Kid-Created, White House-Approved Lunches

kids state dinner
Photo Courtesy CNN

The best kid chefs in the nation attended the Kids' State Dinner in July with the First Lady after winning the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. The contest, sponsored by PBS, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, asked kids ages 8 to 12 to enter their own healthy lunch recipes in a nationwide contest in order to promote healthy cooking and eating.

2015 marks the fourth year of the contest, and winners from previous years have been paying their good fortune forward.

"So many have performed incredible deeds and projects, little and small, local and national, from raising money to upgrade deteriorating gym equipment at school to feeding the homeless," said Tanya Steel, the mind behind the national recipe challenge, and former editor-in-chief of Epicurious.

For example, the 2012 winner Haile Thomas was only 11 when her Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salsa recipe won for Arizona. Haile is now 14 and since then, has founded the HAPPY Organization, which stands for Healthy, Active, Positive and Purposeful Youth.

"I realized a lot of kids in general are not informed about where food comes from and the importance of healthy foods," Haile said. "There was a lack of a class that would teach nutrition education, cooking, and how to make it fun."

We couldn't agree more! Check out all the winning recipes in the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Kids' State Dinner Cookbook here, and below are a few of our favorites!

1. Oodles of Zoodles with Avocado Pistachio Pesto (Nia Thomas, 10)

healthy lunch challenge zoodles
(Photo: Photo Courtesy PBS)

2. Rain's Turkey Chili (Rain Adams, 11)

healthy lunch challenge chili
(Photo: Photo Courtesy PBS)

3. Spinach Power Salad with Mandarin Vinaigrette (Emilie Monnig, 12)

healthy lunch challenge spinach salad
(Photo: Photo Courtesy PBS)

4. Shake It Off with a Turkey Roll (Izzy Washburn, 9)

healthy lunch challenge turkey roll
(Photo: Photo Courtesy PBS)

5. Sam’s Southern Savoring Salmon Supreme (S to the 5th power) (Samuel Davis, 11)

healthy lunch challenge salmon
(Photo: Photo Courtesy PBS)

6. Hungry Brother’s Stew (Colton Kuka, 9)

healthy lunch challenge hungry brother stew
(Photo: Photo Courtesy PBS)

7. Fabulous Fish Tacos (Grace Brown, 8)

healthy lunch challenge fish tacos
(Photo: Photo Courtesy PBS)

8. Stuffed Peppers Delite (Carter Cassola, 11)

healthy lunch challenge stuffed peppers
(Photo: Photo Courtesy PBS)

9. M'eggs'ican Quesadillas with Pineapple Dipping Sauce (Riley Higgins, 9)

healthy lunch challenge quesadilla
(Photo: Photo Courtesy PBS)


10. Maya's Delicious Vegetarian Little Lasagnas (Maya Elliott, 10)

healthy lunch challenge vegetarian lasagna
(Photo: Photo Courtesy PBS)