PHOENIX, Feb. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) announced the grand-prize winner of the 2017 Walk On! Kids Cooking Challenge. Katie Cafferelli, age 11, from Saint John XXIII Catholic School in Scottsdale, was selected as this year's top winner with her recipe, Totally Ave-Some.
"I love to cook and eating healthy is really important because that's how you stay healthy when you're older and it makes you happier," said Katie. "One of my favorite things is avocado and the rest of the ingredients are colorful and full of antioxidants."
Katie plays tennis, volleyball and basketball. She love spaghetti squash, kale, salmon and Brussel sprouts. She also started a composting program at her school.
As the winner of the 2017 contest, Katie received a new bike to help her stay active and have fun while doing it. She also has the honor of creating the most nutritious, tastiest and popular side dish recipe in the whole state of Arizona.
As part of its effort to inspire kids to make healthier choices, BCBSAZ invited kids ages 9-12 across the state to submit ideas for healthy side dish recipes. Recipes had to be original, include at least one fruit or vegetable and be able to be prepared in 20 minutes or less.
Recipe submissions from across the state underwent a three-part scoring process. First, a nutrition specialist reviewed all the recipe submissions and chose the top five finalists based on each recipe's level of nutrition. Then the top five finalists participated in a public event at the Talking Stick Resort Arena prior to a Phoenix Suns home game where game attendees had a chance to taste and vote for their favorite recipe. For the third part of the scoring process, videos of contestants discussing what makes their recipe so good were posted online for a public vote. The recipe that received the most points from all three scoring categories was declared the winner.
"This year's recipe submissions were full of creative combinations of healthy ingredients," said Myrna Collins, health promotion executive, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. "We saw a wide variety of ingredients from quinoa and black beans to sweet potatoes and parsnips. It was inspiring to see so many children in Arizona excited to make healthy foods. This is a great program and I'm happy to be part of it."
This year's other finalists included:
- Kash Walter, age 12 from Wittman, Ariz., who entered his recipe for "Zucquinoa." Kash is homeschooled.
- Suzette Jones, age 10 from Scottsdale, Ariz., who entered her recipe for "Tomatocado Salad." Suzette attends North Ranch Elementary.
- Tovi Lieberman, age 9 from Tucson, Ariz., who entered his recipe for "Tovi's Sweet Potato Parsnip Mash." Tovi attends Lineweaver Elementary School.
- Ashlyn Campisi, age 12 from Phoenix, who entered her recipe for "Swirly Whirly Zucchini Pasta." Ashlyn attends Christ Lutheran School.
The Walk On! Kids Cooking Challenge is part of the 12th annual Walk On! Challenge, a free month-long health and fitness challenge held each year in February.
With childhood obesity rates reaching epidemic proportions, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona designed this program to motivate fourth and fifth-grade students across Arizona to incorporate healthy habits into their daily routines for now and in the future. The Kids Cooking Challenge is a way to extend the Walk On! message outside the classroom.
For more information about Walk On!, visit www.walkonaz.com.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is committed to helping Arizonans get healthier faster and stay healthier longer. With a focus on connecting people with the care they need, BCBSAZ offers health insurance and related services to nearly 1.5 million customers.
BCBSAZ, a not-for-profit company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The company employs nearly 1,500 people in its Phoenix, Chandler, Flagstaff and Tucson offices.
Through advanced clinical programs and community outreach, BCBSAZ is moving health forward. To learn more, visit azblue.com.
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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona