Fifth graders all around the state of Arizona were able to participate in the eighth annual Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Walk On Kids Cooking Challenge, which encourages kids to make recipes that are nutritious, delicious and can be put in a lunchbox to take to school.

By having their fifth graders be a part of the contest, teachers are required to teach and promote eating healthy and exercising in the classroom. This involves students keeping track of what they eat and how much they exercise each day.

“It’s important because it’s good to have a habit of eating healthy and growing up being active,” said Aimee Katz, a fifth-grade teacher at Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary School. “Allison brought hers in for the class and it was delicious.”

Allison Williams, a 10-year-old at Rattlesnake Ridge, made a Chicken Gyro recipe, which included chicken tenders, Greek yogurt, olive oil, garlic, whole wheat pita bread and more. The recipe included mixing many of the ingredients in a plastic container and having it sit in the fridge for several hours to marinate. After, chicken tenders are broiled, put into a pita bread and the marinate is put on top.

“I was really happy and excited about my recipe,” said Williams. “Kids could try my recipe and be healthy and nutritious.”

Williams wasn’t the only one in the class to make a recipe, but she was the only one who ended up a finalist in the competition. Her teacher, Katz, was surprised by how well all the recipes turned out.

“I was shocked at how well they did,” said Katz. “They all had very creative ideas on how to make a lunch.”

Another finalist in the area was 9-year-old Sammi Attebery, a student from Twin Peaks Elementary School. Her recipe, Apple EXPLOSIONS, which consisted of Sun Butter, wheat crackers and apple slices shaped as discs. The discs, which resembled Frisbees, were used by Attebery to remind kids to exercise. The Sun Butter was used so that kids with food allergies could still eat her recipe. 

“I did it because it’s healthy,” said Attebery. “My favorite part was working with the chef. I learned a lot.”

Attebery and Williams were able to spend a day with a chef who helped them prepare their recipe and put together a video, which was an entry requirement into the contest. Attebery worked with Chef Eric Ramirez from Culinary Dropout in Phoenix and Williams worked with Chef Taylor Dumo from Zinburger.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona continues to be the largest health care provider in Arizona and continues to encourage healthy eating and staying active for young kids. 

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