9 year old Chattanooga girl to represent TN at Kids 'State Dinne - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

9 year old Chattanooga girl to represent TN at Kids 'State Dinner'

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

A nine year old, Chattanooga girl will represent the Volunteer State in Washington D.C. for the "Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids'"State Dinner" in July. 

The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, is a nationwide recipe challenge for kids that promotes cooking and healthy eating as part of the First Lady's Lets Move! initiative. Leya Alani's "Awesome Bake Falafel with Mango Salsa" recipe won for Tennessee and will be one of 56 aspiring young chef's that will join First Lady, Michelle Obama, for a Kids "State Dinner" at the White House on July 14.

“Leya was inspired to make this dish by her uncle,”says Leya’s mom, Deena. “As a family of Middle Eastern descent, Leya and her uncle love to create traditional dishes with a twist. Falafel and mango salsa are a favorite in the Middle East, so thiswas an attempt to make a healthier version. Falafels are usually deep fried, whereas in this recipe they are baked and are just as delicious. The salsa includes tomatoes,which is Tennessee’s state fruit. Tennessee is now home to a large Middle Eastern immigrant population, so there are many falafel places opening their doors in the state.”

"Kids are truly embracing and enjoying healthy eating and preparing healthy meals for their families, and I look forward to meeting this year's winners here at the White House for the Kids' "State Dinner" and trying some of their tasty creations," said Michelle Obama

This is the fifth year of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' "State Dinner" in which 8 to 12-year-olds across the nation were invited to create a healthy, affordable, original, and delicious lunch recipe. 

Each winner and a parent or guardian will be flown to Washington, D.C. courtesy of United Airlines. Accommodations in Washington are provided by the Westin Georgetown. New this year, Blue Apron will be featuring one of the winning recipes on their Family Plan menu for delivery the week of July 11 as part of their efforts to get the whole family into the kitchen preparing healthy meals.

In addition, at the Kids'"State Dinner," winners will have the opportunity to learn from Daytime Host and Nutrition Advocate, Rachael Ray, whose YUM-o! organization has joined to support the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge this year. 

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