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NEWS RELEASE June 16, 2011

Vegetarian Recipes Are Winners in USDA’s Healthy Kids Contest

Doctors Praise ‘Tasty Tots’ and ‘Harvest Bake’ and Urge More Low-Fat School Lunch Options

WASHINGTON—Students across the country are gaining access to new healthy vegetarian options in school lunch lines. Tasty Tots, a low-fat, cholesterol-free recipe, has been declared the popular choice winner in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Recipes for Healthy Kids contest. Another low-fat vegetarian recipe, the Central Valley Harvest Bake, took first place in the contest’s dark orange and green vegetable category.

Doctors at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) congratulate Bellingham Public Schools in Bellingham, Mass. for submitting the winning recipe for Tasty Tots. The main ingredient, sweet potatoes, made the recipe eligible for the bright orange and green vegetable category. The chefs cleverly chose chick peas as the binder, providing even more fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The Central Valley Harvest Bake recipe was developed by the Joshua Cowell School in Manteca, Calif.

With one out of every three American children overweight or obese, PCRM supports the introduction of additional healthy vegetarian options in schools. Menus in many school lunch programs are too high in saturated fat and too low in fiber- and nutrient-rich vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

“Healthy vegetarian options should be part of the menu at every school in the United States,” says PCRM dietitian Kathryn Strong, M.S., R.D. “We need to go the extra mile to help children choose more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy vegetarian foods to combat chronic diseases and set a course for a lifetime of healthy eating.”

Watch for the Bellingham school lunch team's Tasty Tots on school lunch menus around the nation.

PCRM offers other healthy school lunches recipes at

For an interview with Kathryn Strong or another PCRM physician or dietitian, contact Vaishali Honawar at 202-527-7339 or

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Vaishali Honawar

Kathryn Strong, M.S., R.D.
Kathryn Strong, M.S., R.D.

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