The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is BACK, and you have just under one more week left to enter! OK, kids (between the ages 8-12), gather up your best recipe ideas and make sure to submit your best idea by Sunday May 12! In this newsletter, I will share with you all the information you need to give it your best shot at attending this year’s “Kids State Dinner” at the White House. Having been a lucky attendee alongside my daughter, Elena, last year, I can tell you that the experience is truly a life highlight. I will share with you some of the winning recipes from last year’s challenge that we have since featured on the Healthy Kids Ideas Exchange website as well as the Nurture website. These recipes just might inspire you to create something of your own! You’ll get the link for the contest submission as well as background information on MyPlate. Read on for more information and links to this year’s challenge.
Very simple—Go to this link, and follow the instructions (you can either submit a recipe online or via the mail). Here are the important dates:
May 12 – Contest closes
Late June – Winners notified (if they follow the same process as last year, they will choose three semi-finalists from each state, who need to provide paperwork to move on to the next stage).
July or August – The two-day “Kids State Dinner” takes place in Washington DC. Kids and their parent/guardian are flown via Delta Airlines to Washington DC and stay in the Westin (Georgetown).
I can’t wait to find out what fun surprises Mrs. Obama will set up for the kids this year. It will be hard to top the private concert given by Big Time Rush last year!
What are some examples of recipes that won last year?
These are just a few recipes that we’ve highlighted so far on Healthy Kids Ideas Exchange and Nurture. For the complete cookbook, see the links in the next section.
3 large egg whites, separated (You can save your yolks for use in a future recipe but you will not need them for this one.)
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3/4 cup broccoli, cooked and chopped (You may use either fresh steamed or frozen broccoli florets.)
Note: When choosing our ingredients we tried to use healthier alternatives: Mozzarella Cheese has less fat than American Cheese, wheat toast is better for you than white toast, and we added a side of mixed fruits and orange juice in order to tie in all of the food groups.
1) Separate eggs, place your whites into a small bowl.
2) Preheat non-stick frying pan, lightly coated with cooking spray, over medium heat.
3) Pour egg whites into frying pan.
4) When whites are semi-solid, place cooked, chopped broccoli onto one half of the pan of whites, leaving the other side of the omelet empty.
5) Sprinkle shredded Mozzarella Cheese over broccoli.
6) Place entire frying pan under the broiler for about five minutes or until cheese is melted and egg whites are solid. Edges of the omelet will be lightly browned.
7) Remove pan from broiler and place the omelet on a serving plate, folding the omelet in half so that the empty side now covers the side with broccoli and cheese.
8) Serve with a side of wheat toast, mixed fruit and orange juice.
3-4 garden fresh tomatoes – med/large
3 Roma or plum tomatoes
1 medium/large red onion
1 pepper – can be orange, red, green (green or orange add color)
1 bunch of cilantro (use to taste)
1 freshly squeezed lemon or add to taste
Chop tomatoes, onion, pepper and cilantro into small chunks. Mix garden ingredients in a large bowl. Add lemon juice. Mix all and chill.
Can use corn tortillas or flour tortillas depending on dietary restrictions
4-6 grilled chicken breasts – boneless and skinless – cut in strips
2 cups cooked/prepared black beans
2 cups shredded cheese combo of cheddar (Cabot Vermont sharp preferred), Jack and Mozzarella.
2-4 cups shredded lettuce (iceburg or romaine)
Can substitute chicken with grilled tofu. Or just bean and cheese!
Lay strips of chicken (pre-grilled) on the bottom of a no-stick baking pan, add a few spoons of black beans, a bit of cheese and warm in oven until cheese melts well – at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and scoop chicken, bean and cheese mix onto tortilla on plates. Roll/fold tortilla over filling and top with lettuce and salsa. Serve with a few slices of avocado and kiwi on the side.
–2 grilled skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
-2 stalks celery, chopped
-1 red apple, peeled and diced
-1/4 cup raisins
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-1/4 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper
2 (10-inch) whole-wheat tortillas
1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, celery, apple, raisins, mayonnaise, and curry powder. Stir to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Divide the mixture between the tortillas, and wrap tightly around the filling from bottom to top, overlapping one end, burrito style. Cut the wraps in half to serve.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ pound firm tofu, cut into small cubes
1 garlic clove, minced
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into thirds
½ cup cooked brown rice
1. In a large sauté pan on medium high heat, warm the oil. Add the tofu and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic, scallions, and sugar snap peas, and cook 5 more minutes.
2. While the vegetables are cooking, warm the rice in the microwave for 1 minute on high, then serve the sizzling tofu on top.
For the pesto:
4 cups loosely packed fresh basil
5 ounces frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
For the pasta:
1 pound whole-wheat rotini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey breast
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (14-ounce) cans low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
½ onion, cut into small dice
½ red bell pepper, cut into small dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Make the pesto:
- In a blender or food processor, combine the basil, spinach, garlic, and olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make the pasta:
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- While the pasta is boiling, cook the turkey: In a large, deep skillet over moderate heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer the meat to a plate and reserve.
- In the same large skillet over low heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the chicken broth. Add the onions and bell pepper, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add the basil and the dried red pepper, and return the cooked turkey to the pan. Add the remaining chicken broth, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the pesto to the pasta. Stir well to combine, adding the reserved pasta cooking liquid as necessary to loosen the pesto. Add the turkey sauce to the pasta and cook over low heat, stirring to combine, until heated through. Serve hot, with freshly grated Parmesan on the side.
What are some other resources to help inspire my creativity for this year’s challenge?
- Get inspired by last year’s winning recipes (PDF)
- Find more information on MyPlate guidelines
- See more healthy recipes on the MyPlate Pinterest board
- Gather more ideas and resources from Let’s Move!
- Watch video highlights of last year’s winners, White House event, and speeches by the First Lady and the President of the United States
Good luck! And have a great month!
PS – Jeff, my husband, is entering with Alexander (age 10). But we won’t tell you what our recipe is … yet!
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This column is for information only, and no part of its contents should be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, recommendation or endorsement by the author. You should always ask your physician for his or her recommendation before starting any new health-related activity.