by Tanya Steel
Following last year's hugely successful Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' "State Dinner," Epicurious is again teaming up with First Lady Michelle Obama, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture to host a nationwide recipe challenge for children, ages 8 to 12, to promote healthy eating among America's youth. The contest kicked off Wednesday and ends Sunday, May 12th.
We are looking for original, delicious, affordable recipes that first and foremost are healthy and nutritious, adhering to MyPlate guidelines. The recipes created by the kids should comprise fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. One winner from each of the 50 states and U.S. Territories will be awarded a trip to Washington, D.C., and the opportunity to attend the Kids' "State Dinner," hosted by Mrs. Obama at the White House this summer. A selection of winning recipes will most likely be served at the event.
This challenge, something I dreamed up with a few colleagues a while back (read the contest's story here), has the ability to profoundly change kids' lives, from the moment they begin brainstorming healthy lunchtime recipes. This was expressed by countless contest entrants and by the winners at last year's event. Whether each child eventually gets to walk into the East Room and greet Mrs. Obama, or simply spend a day creating a new dish with you to enter in the contest, the kids will already have won the true prize: getting to know the food groups via the simple and splashy MyPlate, rolling up their sleeves in the kitchen, and learning firsthand how--and why--to eat healthily. This is a gift that will keep on giving for the rest of their lives.