Iowa Winner Announced for Healthy Lunchtime Challenge

Posted: June 10, 2016

First Lady Michelle Obama, PBS flagship station WGBH Boston, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a nationwide recipe challenge for kids that promotes cooking and healthy eating as part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. Lola Shourney, Iowa's winner, created American Gothic Calzones. Lola's inspiration stems from Grant Wood's painting American Gothic and Iowa grown ingredients.

Winners representing all U.S. states, five territories and the District of Columbia will attend a Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House hosted by Mrs. Obama on July 14. The 56 aspiring young chefs and a parent or guardian will join the First Lady for a healthy lunch, featuring a selection of the winning recipes, followed by a visit to the White House Kitchen Garden.

“For the last five years, kids across the country have cooked up nutritious and delicious dishes as part of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, and each year, I continue to be impressed by their talent and creativity,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Kids are truly embracing and enjoying healthy eating and preparing healthy meals for their families, and I look forward to meeting this year’s winners here at the White House for the Kids’ “State Dinner” and trying some of their tasty creations.” 

This is the fifth year of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” in which 8 to 12-year-olds across the nation were invited to create a healthy, affordable, original and delicious lunch recipe. Entrants were encouraged to reference ChooseMyPlate.gov to ensure recipes met the USDA’s recommended nutrition guidance by representing each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables,whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. In addition, in celebration of the MyPlate, MyState initiative, this year’s challenge put a spotlight on homegrown pride across the country and encouraged entries to include local ingredients grown in the entrant’s state, territory or community. The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge received over 1,200 entries featuring wholesome, tasty ingredients. To make the challenge possible for kids and their families across America, support is being provided to WGBH by Newman’s Own Foundation.

Each winner and a parent or guardian will be flown to Washington, D.C. courtesy of United Airlines. Accommodations in Washington are provided by the Westin Georgetown. New this year, Blue Apron will be featuring one of the winning recipes on their Family Plan menu for delivery the week of July 11 as part of their efforts to get the whole family into the kitchen preparing healthy meals.

In addition, at the Kids’ “State Dinner” winners will have the opportunity to learn from author, daytime host, child nutrition advocate and member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Rachael Ray, whose Yum-o! organization has joined to support this year’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. 

“These extraordinary recipes remind us how much we all can learn from young people when we give them an opportunity to be inventive,” said WGBH Executive in Charge Brigid Sullivan. 

“We are thrilled to see kids across the country connecting with local and regional foods by highlighting locally grown ingredients in their recipes,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “That’s what MyPlate, MyState is all about – celebrating healthy eating with foods grown in states, territories and communities across the country. Increasing awareness and appreciation for local and regional agriculture not only helps America’s farmers, ranchers and producers, but also strengthens local economies and brings communities together while ensuring improved nutrition for our children in schools across America.” 

“Healthy students are better learners and better positioned to thrive in school and later in life,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. “Every child in this country needs and deserves access to a genuinely well-rounded education that engages and intrigues them, and allows them to discover their interests in the arts, science, world languages and so much else. Physical education and health are an important part of that education, as well as hands-on learning. The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge inspires children to use their creativity and passion to learn about healthy food choices and to make nutritious, affordable meals that are appealing to kids.”  

The full list of winners and recipes can be found online. Additionally, a free downloadable and printable e-cookbook of the winning recipes, including nutritional analyses and photos will be available on July 14 on the contest site, LetsMove.govUSDA.gov and Ed.gov