2016 Healthy Kids Cook-Off Rules


Children ages 3-17 that reside and go to school in the state of Maryland. There will be 4 categories: PreK (Parent & Me), Elementary, Middle and High School. Children must attend public or private school or be homeschooled. Schools must be certified with the state of Maryland to be eligible to win a prize. If selected as a finalist, children/teens in the Elementary, Middle and High School categories must be able to cook their recipe independent of a parent or guardian. Children in PreK must cook complete recipe with parent/guardian.

Important Dates

3/1/2015 – 4/13/2016 – Registration is OPEN

4/17/2016 – Finalists announced

4/30/2015 – Healthy Kids Cook-Off – April 30th 10:00-11:30am Hosted at the YMCA, Ellicott City, Maryland

Winners & Prizes

There will be a total of four (4) winners, one (1) in each of the following categories:
Category 1: PreK (Parent & Me)
Category 2: Elementary School
Category 3: Middle School
Category 4: High School

The prizes will be as follows for the Healthy Cook (Child/Youth ages 4-17):

PreK (Parent & Me) Winner = $250.00 Cash Prize
Elementary School Winner = $250.00 Cash Prize
Middle School Winner = $250.00 Cash Prize
High School Winner = $250.00 Cash Prize

School Prizes

This competition is a great way for students to raise money for their schools! In addition to finalists winning an award, the Winning Student’s school will receive Healthy Cooking GRANT for $250.00. If a student is being homeschooled, they will receive a GRANT for $100.00 for their academic education and we will donate $150.00 to the charity of your choice. The school grants for EACH category are allocated as follows for the finalist’s school:

Public School (PreK, Elementary School, Middle School, High School) = $250.00
Private School (must be registered with the state of Maryland) = $250.00
Home School = $150.00 for Personal Education + $100.00 to charity of your choice

*For all School Grants, we ask that you school submits to us a video 30 seconds – 2 minutes in length, sharing how the Healthy Little Cooks grant has helped your school eat or cook healthier!

How Schools Can Encourage Students to Participate: 

* If a student wins from your school, your school will win a Healthy Cooking Grant for $250.00. So, the more students from your school that enter the competition, the greater your chances are for winning the grant. Here are a few ways you can encourage your students to participate:

#1 Promote the Cook-off in your school newsletter, website, PTA/PTO events, at your wellness night, FACS Classes and after school programs.

#2 Send cook-off flyer home with students. download healthy kids cook-off flyer here 

#3 Send cook-off submission deadline reminder to students one week before cook-off deadline, Wednesday, April 13, 2016


  1. All recipes must be prepared in 45 minutes or less and be healthy or healthier versions of traditionally unhealthy foods.
  2. No frying or baking allowed.
  3. Recipes cannot contain added shortening or butter (margarine allowed).
    All recipes must contain at least 2 vegetables.
  4. Recipes must be able to be duplicated by the student if they become a finalist during the cook-off. Each finalist will receive the assistance of a culinary coach curing the cook-off.

Judging Criteria

Recipes must fit one of two categories:
#1 Original Creation (a unique recipe crafted by you)
#2 Healthy Recipe Makeover (a traditionally unhealthy recipe with a healthy twist).
If selected as a finalist, all recipes must be completed within 45 minutes or less during the LIVE Cook-off.

Finalist Selection Process

Submitted recipes will be judged and finalist recipes selected based on the following percentage points:

Recipe health factor – (25%)
Photograph of Recipe / Presentation – (25%)
Personal Narrative – (20%)
Originality/Creativity – (20%)
Use of accessible ingredients – (5%)
Duplicability – (5%)

The eight (8) Recipes that have the percentage ranking will be considered Finalists and will cook their recipes LIVE Maryland Healthy Kids Cook-Off hosted at the Howard County Y, Ellicott City on Saturday, April 30th. There will be two finalist selected in each category as follows:

Two (2) Finalists – PreK (Kid & Parent)  – Must cook recipe with parent/guardian
Two (2) Finalists – Elementary School – Must cook recipe independently
Two (2) Finalists – Middle School – Must cook recipe independently
Two (2) Finalists – High School – Must cook recipe independently

In case of a tie, Healthy Little Cooks will select the Finalist.

Winning Recipe Judging Process

At the LIVE Maryland Healthy Kids Cook-Off Event, hosted on April 30th, finalist recipes will be judged and winners selected based on the following percentage system:

Taste – (50%)
Food’s Appearance/Presentation – (25%)
Chef’s Confidence and Culinary Skills – (15%)
Time – (10%)

In case of a percentage tie, judges will select the Winning Cook.

Submit Your Recipe