‘Healthy Kids’ School-Lunch Recipe Competition Moves to Judging Phase

By Susan Jones | December 29, 2010 | 10:25 AM EST

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, right, has lunch with students at Eagle School in Martinsburg, W.Va. on May 5, 2009. The Obama administration is sponsoring a contest to find healthy, kid-tested foods to be added to the nation's school lunch menu. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(CNSNews.com) - December 30 is the deadline for teams to submit recipes for the Obama administration’s effort to improve school lunches.

Between January and May, some of the new foods will be served in school cafeterias, as judges decide which recipes make the cut.

The Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition aims to create "exciting new recipes" for school lunch menus, the U.S. Agriculture Department said. The competition is part of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative, which aims to curtail childhood obesity.

"We welcome the excitement and engagement from chefs, students, food service professionals, and parents as teams across the country work to improve the nutrition and health of our kids through the Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a recent news release

The deadline for submitting recipes is 5:00 PM EST on December 30, 2010.  The judging phase of the contest runs from Jan. 1 through May 15.

Original recipes must meet nutritional requirements in three categories: whole grain foods, dark green and/or orange vegetables, and dry beans and peas (legumes). 

Starting in 2011, the culinary creations will be served in school cafeterias and rated by students. The submissions must be taste-tested by at least 30 students who participate in the National School Lunch Program.

A panel of judges will choose one grand prize winner (for a $3,000 prize), as well as a “popular choice” winner based on public input ($1,500 prize). The judges will also choose first- and second-place winners in each of the three categories (worth $1,500 and $1,000, respectively).

Winning teams will be invited to prepare their dishes alongside White House chefs.

And wait, there’s more…The top ten recipes in each category will be published in a Recipes for Healthy Kids Cookbook so they can be shared with students and families.

Recipes will be judged on the following criteria: student involvement, nutrition, creativity and originality, ease of use in schools, and recipe presentation.