Boise 2nd grader's healthy lunch recipe wins award
Boise second-grader Mac Wirth and his mom were trying to "think
outside the sandwich" when they were cooking up
a recipe to enter in a national contest.
Their efforts were rewarded when Mac's delicious "Veggie Barley Salad
with Orange Honey Vinaigrette" was picked as the Idaho winner
in the "Healthy Lunchtime Challenge," a competition promoted by
First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Initiative, epicurious and
the U.S. departments of agriculture and education.
Fifty-four winners joined the First Lady on July 9 for a Kids'
"State Dinner" featuring a healthy lunch of winning recipes
followed by a visit to the White House kitchen garden.
For the second year, The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge invited a
parent or guardian to work with their child age 8-12 to create a
lunchtime recipe that is healthy, affordable, original and
delicious. In support of Let's Move!, each recipe adhered to
the guidance that supports USDA's MyPlate (ChooseMyPlate.gov) to
ensure that the criteria of a healthy meal were met.
Entries had to represent each of the food groups, either
in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods,
with fruits and veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe.
More than 1,300 entries were submitted to the competition. The full
list of winners and recipes can be found online at
Mac and his mom, Kellie Wirth, an employee wellness consultant,
created the recipe together with ingredients found regularly in
"My mom and I make this to have something ready fast when we
have busy mornings," says Mac. "We change it up all the time
depending on what vegetables we have. We use rice or pasta, too, if
it's left over. Sometimes we add basil, pesto, and cheese. We could
also add some beans or cut-up chicken. We make a bigger recipe and
have some for dinner and pack the rest in our lunches. To fill up
my lunch box, I like to add an apple, grapes, or a banana."
A student at Collister Elementary School, Mac is inspired by the
competitive triathletes he meets through his active mom and dad,
Adam Wirth, an accountant. According to Kellie, Mac and his
5-year-old sister Lucy "think it's cool to eat healthy."
Kellie highly recommends the resources available through
choosemyplate.gov. "I love the ChoosemyPlate.gov website
because it gives a simple message to eat more fruits and
vegetables. If you choose a food that you want to try the website
will show you serving sizes and provide recipes," she says.
Let's Move Boise, a
local organization affiliated with the First Lady's nationwide
campaign to combat childhood obesity, will help promote the
competition by distributing Mac's award-winning recipe to other
elementary-age kids in Boise. The recipe will be reprinted in
the Boise Parks & Recreation fall Activity Guide, handed out at
wellness fairs and posted on Facebook and websites.
"This year, we received very sophisticated recipe entries from
all over the country that featured healthy ingredients like salmon,
Greek yogurt, and ground turkey, which made it a delicious
challenge to select the finalists," said Tanya Steel of Epicurious
magazine. "Each recipe also included anecdotes explaining the
importance of healthy eating. The insight from the kids who
entered the challenge demonstrates that today's youth understands
the need to strengthen their bodies and minds with the most
wholesome ingredients available. We are, once again,
incredibly thankful to Mrs. Obama for joining Epicurious to
continue to raise awareness for the importance of healthy eating
for future generations."
"Healthy eating can help spur academic success," said Arne
Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education. "And it's exciting that
our young people have harnessed their creativity to come up with
fresh, new recipes that are nutritious and healthy. This
competition is just another example of how kids can rise to any
occasion-whether inside or outside the classroom-when
For more information about Let's Move Boise, please contact Amy
Stahl via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or