Recipes for Healthy Kids

By Susan Littlefield

Did you come up with some delicious new ways to use the produce from your garden this year? Did you hit on ways to serve garden-fresh veggies that your kids gobbled down? Are you interested in helping youngsters learn about the benefits and enjoyment of eating healthy foods? Why not gather together some like-minded community members and enter the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition. Part of Michele Obama's Let's Move campaign against childhood obesity, in association with the USDA, this contest challenges school nutrition professionals, chefs, students, parents and interested community members to form teams to create tasty, healthy new recipes for inclusion on school lunch menus across the country.

Teams will work on developing at least one healthy recipe in one of three categories- whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, or dry beans and peas. Their creations will be served in the school's cafeteria and rated by students. Then fifteen semi-finalist teams will have their recipes evaluated by a judging panel during events held at their school; judging criteria will include student involvement, nutrition, creativity and originality, recipe presentation and ease of use in schools. The top three teams will compete in a national cook-off to determine the grand prize winner, whose team will take $3000 back to their school! In addition, first and second prizes of $1500 and $1000, respectively, will be awarded in each category. Semi-finalists' recipes will also be posted for online voting by the public to determine a Popular Choice Winner with a $1500 prize. Winning teams will be invited to prepare their healthful, prize-winning meals alongside White House chefs.

Recipes can be submitted through December 30, 2010 and the judging will take place between January 1 and May 15, 2011. What a great way to help schools improve their lunch programs and get kids excited about good nutrition. It could also be an excellent tie-in to a school gardening program.

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