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)
2. Rain's Turkey Chili (Rain Adams, 11)
3. Spinach Power Salad with Mandarin Vinaigrette (Emilie Monnig, 12)
4. Shake It Off with a Turkey Roll (Izzy Washburn, 9)
5. Sam’s Southern Savoring Salmon Supreme (S to the 5th power) (Samuel Davis, 11)
6. Hungry Brother’s Stew (Colton Kuka, 9)
7. Fabulous Fish Tacos (Grace Brown, 8)
8. Stuffed Peppers Delite (Carter Cassola, 11)
9. M'eggs'ican Quesadillas with Pineapple Dipping Sauce (Riley Higgins, 9)0comments
10. Maya's Delicious Vegetarian Little Lasagnas (Maya Elliott, 10)