Lunch Ideas Could Lead to Kiddie ‘State Dinner’

Posted May 24, 2012 at 12:19pm

First lady Michelle Obama has been calling on kids and parents to climb aboard the healthy-eating bandwagon for years now.

This time she’s sweetening the pot by welcoming would-be chefs to Washington, D.C., for a Kids’ “State Dinner” — the top prize in her Healthy Lunchtime Challenge recipe contest.

The promotion, being run in conjunction with Epicurious magazine, is an offshoot of Obama’s ongoing “Let’s Move” campaign.

Kids 8 to 12 years old are invited to submit one original lunch recipe — to be graded according to: nutritional content (50 percent), taste (25 percent), creativity (15 percent), affordability (5 percent) and back story (5 percent) — between now and June 17.

Epicurious-appointed judges will handle the first round of vetting, resulting in a pool of up to 168 finalists (three from each state, plus a trio each from the District and U.S. territories). The competition then moves to the White House, where panelists from Epicurious, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and, presumably, FLOTUS will test the actual recipes and select the 56 official winners.

Winners will be announced July 16. The grand prize includes round-trip airfare for two to D.C. and a one-night stay at, most likely, one of the two Westin hotels (they’re a sponsor) in town plus an invitation to the inaugural Kids’ “State Dinner.”

The ceremonial dinner, tentatively scheduled for later this summer (August), will actually take place at lunchtime.

Craving inspiration? The White House put out its own collection of kid-friendly recipes last October, a cookbook that includes no-nonsense nosh like broccoli soup, cauliflower mac and cheese, and fruit and oatmeal breakfast bars.