July 10, 2015 04:20 PM

Kids are notoriously picky when it comes to food.

But while the batch of budding culinary engineers at the Kids’ White House State Dinner may be choosy, they’re most worried about eating meals with the most nutritional value.

It’s a concern that Michelle Obama shares. Since President Obama’s inauguration, encouraging young Americans to adopt healthy eating habits has been a priority for the First Lady. And in order to get kids to not only eat healthy, but to cook healthy, too, she launched the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, which invites kids to craft their own affordable, good-for-you, and (most importantly) delicious recipes.

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The real prize isn’t just creating a healthy new meal, it’s the chance to take the same coveted seats held by dignitaries and world leaders — this time, at the Kids’ White House State Dinner. Yes, it’s actually a lunch — there’s bedtimes to keep, after all!

Attending the event are fifty-five winners (there’s one representing each state and four territories) of annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, along with a parent or guardian. This year, nearly a thousand entries were submitted for consideration in the contest, which began in 2011. A few of the recipes were even be featured on the lunch’s menu.

During her remarks at this year’s lunch, The First Lady spoke of the power these young chefs have turn their peers onto nutrition.

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“A lot of kids don’t understand that food is fuel in a very fundamental way,” she said. “And sometimes they don’t listen to grown-ups, and they don’t listen to the First Lady. But many of them will listen to you because you’re living proof of that reality.”

If you want to get your picky eater to start eating healthy, these winning recipes are a good place to start. We’ve got three FLOTUS-approved recipes you can recreate at home.

Mango-Cango Chicken
Corey Jackson Jr., Age 10
Makes 4 Servings

1 (14-ounce) package classic slaw
1 (13.5-ounce) can lite coconut milk
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup jasmine rice
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
½ teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can pear halves
1 (15-ounce) can diced mangoes
4 red leaf lettuce leaves

1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the slaw with 1 cup coconut milk, the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and the lime juice. Chill for 20 minutes.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 ⅓ cups water with the remaining 2/3 cup coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil over low heat. Add the vanilla and jasmine rice. Cover, turn off the heat, and let stand for 25 minutes.
3. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Grill the chicken, flipping once, for about 10 minutes total, or until it’s cooked through. Sprinkle with salt.
4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the pears and mangoes with their juices and the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes.
5. Arrange a lettuce leaf on each plate, and top with slaw. Add some coconut rice and chicken. Top with the fruit sauce and serve.

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California Rainbow Taco with Mic-Kale Obama Slaw and Barack-amole
Aria Pelaez, Age 9
Makes 4 Servings

For the Tacos:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 red onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 orange, red, or green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
24 cherry tomatoes
2 fresh tilapia fillets
8 corn tortillas
½ cup low-fat Mexican cheese blend

For the Slaw:
½ cup shredded cabbage
½ cup finely chopped kale
¼ cup peeled shredded carrots
¼ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup red onion, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Juice from 3 limes
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Dip:
2 avocadoes, pitted
1 cup yogurt
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice from 3 limes
Salt and pepper to taste
Equipment: 4 skewers

1. Grill the veggies and fish: Grease the grill lightly with vegetable oil to prevent sticking and preheat to medium-high. Place the fruit and veggies on 4 skewers, alternating the pineapple, onion, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes. Cook the veggies and fish, turning once, about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through and browned on the outside
2. Meanwhile, make the slaw: In a large bowl, combine all the slaw ingredients and mix thoroughly.
3. Make the dip: In a blender or food processor, combine all the dip ingredients. Blend until just mixed, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Warm each tortilla in a frying pan over low heat. Flip then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of cheese and heat until the cheese melts. Place each tortilla on a plate and top with ¼ piece of fish and a few grilled vegetables. 5. Top each with 1 big spoonful of cabbage slaw, drizzle with Guacamole-Yogurt dip, roll up, and serve.

Hannah’s Eggy Potato Scramble
Hannah Betts, Age 10
Makes 2 Servings

2 sweet potatoes
1 cup Brussels sprouts
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
½ cup mushrooms, chopped
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
¼ cup low-fat cheese
¼ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
¼ cup ham, shredded
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash and dry the sweet potatoes, place on a large baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a baking dish, toss the Brussels sprouts with the garlic, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add to the oven where the sweet potatoes are baking. After 10 minutes, add the mushrooms, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the veggies are slightly browned.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Cook in a nonstick pan over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until the eggs are scrambled.
4. When the potatoes and veggies are cooked, remove from the oven (leave the oven on) and carefully cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, being careful not to rip the skin. Scoop out the sweet potato flesh and place in a medium bowl. Add the Brussels sprouts-mushroom mixture and the scrambled eggs, mix together well, and place into the potato skins. Sprinkle the cheese, breadcrumbs, and shredded ham on top of each potato half. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

—Diana Pearl

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