Recipes for Healthy Kids

As part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative, the national competition – Recipes for Healthy Kids – results in new and great-tasting recipes for school lunches.

Squash is a key ingredient in the Stir-Fry Fajita Chicken, Squash and Corn recipe from Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Arizona.

Squash is a key ingredient in the Stir-Fry Fajita Chicken, Squash and Corn recipe from Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Arizona. O'Neil Photography Inc.

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Washington, D.C. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the finalists in First Lady Michelle Obama's Recipes for Healthy Kids competition, a national contest to promote healthy eating among children. The first-place recipes from categories of Whole Grains, Dark Green and Orange Vegetables, and Dry Beans and Peas will compete for the Grand Prize at a national cook-off event during the American Culinary Federation National Convention in Dallas, Texas, on July 25.

"Creating and consuming nutritious meals provides a foundation for healthy lives among America's children," Vilsack says. "The Obama administration supports the many innovative strategies in place that enable our schoolchildren to learn, thrive, grow – and ultimately win the future. We congratulate these teams on their hard work, creativity, and dedication to improving the health and nutrition of kids across the country."

USDA and the First Lady launched the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition last September, challenging teams of school nutrition professionals, chefs, students, and community members to develop creative, nutritious, and kid-approved recipes that schools can easily incorporate into National School Lunch Program menus. The contest is a component of the First Lady's broader Let's Move! initiative that also includes Chefs Move to Schools, which encourages chefs to work with schools in their communities.

The public also had the opportunity to vote on their favorite selection in the Popular Choice Award. The honoree for the Popular Choice Award, Tasty Tots from Bellingham Memorial Middle School Bellingham, Massachusetts, will receive $1,500.

The first, second, and runner-up winning recipes and schools for each category are:

Dark Green and Orange Vegetables 

First Place: Central Valley Harvest Bake, Joshua Cowell School, Manteca, California.

Second Place: Stir-Fry Fajita Chicken, Squash, and Corn, Monument Valley High School, Kayenta Unified School District, Kayenta, Arizona.

Runner-up: Crunchy Hawaiian Chicken Wrap, Mount Lebanon Elementary School, Pendleton, South Carolina.


Whole Grains 

First Place: Porcupine Sliders, Intermediate District 287, South Education Center Alternative, Richfield, Minnesota.

Second Place: Chic' Penne, Harold S. Winograd K-8 School Mission, Greeley, Colorado.

Runner-up: Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Bellingham Memorial Middle School, Bellingham, Massachusetts.


Dry Beans and Peas 

First Place: Tuscan Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup, Ira B. Jones Elementary School, Asheville, North Carolina.

Second Place: Lentils of the Southwest, Sweeney Elementary School, Santa Fe Public Schools, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Runner-up: Confetti Soup, Burke Middle and High School, Charleston County School District, Charleston, South Carolina.

To recognize and share the culinary creativity nationwide, the top 10 recipes in each category will be published in a Recipes for Healthy Kids Cookbook to share with students and families. For more on the recipes and winners, visit the website for Recipes for Healthy Kids.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the child nutrition programs. Improving child nutrition is also a focal point of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that was signed in to law by President Obama in December 2010. This legislation authorizes USDA's child nutrition programs, including the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program, which serves nearly 32 million children each day. It will allow USDA, for the first time in over 30 years, the chance to make real reforms to the school lunch and breakfast programs by improving the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative. To learn more, visit the Let’s Move website.