December 4-H Project of the Month- Foods and Nutrition

Christmas is a wonderful time of year to sit down and celebrate the end of another momentous year and the holidays with our loved ones. In my family, we love to gather around a table full of food with our holiday tradition of oyster stew and chili on Christmas Eve. Christmas day, the family will come over, bringing with them desserts and salads, usually all old family recipes that have been enjoyed year after year. Food is a tradition that brings us together for every holiday or big event in our lives.

Once again, 4-H has many opportunities for those that love food and traditions as much as I do! The 4-H Foods and Nutrition project encourages youth to explore safe cooking practices and healthy eating. In this project, youth learn about many different cooking methods to improve their knowledge of cuisine. Youth can use this knowledge to compete at county at state fair with delicious homemade goods! Many of the classes include baked products but youth can also explore the art of food preservation with freezing, drying, and canning. There are also in-person cooking contests held at state fair, where youth can explore cooking proteins on a grill.

Food is something we need every day, but many people fail to really understand the complexity of the relationship food has with our body. By participating in the 4-H foods and nutrition project, youth are exposed to the raw ingredients they are putting into their bodies. They are able to understand the science and chemistry behind baking and preserving while also getting to know what the best choices or for fueling their body. We want to encourage youth to explore a healthy and fulfilling relationship with their food.

So, this Christmas, as you gather with your families, encourage everyone to share their love of food with the youth in your household. Cooking together is an incredible way to bond with each other and learn something new. For more information visit go.unl.edu/foods. Project examples include baked products, family food traditions, candy, cake decorating, freezing, drying, boiling water canning, pressure canning, and many more.

If your 4-Her is interested in working on a foods and nutrition project and you want more information, please contact the 4-H Assistant Shaniya at s.albertus@unl.edu.