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Recipes for Healthy Kids Judging Teams Begin School Visits

We’re entering the home stretch in the First Lady’s Recipes for Healthy Kids competition. Judges will be fanning out to schools across the country to watch them prepare the delicious recipes that have made it to the semi-finals. My colleague, Audrey Rowe, recently lead a team of judges to Harold S. Winograd School in Greeley, Colo., to kick off this phase of the competition, which is part of the First Lady’s effort to partner chefs with schools through her Let’s Move! initiative.

The First Lady and the Department of Agriculture launched the 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.

And the response was, well… amazing.

Winograd’s recipe, Chic’ Penne,was selected as a semi-finalist in the whole grain category from among the 340 recipes originally submitted. Fifteen recipes, including Winograd’s, were chosen back in February to move forward as semi-finalists in the competition from schools in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina.

A true cross-section of America.

Competing teams submitted recipes in each of three categories: whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and dry beans and peas. Each recipe will be judged on taste/flavor profile,  appeal to students, creativity/originality, and appearance/presentation.

The judging teams 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.

There will be a grand prize chosen by the judging panel as well as a Popular Choice winner based on public voting. Voting for the Popular Choice award will close May 31.

Be sure to try one of these delicious recipes at home.

Even better -- try them all!

For a complete list and to vote on your favorite recipe, click here.

Please follow USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service on Twitter at