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Hawaiʻi ‘s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge 2016 Winner

July 31, 2016
By: Janice Yap,ʻĀINA In Schools Nutrition Docent

Kaira Grace Pan (KG) and her grandmother Janice Yap were winners of The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” which invites kids, ages 8-12, to create an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty. The contest supports the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative helping kids and families lead healthier lives. Each entrant was encouraged to reference ChooseMyPlate.gov to ensure recipes met the USDA’s recommended nutrition guidelines. Entries represented 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. In addition, in celebration of the MyPlate, MyState initiative, the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge put a spotlight on homegrown pride across the country and encouraged entries to include local ingredients grown in the entrant’s state, territory, or community.

For KG's recipe using the ʻĀINA Food Guide because grandmother, Jan, is a Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation ʻĀINA In Schools nutrition docent and wellness teacher at Liholiho elementary school, she created a traditional Hawaiian dish Pokeʻ Me Ke Aloha  (Pokeʻ with Love) that usually is made with cubed raw fish, seaweed, Hawaiian salt, soy, sesame oil and ground roasted kukui nuts. Instead she substituted and made individual pokeʻ: ulu, which is a breadfruit, grape tomatoes, edamamae and baked tofu. She included blanched choi seasoned with oyster sauce and sesame seed oil, Asian guacamole season with fish sauce a little ginger, garlic and sesame oil. Rather than rice she used quinoa with a Korean flavor of soy and sesame oil. She substituted the seaweed with Japanese Furikake, and the kukui nut with ground macadamia nuts. To balance the meal she submitted a kale sorbet made with frozen bananas, coconut and soymilks, dates and garnished with honey yogurt, mint leaves, granola and macadamia nuts.

There was one winner from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands). The winning chefs serve as healthy food ambassadors for their state or territory and were flown to Washington D.C. with a parent or guardian to attend the Kids’ “State Dinner,” hosted by Mrs. Obama at the White House this summer! Winners also had the opportunity to learn from television personality and member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, Rachael Ray. They toured Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian and watched a kids cooking demonstration. The experience was truly awesome and surreal! Please visit the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge website for a video of the event and the winning recipes.