The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is now accepting submissions for its Kids Recipe Challenge, a new initiative aimed at showcasing restaurants’ culinary ingenuity of creating healthful menu options for children.

Created with founding partner McCormick For Chefs, the food away from home division of McCormick & Company, the Kids Recipe Challenge will recognize delicious and nutritious recipes from children’s menus at restaurants and foodservice establishments nationwide.

The contest takes an “industry tested, kid approved” approach, with a panel of industry professionals selecting finalists and elementary school students choosing the winners.

“The Kids Recipe Challenge is another great example of galvanizing the restaurant and foodservice community around the importance of ensuring that American families have ready access to nutritious food,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “We designed the initiative to be a fun and creative way to showcase healthful menu options, and a source of inspiration for foodservice operators and chefs to continue to add those options to their menus.”

 Phil Kafarakis, McCormick For Chefs vice president of foodservice, says, “A key aspect of McCormick For Chefs’ mission is to support operators and chefs who provide nutritionally balanced kids’ meals that are great tasting.

“Kids’ palates are evolving and they want food choices that are authentic and globally inspired. McCormick For Chefs helps meet demand and deliver the flavors that kids love,” he continues. “Partnering with NRA to conduct the Kids Recipe Challenge provides the ideal way to showcase recipes that combine our passion for flavor and nutrition.”

To participate in the Kids Recipe Challenge, restaurant and foodservice operators should submit one or more recipes from their children’s menus that meet the nutrition guidelines from Kids LiveWell and MyPlate.

Operators/chefs may participate in four categories: independent restaurant or company with fewer than 20 units; mult-iunit company with more than 20 units; contract managed foodservice; and independent noncommercial foodservice.

The deadline to submit recipes is January 7, 2013. The winners will be revealed at the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show (May 18–21 in Chicago).

The Kids Recipe Challenge is a complement to Kids LiveWell, which the NRA launched in July 2011 in collaboration with Healthy Dining to help parents and children find healthful menu options when dining out.

To date, more than 100 brands representing nearly 30,000 restaurants are participating in Kids LiveWell.

Health & Nutrition, Industry News