Food and Nutrition Project


The food and nutrition project helps participants learn to make healthy food choices, improve energy and alertness, reduce disease and illness risks, and gain knowledge of nutrients. Major learning experience are centered around nutrition, menu planning, food buying, preparation and food safety, careers, and cultural influences.


Throughout the Texas 4-H Youth Development Program, more than 120,000 youth participate in healthy lifestyles programs, encompassing the food and nutrition, health and safety projects.  Through food and nutrition project activities, youth learn to make healthy food choices, improve energy and alertness, and gain knowledge of nutrients.

Youth also learn how to improve physical, intellectual, emotional and social health through participation in the health project. Specifically, youth learn about the importance of physical activity, proper hygiene, dental care, healthy snacking, vaccinations and sleep. Knowledge of how to reduce disease and illness risks is also explored.  Participation in the Walk Across Texas Program helps youth establish the habit of regular physical activity.  Safety concerns related to health issues, such as first aid, CPR and emergency preparedness, are also addressed in the 4-H Healthy Lifestyles Program.

As a part of the learning experiences, youth also share with others what they have learned by presenting educational presentations to various groups and participating in community service activities that help promote good health practices in the community.


  • Serving Up My Plate: A Yummy Curriculum – link
  • Nutrition Voyage: The Quest To Be Our Best – link
  • Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness Youth Curriculum – link
  • Healthalicious Cooking – link
  • Eat Healthy, Be Active Community Workshops – link

Winning with Nutrition

The goal of implementing the Winning with Nutrition Curriculum is to provide youth athletes in the 7th thru 9th grades an opportunity to learn about proper nutrition, dietary needs, supplements, hydration and healthy methods to increase physical performance.

Balancing Food and Play

The Balancing Food & Play curriculum was designed to improve knowledge and behaviors related to snacking on fruits and vegetables, drinking milk with meals and water with snacks, encouraging at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and limiting screen time to two hours or less per day.  For more information on accessing the Balancing Food & Play curriculum, visit

Educational Opportunities

Walk Across Texas

Walk Across Texas is a free, eight week program designed to help people of all ages support one another to establish the habit of regular physical activity.  The program is implemented throughout the year in Texas counties.  Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has also partnered with the Texas Education Agency to offer Walk Across Texas to youth and employees in Texas school districts.  For more information on Walk Across Texas, visit

Educational Resources (Provided at Contest)

  • Altering Recipes for Good Health – PDF
  • FightBac – Fight Foodborne Bacteria Brochure – PDF
  • MyPlate – 10 Tips to a Great Plate – PDF
  • Nutrient Needs at a Glance – PDF

Contest Opportunities

Food Show

The Food Show allows participants to prepare a recipe at home and bring the day of the contest. Participants present the prepared dish to a panel of judges with a presentation and interview to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have gained in their Food & Nutrition project.


  • Practice and know recommended food preparation skills including food safety.
  • Understand connection of recipe to MyPlate food category.
  • Learn the nutrients in your dish and food category and the health benefits they provide to your body.
  • Explore the bounty of Texas grown and produced foods.

Food Challenge

More than 120,000 youth participate in the 4-H Food & Nutrition Project, learning how to prepare nutritious and safe meals and snacks and adopt behaviors that can help reduce their risk for chronic disease. The 4-H Food Chal­lenge is a “highly charged” foods experience. This contest, modeled after such competitions as the Food Network’s “Iron Chef,” challenges teams of 4-H members to create a dish using only a pre­determined number of ingredients. From these ingredients, team members must identify and prepare the dish, then make a presentation about it to the judges. The presentation will include information about the serving size, nutritional value, and cost of the dish. The 4-H Food Challenge allows 4-H members to demonstrate their culinary and food safety skills to judges and observers.


  • Provide an opportunity for each participant to exhibit their knowledge and skills when preparing and presenting a dish.
  • Provide an opportunity for each participant to learn from other team members and to promote teamwork.
  • Empower youth to participate in a public speaking role.
  • Provide leadership opportunities for youth.
  • Give 4-H members the opportunity to participate in a new exciting 4-H opportunity.

Healthy Lifestyles Invitational

The 4-H Healthy Lifestyles Invitational provides youth in the intermediate and senior age divisions the opportunity to participate in a competitive event and utilize the knowledge and skills gained through participation in 4-H healthy lifestyles programs. With a set-up similar to the Consumer Decision Making Contest, the healthy lifestyles invitational consists of two parts: (1) Judging – participants will be presented with a scenario and must individually rank the four products/choices based upon the situation at-hand; (2) Presentation – teams are presented with a scenario and must work together within a given amount of time to analyze the situation, develop a solution and make a team presentation to a panel of judges.

Nutrition Quiz Bowl

A Quiz Bowl helps 4-H members enhance and demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a competitive setting. The Quiz Bowl involves teams of three or four members. Two teams compete against each other at one time, answering questions related to the subject matter with the use of an electronic buzzer system. 

Healthy Lifestyles Sweepstake

The 4-H Healthy Lifestyles Sweepstakes provides an opportunity for youth, volunteers and County Extension Agents interested an opportunity to work together for additional recognition at Texas 4-H Roundup. Points for participation, and additional points for contest placing, will be given for each healthy lifestyles related contest.  The county with the most points will be awarded the Healthy Lifestyles Sweepstakes! More information about this award is in the Texas 4-H Roundup guide.

Leadership Opportunities

Healthy Lifestyle Ambassadors

The Texas 4-H Youth Development Program is offering youth the opportunity to serve as Healthy Lifestyle Ambassadors. Applications are currently being accepted with a due date in the Spring of each year. The purpose of the Healthy Lifestyles Ambassador Program is to promote the purpose and goals of the 4-H healthy lifestyles program, provide leadership to educational events through the implementation of healthy living programs, including Fuel Up To Play 60. More information about the ambassador program is included with the application.

4-H Health & Safety Officer Handbook

Youth have the opportunity to serve as a health and safety officer within their 4-H club, ensuring 4-H members understand the importance of good health and safety by leading health or safety related activities. A handbook is available to assist officers in planning and recording activities.

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