Valley students prepare to cook for Congress

- What began as a challenge ended as a delicious success.

"Being able to win was a huge deal for the both of us," Leslie Rodriguez said.

The lunch  that Alanja and Leslie came up with took home the win against eight other student-made creations.

Now their healthy meal will travel to Washington, D.C. for the National Cooking Up Change competition.

"Our idea was a little bit different," Alanja Knight said. "We combined two foods that most people are common with; a taco and a burrito, and our dish was the only vegetarian option."

Their Mexican main course, with a side of green beans and a cup of peanut butter and bananas, had to pass the taste test, but also meet strict dietary guidelines.

"Our biggest challenge was trying to make a meal that most students would enjoy that's still healthy," Rodriguez said.

It wasn't just about tasting good and being healthy. This meal had to be under $1.50, and these girls did it with a penny to spare.

It's a challenge district dietitian Sara Martinelli says schools across the country face every day.

"Getting them involved makes them more willing to eat healthy food," she said. "Just having students see the challenges that go into creating a healthy meal, but also something they like will sell that to their fellow classmates."

As they prepare to serve their meal to Congress members in D.C., the only hard hitting question they'll be asking politicians is if they want more.

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