The West Feliciana Parish 4-H Commodity Cookery Contest is Saturday for parish 4-H members, but a new contest has been added to the competition — the healthy boxed lunch or bento contest.

“A bento lunch is a compact, balanced, visually appealing meal packed in a box. ‘Bento’ is Japanese for packed lunch or meal,” said Layne Langley, LSU Agricultural Center 4-H agent.

The purpose of the bento category is to improve attitudes toward and understanding of healthful foods, and to increase willingness to try new nutritional foods, Langley said.

Each competitor will create a lunch for students ages 9 to 12.

Contest rules state that 4-Hers must bring a prepared healthy box or bento lunch to the contest that is representative of “MyPlate” recommendations, which can be found at

Contestants may enter more than one category but must turn in a copy of each recipe when registering.

Also new to the cookery this year is the “my favorites” category.

The commodity contest includes the following categories/contests:

SEAFOOD: Crab, crawfish, oyster, shrimp, fish and other, which includes all game fish, alligator, clams, frog legs, shark, squid, tuna and freshwater turtle or anything from the approved Louisiana seafood list found on the complete list of contest rules

POULTRY: Chicken, turkey, processed poultry products and other poultry meats, including dove, emu, goose, grouse, guinea, ostrich, pheasant, pigeon and quail

GROUND BEEF: Low-calorie main dish; quick and easy main dish; and one-dish meal

EGG: Appetizer/salad, main dish and dessert

SUGAR: Cake, candy, cookies and pie

MY FAVORITES: Sweet potato, wild game, or other, which is any dish that does not fit any other category

BENTO CONTEST: Prepared healthy box/bento lunch representative of “MyPlate” recommendations

All dishes must arrive cold, on ice and in an ice chest, or they will be disqualified.

Bento lunches must be transported in a portable, lock-top and leak-proof container, chilled and on ice, according to contest rules.

Microwaves will be available to heat dishes.

Only judges and 4-H Junior Leaders will be allowed in the contest room.

Only the 4-Her will be able to set up dishes at the contest, which will be held at St. Francisville United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 9866 Royal St.

Registration of dishes will be from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., with judging to follow from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

During the judging process, 4-Hers will participate in a scavenger hunt through downtown St. Francisville. Cookery results will be announced at 3:30 p.m.

Ribbons will be awarded to all cookery contestants. Parish winners in the seafood, poultry, egg, ground beef, sugar and bento categories will compete in the Regional Cookery Contest on April 7.

For contest rules, 4-Hers can stop by the West Feliciana 4-H office, 5924 Commerce St., St. Francisville or contact Langley at (225) 635-3614 or