First Lady Sponsors Healthy Recipe Contest for 8- to 12-Year-Olds

April 3, 2013 - 11:55 AM

let's move

“Last year’s young chefs impressed and inspired me with their creativity, and I can’t wait to welcome a whole new group to the White House this summer and taste their creations," said First Lady Michelle Obama.  (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – First lady Michelle Obama says she can’t wait for children ages 8-12 to submit healthy lunch recipes that meet federal guidelines as part of a contest to promote her “Let’s Move” initiative.

The Second “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” will be sponsored by the Education and Agriculture departments, as well as the food magazine Epicurious, which is advertising the chance to win a free trip to Washington.

“Last year’s Kids’ State dinner was one of my favorite events we’ve ever done for ‘Let’s Move’ because it perfectly captured how young people, parents, community leaders and businesses can come together for innovative, healthy solutions,” the first lady said in a statement. “Last year’s young chefs impressed and inspired me with their creativity, and I can’t wait to welcome a whole new group to the White House this summer and taste their creations. So kids, let’s get cooking.”

The White House Kids’ State Dinner is set to take place in July or August, the White House said.

The winning recipes will be chosen by a panel of judges that includes “Let’s Move” Executive Director Sam Kass, Epicurious editor Tanya Steel, along with USDA and Education Department officials. The recipes -- along with photos and nutrition analysis -- will appear in a free e-book.

“We know healthy kids are healthy students, and healthy students are better able to engage in the classroom and excel academically,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. “If we can get our children to eat healthier and exercise more, that’s a recipe for success. Kids are the best judges of what looks and tastes good, so we’re challenging them to create lunches that all their peers will enjoy.”

The White House news release states that “each recipe must adhere to the guidance that supports USDA’s MyPlate to ensure that the criteria of a healthy meal are met. Entries must represent each of the food groups either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe.” A total of 56 winners, one from each state, plus U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, will be flown to Washington.

“In order to promote a healthier next generation of Americans, we need to encourage kids to make healthier choices now – which they can carry into adulthood,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “USDA is thrilled to be part of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge again this year because it inspires kids to use USDA’s MyPlate to take a hands-on approach to building healthier meal times.”