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USDA Announces Semi-Finalists and Opens Public Voting Period in Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition

Release No.

FNS Office of Communications 703-305-2281

Kid-Inspired Recipes to be Part of School Meal Enhancements Nationwide 

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2011 –Today, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced the recipes chosen to advance in First Lady Michelle Obama's Recipes for Healthy Kids competition and encouraged the public to vote for their favorite recipe now through May 15, 2011. 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.

"Recipes for Healthy Kids draws on America's culinary creativity and expertise to improve school meals with kid-inspired recipes," said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. "We know that to win the future, we have to ensure that we inspire innovation, raise graduation rates, and ultimately out-educate our global competitors, and we can only do that if our kids have access to nutritious meals and healthy lifestyles."

In accordance with the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition rules and judging criteria, the Food Nutrition Service (FNS) and American Culinary Federation (ACF) teams have determined the top five recipes in each of the three competition categories from among the 340 recipes that were received by the submission deadline. Fifteen recipes were chosen to move forward in the competition from schools in 11 states, including Arizona, South Carolina, Florida, California, Massachusetts, Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota, Ohio, New Mexico, and Connecticut. From among the entries submitted, five were selected in each of three categories: whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and dry beans and peas.

The semi-finalist winning recipes and schools for each category are:

Whole Grains

  • Chic' Penne, Harold S. Winograd K-8 School Mission, Greeley, Colorado
  • Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Bellingham Public Schools, Bellingham, Massachusetts
  • Stir Fried Green Rice, Eggs, and Ham, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Porcupine Sliders, Intermediate District 287, South Education Center Alternative, Richfield, Minnesota
  • Chicken Alfredo with a Twist, Kettering City School District, Kettering, Ohio

Dark Green and Orange Vegetables

  • Stir-Fry Fajita Chicken, Squash, and Corn, Kayenta Unified School District, Kayenta, Arizona
  • Crunchy Hawaiian Chicken Wrap, Mount Lebanon Elementary School, Pendleton, South Carolina
  • Roasted Fish Crispy Slaw Wrap, Liberty Middle School, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, Florida
  • Central Valley Harvest Bake, Joshua Cowell Elementary School, Manteca, California
  • Tasty Tots, Bellingham Public Schools, Bellingham, Massachusetts

Dry Beans and Peas

  • Lentils of the Southwest, Sweeney Elementary School, Santa Fe Public Schools, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Fiesta Wrap, Charter Oak International Academy, West Hartford Public Schools, West Hartford, Connecticut
  • Spanish Chickpea Stew, Skyline High School, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland, California
  • Tuscan Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup, Ira B. Jones Elementary School, Asheville, North Carolina
  • Confetti Soup, Burke Middle High School, Charleston County School District, Charleston, South Carolina

Schools that entered the top five recipes in each category will also be visited onsite by a judging team of a USDA official, an American Culinary Federation chef, and a school nutrition professional to help determine the three finalists (one from each category) that will participate in a national cook-off event this summer. The recipes will also be posted on the Recipes for Healthy Kids website for voting for the Popular Choice award, which will close May 15. For a complete list and to vote on your favorite recipe, visit the Recipes for Healthy Kids website at:

There will be a grand prize chosen by the judging panel as well as a Popular Choice winner based on public voting. The judges will also choose award winners for the top two recipes in each category. Winning teams will be invited to prepare their nutrition-packed meals alongside White House chefs. To recognize and share the culinary creativity nationwide, the top ten recipes in each category will be published in a Recipes for Healthy Kids Cookbook to share with students and families.

During National Nutrition Month in March, USDA encourages people to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat milk in their meals each day. These recommendations are included in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that were recently released by USDA and HHS, which focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Through its nutrition assistance programs, USDA also promotes access, resources and pathways for low-income Americans to lead a more healthful lifestyle.

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