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USDA Kicks Off Judging Period in Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition

Release No.

Jean Daniel FNS Office of Communications 703-305-2281

15 semi-finalists in the "Recipes for Healthy Kids" contest to be Part of School Meal Enhancements Nationwide

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2011 –Today, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced the start of the judging period in First Lady Michelle Obama's Recipes for Healthy Kids competition. A judging team led by Audrey Rowe, Administrator of USDA's Food and Nutrition Service visited a local school in Greeley today, kicking off visits to 15 semi-finalist schools around the nation. 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. "With many children consuming as many as half their daily calories at school, creating healthy meals is an important step in the Obama administration's effort to combat childhood obesity and improve the health and wellbeing of all our kids."

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. 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. Recipes will be judged on student involvement, nutrition, creativity and originality, ease of use in schools, and recipe presentation.

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 31. 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 judging team will help determine the three finalists (one from each category) that will participate in a national cook-off event this summer at the American Culinary Federation Conference in Grapevine, Texas, on July 25. 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.

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 legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Initiative. To learn more, visit