It’s time to get cooking healthy lunches, Eagle County children |

It’s time to get cooking healthy lunches, Eagle County children

Nicholas Hornbostel, 8, is helping promote the Eagle County Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Hornbostel won a similar contest and got to go to the White House and speak to Michelle Obama as a result.
Special to the Daily |


Sowing Seeds is an educational initiative of the Vail Valley Foundation’s Youth Foundation connecting children to the environment and fostering understanding of the origins of our food. A curriculum and enrichment based program, Sowing Seeds currently serves students ranging from preschool to fifth grade and includes year-round, hands-on activities and experiential learning as well as an annual Summer Camp. Fund-raising dinners and benefits are held throughout the year, allowing students to participate and gain real-life experience as they assist in prepping and plating for a sit-down dinner. For additional information on the Sowing Seeds program, or to learn more about funding a Sowing Seeds project, visit or call 970-471-1259.

Eight-year-old Nicholas Hornbostel has moved from being a competitor seat to being a judge. Last summer Hornbostel won a healthy cooking contest — the Epicurious Healthy Lunchtime Challenge — for his sushi salad recipe. He was the sole Colorado winner and as a result, was invited to the White House for a state dinner where he got to meet Michelle Obama.

“(Michelle) said she believed me that I could do something similar in my county and do something healthy,” Hornbostel said.

And now he is by helping to spearhead the Eagle County Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, which local chef Kelly Liken is also leading along with Sowing Seeds, a Colorado-based edible schoolyard garden enrichment program that Liken helped start locally.

Kids between ages 8 and 12 are invited to create a healthy, affordable and tasty original lunch recipe and submit it by Nov. 1. The challenge aims to raise awareness of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative, of which Liken is the local Eagle Valley representative, while also promoting healthy eating habits and the principles of sustainable agriculture among school children.

Sandy Story is the director of Sowing Seeds. The idea for the dinner came from Hornbostel and his mom, Monika, Story said.

“When school started this year, (Monika) thought it’d be fun if we did a mini state dinner locally,” Story said. “We thought it was a great idea.”

Last week, Hornbostel gave a presentation to the students at Edwards Elementary School, where he attends the third grade.

“I told (the students) that last summer I went to the White House because I won a healthy cooking contest, and I told them that they could enter a healthy recipe at this competition and then you get to have lunch with a very famous chef, Kelly Liken, and with me if you win.”

Hornbostel and his mom, along with Liken and Story, will judge the competition, along with two judges who will be determined. Recipes should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half of the plate or recipe. Recipes must adhere to the USDA’s MyPkate guidelines, which you can find at

Good AND healthy

So does Hornbostel have any advice for kids who are brainstorming which recipe to submit? Of course he does.

“My advice to don’t just focus on how good the food is,” he said. “If it’s very good, it might be unhealthy. But if it’s good and healthy, that’s the recipe for you to enter.”

Each day, Hornbostel’s mom, Monika, packs his lunch, which “never ever” includes sandwiches. His favorite lunchtime score? When mom packs “brown fried rice, fried with avocado oil and she puts carrots and broccoli in the fried rice.”

Kids are welcome to either email their recipes and application (by Nov. 1) to sandystory.sowingseeds@ or they can drop it off at their school office and it will be picked up.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 and

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