With the overwhelming success of the inaugural Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' "State Dinner" in 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama is again teaming up with Epicurious, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture to host a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy eating among America's youth.
"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," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "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 second 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 Let's Move!, launched by the First Lady to solve the issue of childhood obesity, 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 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. 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) will be flown to the nation's capital where they will have the opportunity to attend a Kids' "State Dinner" at the White House this summer, hosted by Mrs. Obama. A selection of the winning healthy recipes will be served.
"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," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "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."
"We know healthy kids are healthy students, and healthy students are better able to engage in the classroom and excel academically," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "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."
"We are thrilled to once again partner with Mrs. Obama, and to champion her Let's Move! initiative, in an effort to raise awareness for the importance of healthy eating among kids," said Tanya Steel, editor-in-chief of Epicurious. "Through ‘The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge,' we will, for the second year, create a call to action for kids, highlighting the importance of healthy meals. This initiative will continue to make a positive impact on the way our children eat, and will reinforce that meals, especially school lunches, can be delicious and nutritious."
The winning recipes will be chosen by a panel of judges, including Tanya Steel, Let's Move! Executive Director Sam Kass, USDA and U.S. Department of Education representatives, as well as a celebrity chef, to be named. At the conclusion of the Challenge, 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 and recipechallenge.epicurious.com.
The White House Kids' "State Dinner" is currently scheduled to take place in July or August 2013.
Recipes can be submitted April 3 through May 12, 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 at the end of June. For more information and contest rules visit recipechallenge.epicurious.com.
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