Last year, more than 1,200 kids entered the first Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Fifty-four of those kids had their recipes chosen to be included in a recipe book and got to attend the first Kids’ State Dinner hosted by Michelle Obama with a surprise visit by the president himself.

The first lady, the USDA, the U.S. Department of Education, and Epicurious are teaming up again this year for the second Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Again, 54 kids will win a trip to Washington, D.C. and a chance to attend a Kids’ State Dinner.

Children 8 to 12 and their parents (or legal guardians) are invited to create and enter their best original lunch recipes inspired by MyPlate, the USDA's user-friendly guide to healthy eating. One winner from each of the 50 states and U.S. Territories will be awarded a trip to Washington, D.C., and the opportunity to attend the Kids' "State Dinner," hosted by Mrs. Obama at the White House this summer.
Recipes need to include all five food groups and fruits and veggies should make up about half of the recipe. Children are expected to work with a parent or a guardian to create an original recipe. Entries will be accepted from April 3 – May 12, 2013 and winners will be notified in late June. The Kids’ State Dinner will take place sometime in July or August.

Recipes can be entered online or by mail.

Related on MNN:

Free “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook”

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

First Lady invites 8- to 12-year-olds to create healthy lunches
In the second Healthy Lunchtime Challenge kids enter their best original lunch recipes for a chance to attend the Kids’ State Dinner.