Food and Nutrition

two 4H kids mixing dough

June 2017 New Resource: Foods for Iowa 4-H Fairs
Replaces 4H 3023 Inappropriate Food Exhibits for Iowa 4-H Fairs

Are You Into It?

In this project you can do fun experiments, prepare recipes, and go on fact-finding missions. You’ll have fun learning about food ingredients, food characteristics, nutrition and food safety.

  • Use My Plate to make healthy food choices
  • Understand how nutrition affects health,  fitness, and your appearance
  • Learn to prepare and store foods safely
  • Learn about the science of nutrition
  • Learn skills in planning, purchasing, preparing and serving tasty and nutritious meals

Here’s what you can do all year!

Starting Out Basic / Level 1

  • Learn how to read a recipe
  • Learn how to use measuring equipment
  • Make healthy snacks
  • Do fun food experiments
  • Compare costs of purchased and homemade foods
  • Learn how food spoils
  • Learn how to keep your kitchen germ free
  • Learn to safely use the microwave

Learning More Intermediate / Level 2

  • Prepare a grocery list and go grocery shopping
  • Compare food costs
  • Learn safety know-how in the kitchen
  • Explore low fat alternatives
  • Make healthy fast food choices at home, at school and eating out
  • Prepare easy meals

Expanding Horizons Advanced / Level 3

  • Plan and prepare a meal
  • Gain skill in evaluating nutrition information
  • Understand the connection between eating and emotions
  • Learn about food additives
  • Learn how to preserve and dry foods
  • Prepare foods in healthy ways
  • Learn to purchase foods on a limited budget
  • Explore careers in the food industry

Take It Further

Food & Nutrition Hot Sheet (color pdf)
Food & Nutrition Tip Sheet (color pdf)
Poster Exhibits Tip Sheet (color pdf)
Exhibitor Fair Information Form (Word or editable PDF)
Exhibit Evaluation Form (pdf)
Foods for Iowa 4-H Fairs Quick Reference Guide
Cook This! entries due June1!!! Sign up your team now.
Here are other opportunities to explore Food and Nutrition:

  • Create your own food  business
  • Organize a food drive
  • Create a scrapbook of your favorite recipes
  • Sign up for  4-H Cook This! at the Iowa State Fair
  • Keep a journal of foods eaten and calories consumed
  • Plan menus for a week and go grocery shopping
  • Create an exhibit and take it to the fair!.  It might even get selected to go to the Iowa State Fair !
  • Contact your County Extension office for other local workshops, activities, and events
  • Meet new friends in food and nutrition - Check out camps at the Iowa 4-H Center
  • Attend Iowa 4-H Youth Conference and participate in workshops, and a community service project,.
  • Interested in a college education in the area of food and nutrition or culinary science? Schedule a visit with Iowa State University's College of Human Sciences or Ag & Life Sciences.

Step It Up


  • Teach friends how to make healthy snacks
  • Tell your family about the importance of eating a variety of foods from all the food groups
  • Design a poster about kitchen safety


  • Complete a Service-Learning project
  • Bake with the elderly at a care center
  • Volunteer at a food pantry
  • Offer locally grown food sampling at grocery store


  • Take responsibility for planning and preparing one family meal each week
  • Plan and help prepare food for a special family event
  • Create a club fundraiser around food such as a meal or bake sale

Exhibit Ideas

  • Learn to read nutrition labels on food.
  • Experiment with altering recipes and share results.
  • Compare cost of purchased vs. home made foods.
  • Plan a special meal for your family.
  • Make a recipe calendar for a gift - include a recipe for each month.
  • Do a blind taste test of two similar products like Coke and Pepsi, 2% milk and skim milk, etc.
  • Assemble a set of favorite recipes.
  • Research sports drinks vs. water - share results via poste.
  • Learn to make Homemade Peanut Butter.
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