Washington, DC - First Lady Michelle Obama is teaming up with PBS flagship station WGBH Boston, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to host the fifth annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” to promote cooking and healthy eating among youth. Teaching kids to cook is a great way to ensure they 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 Kids’ “State Dinner” is one of my favorite events to host at the White House, and I am thrilled to announce the fifth annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Every year, I am amazed by the healthy, delicious dishes that kids across the country create, and I am excited to see what kids cook up this year!”
WGBH Boston joins the First Lady to present the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” in an effort to raise national awareness about the importance of healthy cooking and eating. To make the challenge possible for kids and their families across America, support is being provided to WGBH by Newman’s Own Foundation.
“Supporting the healthy development of children is at the core of our work in public media, so we are very pleased to once again partner on this important effort with the First Lady,” said WGBH Executive in Charge Brigid Sullivan.
The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” invites kids, ages 8-12, in collaboration with a parent or guardian, to create an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty, which their parent or guardian can submit at pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge. In support of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to help kids and families lead healthier lives, entrants are encouraged to reference ChooseMyPlate.gov to ensure recipes meet the USDA’s recommended nutrition guidelines. Entries should represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. In addition, in celebration of the MyPlate, MyState initiative, the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is putting a spotlight on homegrown pride across the country and encouraging entries to include local ingredients grown in the entrant’s state, territory, or community.
Kids from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands) are invited to create a recipe. One winner from each and a parent or guardian will win the opportunity to be flown to Washington D.C., courtesy of United Airlines, and the opportunity to attend the Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House, where a selection of the winning healthy recipes will be served. Kids will also have the opportunity to learn from television personality and member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Rachael Ray.
“My Yum-o! organization and I are so happy to be a part of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ “State Dinner” and can’t wait to meet all the winners this summer at the White House,” said Rachael Ray.
“Since the First Lady began hosting this challenge in 2012, it has been wonderful to see so many young people embracing the principles of MyPlate and using their creativity to come up with such delicious, nutritious recipes. This year, kids have a chance to not only show off their culinary skills, but also their local pride by featuring ingredients that are locally grown and produced,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By showcasing local foods through ‘MyPlate, MyState,’ this year’s challenge provides children an opportunity to see how the bounty of American agriculture provides the nutritious food they need to learn and grow.”
“It’s wonderful to see our students setting an example for their classmates – and for adults - on the critical role healthy eating plays in academic success. I love to see the excitement and enthusiasm that these young chefs bring to this competition as they dream up fresh, new lunch recipes that are both nutritious and delicious,” said John B. King, Jr., Acting Education Secretary.
The winning recipes will be chosen by a panel of judges that includes: Let’s Move! Executive Director Debra Eschmeyer, representatives of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Editor-in-Chief of Rachael Ray Every Day Magazine Lauren Purcell, an Executive Chef from United Airlines, previous Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners, and Founder of Cooking Up Big Dreams Tanya Steel. The winning recipes will be featured in a downloadable, printable free e-cookbook that includes a nutritional analysis and photos of the winning chefs, and their recipes and will be available on the contest website: pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge, as well as on letsmove.gov, USDA.gov, and Ed.gov.
Parents and guardians can submit their child’s recipe from February 22 through April 4 online at pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge. Winners will be notified in June, and the White House Kids’ “State Dinner” will take place in the summer of 2016. Accommodations for the winning families will be provided by The Westin Georgetown. For contest rules and complete details including how to enter by mail, visit pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge.