Washington, D.C. – First Lady Michelle Obama is teaming up with PBS flagship station WGBH Boston, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to host the fourth annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' “State Dinner” to promote cooking and healthy eating among youth. Teaching kids to cook is a great way to ensure they learn healthy habits early in life. Research shows that children who help with cooking and meal preparation are more likely to consume fruits and vegetables, and they are more aware of the importance of making healthier food choices.

The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' “State Dinner” invites kids, ages 8-12, with the help of their parents or legal guardians to create and submit a recipe at pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge for a lunch that is nutritious and delicious.

This year, WGBH Boston is joining the First Lady to present the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” in an effort to raise national awareness about the importance of healthy cooking and eating. To make the challenge possible for kids and their families across America, support is being provided to WGBH by Newman’s Own® and Newman’s Own Foundation.

The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' “State Dinner” invites kids, in collaboration with a parent or guardian, to create an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty.  In support of Let’s Move!, launched in 2010 by the First Lady to help kids and families lead healthier lives, entrants are encouraged to reference ChooseMyPlate.gov  to ensure recipes meet the USDA’s recommended nutrition guidelines. Entries should represent 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. Kids from all U.S. states and territories are invited to participate, including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. One winner from each and a parent or guardian will win the opportunity to be flown to Washington D.C. and the opportunity to attend the Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House, hosted by the First Lady, where a selection of the winning healthy recipes will be served. 

“It is such a pleasure to host the Kids’ ‘State Dinner’ at the White House each year, and I am thrilled to announce the fourth year of our Healthy Lunchtime Challenge,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Every year I am blown away by the talent and creativity of the young chefs, and I cannot wait to welcome this year’s group at the White House this summer. So I hope young people across the country will get into the kitchen and get cooking!”

“We are honored to be partnering with the First Lady to help raise awareness about the importance of healthy cooking and eating and hope that we can help make a positive change in the way that families eat by empowering them with the information and tools they need to make healthy choices,” said Brigid Sullivan, WGBH Vice President for Children’s Media and Educational Programming. “We are delighted to be at the table in support of kids and their families and look forward to the opportunity to build this challenge and campaign in the years to come.”

“We know that improving childhood nutrition is key to ensuring a healthier next generation.  Through our efforts to improve the school nutrition environment and getting kids involved in nutrition through activities at school and this annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, we are helping to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and setting kids up for a lifetime of healthy eating,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“It’s great to see our students setting an example for their classmates – and for adults - on the importance of nutrition and the critical role healthy eating plays in academic success. I love to see the excitement and enthusiasm that these young chefs bring to this competition as they dream up fresh, new school lunch recipes that are both nutritious and delicious,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
The winning recipes will be chosen by a panel of judges that includes:  Let’s Move! Executive Director Debra Eschmeyer, representatives of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, previous Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners, and Tanya Steel, children's healthy eating expert and founder of Cooking Up Big Dreams. The winning recipes will be featured in a downloadable, printable free e-cookbook that includes a nutritional analysis and photos of the winning chefs, and their recipes and will be available on the contest website: pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge, as well as on letsmove.gov, USDA.gov, and Ed.gov.

Recipe submissions will be accepted from March 31 through April 30 online at pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge or by mail at: Healthy Lunchtime Challenge c/o WGBH, 1 Guest Street, Boston MA 02135. Winners will be notified in June, and the White House Kids’ “State Dinner” will take place in the summer of 2015. Travel to Washington, D.C. and accommodations for the winning families will be provided by Delta Air Lines and The Westin Georgetown.  For more information and for contest rules, visit pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge.