Maybe this is the year I’ll convince my youngest to enter the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. This is the third year that First Lady Michelle Obama, the USDA, the U.S. Department of Education, and Epicurious have joined together to challenge kids 8-12 years old to create a healthy lunch inspired by MyPlate guidelines.

One junior chef from each of the 50 states, plus one each from Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the District of Columbia will have a recipe chosen to be featured in the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook and be invited with a parent or guardian to the White House for a Kids’ State Dinner.

Recipes must be original and be fruit and veggie heavy. Half of the recipe must be fruits and/or veggies and they can also include low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean proteins. Kids also need to submit the story of how they came up with the dish. Officially, recipes will be judged based on this criteria: 50 percent healthy nutritional value of the recipe; 25 percent perceived taste; 15 percent creativity and originality; 5 percent affordability and 5 percent the story behind the recipe.

To enter, a parent or guardian must enter contact information and recipes on the Epicurious Healthy Lunchtime Challenge webpage or print out a PDF of the entry form and mail it in. Entries will be accepted starting today at 9 AM ET until 11:59 PM ET on April 5. Winners will be announced sometime in June.

I’d love for my son to enter the contest, but he no longer has the ambition to be a chef so I don’t know if it will actually happen. After snow day binge watching the TV show “Leverage” this winter, he now wants to be a thief who helps people who have been taken advantage of. If you’ve ever watched the show, you’ll understand this a noble ambition. Hmmmmm. One of the good guy thieves on the show is a really good cook. Maybe I can appeal to him that way.

Do you have a kid who you think has what it takes to win the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge?

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