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The Results Are In: Judging the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge

Posted by Elizabeth Rahavi, RD, Nutritionist, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in Food and Nutrition Initiatives
Feb 21, 2017
A sample of plated dishes that were judged at the final round of judging for the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge
A sample of plated dishes that were judged at the final round of judging for the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Photo Credit: Megan Smith and Chandler Ray, Dietetic Interns, University of Maryland Dietetic Internship program.

This spring, kids from across the country honed their culinary and nutrition skills to participate in the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, and the wait is over to find out who received the top spot from each of the 50 states, four U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. The winners of the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge have been announced on Let’s Move’s! website. Find out who the top kid chef is from your area and the recipe that secured them a seat at the White House for the Kids’ State Dinner with First Lady Michelle Obama.

On May 15th, the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion was pleased to take part in the judging of this year’s top two recipes from each area along with representatives from Let’s Move!, the Department of Education, Wholesome Wave Foundation, and most importantly – other kids, including previous winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and recent graduates from Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters program. The judges met at the DC Convention Center to personally taste test each of the top dishes, 108 dishes in all! The dishes were prepared by DC Central Kitchen staff and were rated on a scale of 1-5 based on: nutritional value, taste, creativity, originality, affordability, and an essay accompanying the recipe. Kids were also encouraged to reference ChooseMyPlate.gov and incorporate foods from each of MyPlate’s five food groups in their entries.

The 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge received almost one thousand entries featuring wholesome, tasty ingredients, including salmon, chickpeas, cauliflower and quinoa. “It is amazing to see what kids can do when they are given the opportunity. As a nutrition educator, and mom, I’m encouraged to see how this generation of kids is learning about healthy food and developing skills that will serve them well into their future,” said Shelley Maniscalco, MPH, RD, Director of the Office of Nutrition Marketing and Communications, CNPP, and judge for the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.

Let’s Move was developed to help curb the tide of childhood obesity, so that this generation of children could grow up to be healthy adults. “We need more programs like the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge that put kids in the driver seat to learn about nutrition and how to prepare healthy meals. These skills are instrumental to creating healthy adults” said Maniscalco.  

To learn more about the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ State Dinner visit: http://www.letsmove.gov/kids-state-dinner

DC Central Kitchen Staff
DC Central Kitchen Staff prepared and plated 108 dishes for the judges to taste for the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Photo Credit: Megan Smith and Chandler Ray

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