Healthy Lifestyles Month: Cooking Up Family Fun

Logo and Kid copyAdvocating for healthy lifestyles has been central to West Virginia PTA’s legislative platform for decades. But the question has been, how do we, as a statewide association, incorporate our advocacy goal into a program that actively involves children and youth?

Through the Healthy Recipe Challenge, which is being conducted in conjunction with Healthy Lifestyles Month, students across West Virginia are encouraged to develop and submit original recipes to West Virginia PTA. Categories in the program include:

  • Hearty Breakfast
  • Nutritious Lunch
  • Wholesome Dinner
  • Nourishing Snack and Appetizers
  • Healthy Desserts
  • Allergy Safe Recipes
  • Best Cooking Video

To participate in the challenge, all recipes must be healthy in nature and incorporate nutritious ingredients. For the Allergy Safe Recipe category, entries should respect restrictions to common allergies such as lactose, gluten and nuts. Students in all grade levels can participate, and students can enter one recipe in each category. Winners will be recognized at the 2015 West Virginia PTA Convention, and all entries will be included in a cookbook published by West Virginia PTA. (Only students from West Virginia are eligible to submit.)

The inspiration for this program came at the 2014 National PTA Convention. Virginia PTA President Brenda Sheridan introduced an idea for a new student-based PTA program. After attending the Virginia PTA Annual Conference, during which Virginia PTA unveiled Power Plates, I could not wait any longer to begin a similar program in West Virginia.

After discussing the program with the West Virginia PTA Board of Managers, we hit the ground running! Our overall goal for the Healthy Recipes Challenge is to encourage healthy lifestyles, and at the same time, continue to develop family engagement strategies that bridge math, reading and writing skills that are learned at school and cultivated in the home. Through the program, we hope to not only encourage students to be adventurous in the kitchen, but also bring families closer by working together to develop healthy meals.

PTA has a strong history of promoting healthy lifestyles – during Healthy Lifestyles Month and all year round – and through our efforts, we will continue to positively impact the lives and futures of students and families. I encourage PTAs at all levels across the country to implement their own healthy recipe challenge, and I urge students and families everywhere to get cooking!

Learn more about West Virginia PTA’s Healthy Recipe Challenge at

Justin Raber serves as the president of West Virginia PTA. 

About West Virginia PTA

West Virginia PTA comprises thousands of members, including families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools.  West Virginia PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.


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