Deadline for submissions is June 17; airfare and hotel stay included in prize packages for 56 winners...
UPDATE 2, July 24: The 54 winners are announced
UPDATE 1: The judging took place on June 20
Have a favorite healthy lunch recipe your kids love? Or think you can create an ultra delicious one? First Lady Michelle Obama wants to hear from you. On Monday, Mrs. Obama announced a Let's Move! partnership with Epicurious.com for a recipe contest, The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, designed to get parents/guardians and children ages 8-12 into the kitchen and cooking lunch recipes that are both affordable and tasty. The special prize: 56 child winners and their adult companions--from every state and US territories--will be flown to Washington, DC, for a "Kids' State Dinner" at the White House, hosted by the First Lady. A selection of the winning recipes will be served at the dinner--which is actually a luncheon--currently scheduled to take place in August.
"With parents and kids all across the country getting creative in the kitchen, I know we'll find healthy meals that every family will enjoy," Mrs. Obama said. "And I can’t wait to try the kids’ creations myself.”
The recipe contest is now open for entries, and the deadline is June 17. Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass and Tanya Steel, editor-in-chief of Epicurious will serve as judges, along with an unnamed celeb chef and representatives from the US Department of Education and the US Department of Agriculture, contest co-sponsors.
Adult-child teams are encouraged to follow USDA's MyPlate guidelines when creating their recipes: "Entries should represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruit, veggies, whole grains, protein and low-fat dairy foods," noted the contest announcement. Check out ChooseMyPlate.gov for tips.
"We all want to ensure that our kids are eating nutritious, delicious food at every meal, and as a mom I know that parents are always looking for new ideas to make that happen,” Mrs. Obama said.
The First Lady unveiled MyPlate in June of 2011. It encourages citizens to fill half their plates at each meal with fruits and vegetables, following the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
For inspiration, check out some of the MyPlate recipes created by the White House chefs: There's Chef in A Pocket, a sandwich laden with vegetables, accompanied by melon kebabs with yogurt dip and veggie sticks with hummus; and Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera with Grilled Chicken, accompanied by a side of Apple Dippers; and Seared Tilapia with Fried Rice and Broccoli & Carrots.
“This Challenge helps both parents and their kids to think about the basic ingredients of a healthy lunch, whether you make it at home or get it in the school lunch line,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
How to enter...
Recipes can be submitted May 21 through June 17, either online at www.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 on July 16. The prize package includes airfare courtesy of Delta Air Lines, and Westin Hotels will be providing accommodations.
The winning recipes will eventually be available free in a downloadable and printable e-cookbook that features nutritional analysis, and photos and drawings of the recipes, available via the contest web site, letsmove.gov, USDA.gov, and Ed.gov, according to the First Lady's Office.
*Photo: Mrs. Obama joined students to launch Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools at Riverside Elementary School in Miami, Fla., Nov. 22, 2010. Chuck Kennedy/White House