WASHINGTON — Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Sept. 7 kicked off the Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge, a new competition designed to improve school meals and the health of children across the nation through the creation of new recipes for inclusion on school lunch menus. The challenge is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative.

“Improving the nutrition and health of kids across the nation is a national priority and the Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge is a great way to engage the creativity of talents of chefs, students, food service professionals and parents or other community members,” Mr. Vilsack said. “Through the challenge web site, families can vote with their forks and help introduce exciting new recipes into the National School Lunch Program and beyond.”

As part of the challenge, teams will be able to submit original recipes that meet nutritional requirements in three categories: whole grain foods, dark green and/or orange vegetables, and dry beans and peas (legumes).

Submissions must be taste tested by at least 30 students who participate in the National School Lunch Program.

A grand prize winner will be chosen by a judging panel, while a popular choice winner will be based on public voting. The judges also will choose award winners for the top two recipes in each category, and the top 10 recipes in each category will be published in a “Recipes for Healthy Kids Cookbook.” Winning teams will be invited to prepare their meals alongside White House chefs.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 30. For more information visit recipesforkidschallenge.com.