WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the overwhelming success of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” in 2012 and 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama is again teaming up with Epicurious, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to host a nationwide recipe challenge to promote cooking and healthy eating among America’s youth. Teaching kids to cook is a great way to ensure our children learn healthy habits early in life. Research shows that children who help with cooking and meal preparation are more likely to consume fruits and vegetables, and they are more aware of the importance of making healthier food choices. The third annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” encourages kids across the country to come up with healthy, original creations.
“The Kids’ ‘State Dinner’ is one of my favorite events to host at the White House, and I am thrilled to announce the third annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. This event gives us the opportunity to showcase healthy creations from talented kids from across our country,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I’m looking forward to seeing—and tasting—this year’s selections. So young chefs, get creative and get cooking!”
The third Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” invites parents or guardians and their children, ages 8-12, to create and submit an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty. In support of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, each recipe must adhere to the guidance that supports USDA’s MyPlate (at ChooseMyPlate.gov) 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 of the plate or recipe.
All U.S. states and territories, including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands, are invited to participate. Delta Air Lines will fly fifty-six children and their parent/guardian (one pair from each of the 50 states, plus the U.S. Territories, D.C., and Puerto Rico) to the nation’s capital where they will have the opportunity to attend a Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House hosted by Mrs. Obama. A selection of the winning healthy recipes will be served.
“The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is a wonderful opportunity to help kids build healthy habits. First Lady Michelle Obama, through the Let’s Move! Initiative, offers another shining example of how we can mobilize public and private sector resources to improve the lives of our children,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The decisions parents make to keep their kids healthy often start with the meals made at home. Young people who participate in this Challenge and are inspired by MyPlate encourage other children to eat healthier and build food preparation skills that will influence their food decisions into adulthood.”
“We are truly honored that Mrs. Obama is once again partnering with Epicurious to help raise awareness for the importance of healthy eating for kids,” said Carolyn Kremins, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Epicurious. “We hope the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge can show kids that meals, especially their school lunch, can be tasty, healthy and fun to prepare.”
The winning recipes will be chosen by a panel of judges, including Nilou Motamed, Tanya Steel, Let’s Move! Executive Director Sam Kass, U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Education representatives, as well as junior chefs. At the conclusion of the Kids’ “State Dinner,” a free, downloadable and printable e-cookbook featuring the winning recipes, nutritional analysis, photos and drawings, will be available via LetsMove.gov, USDA.gov, Ed.gov, epicurious.com and recipechallenge.epicurious.com.
The White House Kids’ “State Dinner” will take place later this summer.
Recipes can be submitted March 5 through April 5, online at recipechallenge.epicurious.com, or via mail at “The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge c/o Epicurious.com,” 1166 Avenue of the Americas, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036. Winners will be notified in May. For more information and contest rules visit recipechallenge.epicurious.com.