Food Projects

2018 State Fair 4-H Culinary Challenge!

Challenge Ingredient for 2018 - BEEF! Did you know there are four times as many cattle in Nebraska to people? Beef  is the state’s single largest industry and the engine that powers the state’s economy. The multiplied impact of the $6.5 billion in cattle sales each year is $12.1 billion. Cattle-related employment means income for businesses up and down main street in towns and cities across the state. In short, the beef cattle industry has an unmistakable impact on other economies in Nebraska

What recipe can you challenge yourself with? Check out these resources from the Nebraska Beef Council for tips and tricks cooking with beef!

The purpose of the 4-H Culinary Challenge is to:

  • Demonstrate Healthy Decision Making - Through Nutrition, Menu Planning, Food Prep, And Food Safety
  • Apply Healthy Living Knowledge And Skills
  • Showcase Skills
  • Highlight Knowledge By Utilizing Technology 

 Youth ages 10 - 18 are eligible to participate. The 4-H'er must be enrolled in a Foods and Nutrition project and compete in teams of two. 4-H'ers are challenged on the theme, tablesetting, menu, use of the 2018 Challenge Ingredient of BEEF, the interview with the judge, and use of technology during the tableside presentation. The team will prepare one food item off the menu to present to the judge. For more information regarding the contest, please contact your local Extension office.

Use your imagination to create the perfect 4-H Culinary Challenge! 

Check out our Pinterest Page for recipe ideas and how to work with the Challenge Ingredient!

 Some additional resources include the following:

 Polk County Culinary Challenge Contest Guide

Lancaster County 4-H Tablesetting Contest Procedures and Guidelines

4-H Culinary Challenge Event Flyer

4-H Culinary Challenge Event Contest Description

4-H Culinary Challenge Event Contest Scoresheet

4-H Culinary Challenge Participant's Letter

Register HERE by August 10th by 5 p.m. CST for the 2018 Culinary Challenge Contest! 




4-H Food and Nutrition Curriculum

4-H projects can be delicious and nutritious! Nebraska 4-H Food and Nutrition Projects help youth learn about how to have the right recipe for success. Plan, prepare, and present your 4-H Food and Nutrition  Projects. Check out our online catalog for Nebraska Food and Nutrition 4-H Curriculums.

For all 4-H projects, Project Resource Central offers lots of exciting and educational projects for 4-H'ers to choose from.

Nebraska 4-H projects that focus on Healthy Lifestyle Education include the Project Activity Guides below:


Fast Foods 4-H projectFast Foods!

  • Learn how to cook nutritious meals, using MyPlate, quickly and with few ingredients.
  • Find out more about nutrition, substitutions, food equivalencies, tools and terms involved in cooking
  • Explore the art of menu planning

Food preservation 4-H projectsFood Preservation

  • Learn how to dry, freeze, can and preserve foods for future use
  • Can fruits and vegetables
  • Make jams and jellies

6 Easy Bites 4-H ProjectSix Easy Bites

  • Learn about MyPlate
  • Discover the basics of microwaving
  • Make muffins, cookies, and quick breads
  • Make your own cola

Tasty Tidbits 4-H ProjectTasty Tidbits

  • Find out about sports nutrition
  • Make a main dish in the oven or on the stove
  • Freeze vegetables
  • Understand the role of a food scientist

You're the Chef 4-H ProjectYou're the Chef

  • Find out about sports nutrition
  • Make a main dish in the oven or on the stove
  • Freeze vegetables
  • Understand the role of a food scientist

Food Works 4-H ProjectFoodworks

  • Alter recipes to make them more nutritious
  • Make a double-crusted apple pie
  • Learn what to do when the freezer stops
  • Make jelly and peanut butter


Career Exploration

Youth interested in 4-H Foods projects may be interested in the following careers:

  • Counseling and Mental Health Services
  • Extension Educator
  • Family and Community Service
  • Food Chemist
  • Food Safety Inspector
  • Restaurant and Food/Beverage Services
  • Therapeutic Services

To see how you might fit into a foods related career, check out the University of Nebraska - Lincoln's Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences for some exciting possibilities!


discover 4-H banner


discover 4-H banner

Contact Information

image of Amy peterson

Questions or comments about the Youth/4-H site? Email Amy Peterson, MS, RD. 

Cooking Up Some Educational Resources

food projects for judging

Teaching youth how to do some baking. Use these resources as teaching tools for your 4-H Baking Classes!

Cooking with Kids - Baking Basics

Making cookies with your child is ofter the beginnings of a new chef! View this presentation to see what really makes a cookie a culinary favorite!

Making muffins aren't as easy as it may seem! Use this program to help teach your youth about the mystery of tunnels in the muffins and more!

Baking with Yeast

For youth learning how to bake with yeast, Baking Bun Fun can help teach 4-H'ers the science behind the cinnamon and the sugar, with a tasty treat as a reward! Try the World of Wheat Science to understand the basics of breadmaking - in a no-fuss bag! Lots of fun for everyone, and delicious and healthy, too!<%