Choose activities that require kids to stay on top of things and plan ahead. “For a project to be successful, 4-H members know they need to stay organized. For instance, you can’t raise a prize-winning animal without a plan for how you are going to reach that goal,” Kent said.

  1. Is it open to everyone?

Consider whether the whole family can participate. “4-H is open to both boys and girls ages 5 through 18. There is also collegiate 4-H and adult volunteering opportunities. Unlike other programs, 4-H is something everyone in the household can be a part of,” Kent said.

  1. Does it introduce kids to mentors?

Having adult role models who aren’t one’s parents is an important part of youth development, Kent said. “Our trained volunteers and Extension agents form a support system for 4-H members. Knowing that another adult cares about you is a big confidence boost and helps kids feel comfortable trying new things.”

  1. Is it well established?

Learn about the history of the program. “4-H has been around for more than 100 years, and it’s been researched and developed through the U.S. Land Grant university system. In Florida, there are more than 200,000 youth in 4-H, and each of them benefits from being a part this longstanding, well known organization,” Kent said.

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.eduand follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

by Samantha Grenrock – Sam is a public relations specialist at UF/IFAS Communications.   She loves animals, poetry and learning about science.

Shared with permission from the original author.