Karol Osborne | 6/26/2018 8:14:19 PM
(06/26/2018) BATON ROUGE, La. — A team of 4-H members aiming to help teens learn to make healthier nutrition and fitness decisions staged a Healthy Snack Night event for more than 1,200 of their peers attending 4-H University held June 19-21 on the LSU campus.
“We talk a lot about moving toward a healthier state and how individually it is all about making small changes,” said Bridget Seghers, 4-H Food and Fitness Board member from St. Tammany Parish.
“We tried to come up with ideas that were simple and incorporate different aspects of the MyPlate lessons,” said Chloe Morris, Food and Fitness Board member from St. Mary Parish.
The special event was featured following an evening assembly and offered teens a chance to learn how to prepare four healthy snack options, including salsa, hummus, pudding in a bag and microwave popcorn.
“I love how they are promoting healthy eating to all ages, starting with youth, so we will carry the lesson through our lifetime,” said Zack Duncan, a 4-H member from Avoyelles Parish.
Teens took turns making fresh salsa and hummus on bicycle pedal-powered blenders, practiced safe food preparation skills and learned how to follow a recipe as part of the hands-on demonstrations.
It was a good experience for 4-H’ers to try some new and healthful foods. “There are all kinds of restaurants around, but they don’t offer many healthy options,” said Iberia Parish 4-H’er Gavyn Stevens.
“This salsa is good — better than most restaurants,” added Franklin Parish 4-H’er Laura Walters
The teens hope to encourage their peers to try new foods and eat more freshly prepared foods rather than processed foods that are high in sugar, sodium and fat.
“Tonight will be the first time a lot of people will try hummus, so it’s exciting to be able to introduce that,” Seghers said.
After trying some of the snack options, teens chose from a variety of freebies to take home, such as digital fitness bands, body mass index (BMI) calculators, pedometers, stop watches, flying discs, footballs and towels.
Students preparing for college collected tips on dorm life, including a healthy dorm menu with simple and inexpensive recipes, an essential pantry grocery list and helpful dorm must-have tools and equipment.
LSU AgCenter extension associate Jessica Stroope said the project was developed by a team of 10 teens and five adult leaders who attended the National 4-H Healthy Living Summit held at the National 4-H Center in Washington, D.C., in February and made possible by a Walmart 4-H Healthy Habits grant.
The team wrote a mini grant proposal and received an award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to provide the initial funding to implement their idea, Stroope said.
“We learned what other states have done, and after seeing presentations of those successful programs, we were inspired to make a change in our state,” Seghers said.
Rapides Parish team member Mattie Cedars said she hopes the Healthy Snack Night activities can be incorporated in future training programs so other teens can take the program to their communities.
“We would like to offer mini camps throughout the state,” said Trevion King, a Rapides Parish 4-H member who attended the summit and served on the planning team.
The RWJF Youth Health Action Plan Mini-Grants are designed to build youth leadership capacity in identifying community health needs, planning an intervention, implementing the action plan and evaluating the results, Stroope said.
The Louisiana Department of Health Healthy Louisiana program, the Dairy Alliance Fuel Up to Play 60 program and the Walmart 4-H Healthy Habits program co-sponsored the event.
Webster Parish 4-H’ers Tammy Edwards and Ashuntee Simmons sample pudding in a bag they made at a Healthy Snack Night event during 4-H University on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge on June 20. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter.
Trevion King, a Rapides Parish 4-H teen leader, assists teens making shaker pudding at a Healthy Snack Night event during 4-H University on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge on June 20. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter.
4-H Food and Fitness Board member Bridget Seghers, of St. Tammany Parish, distributes digital fitness bands at a Healthy Snack Night event during 4-H University on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge on June 20. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter.