I have partnered with Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and Medical City Children’s Hospital to share with you my experience with the Kid’s Fit Menu Challenge featuring a healthy menu including fruits and vegetables.

Cheddars Kids Fit Challenge

I was lucky enough to attend the Cheddars Kids Fit Challenge competition along with an impressive panel of judges. These included Ian Baines, President and CEO of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, guest Sebastian Schaefer, and Chopped Junior Winner Tara O’Donnell.

Cheddars Kids Fit Challenge

As a dad of some pretty creative kids this was a really inspiring cooking competition to witness. 45+ Dallas Fort Worth area high schools participate in the Kid’s Fit program. Four of these schools sent their most talented culinary students to compete at the Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen test kitchen. The students were chosen based on their desire to continue their education in the culinary arts after high school.


The students were asked to create kid-friendly nutritious dishes using fruits and vegetables as components of the meal. In addition to the minimum of 1 cup of fruits and/or vegetables, each meal had to meet specific nutritional criteria:

  • Calories – 550 kcal or less
  • Total fat – up to 30% of total calories
  • Saturated fat – up to 10% of total calories
  • Trans fat – 1 mg or less
  • Sodium – 850 mg or less
  • Fiber – 2 grams or more
  • Total sugar – up to 30% of total calories
  • Added sugar – less than 10% of total calories

Cheddars Kids Fit Challenge

Teams were assigned different categories of menu items, such as chicken dishes or pasta. The judges tasted all of the meals and provided constructive feedback to the teams.

Chedders Kid Fit Students 2

The Winners

The winners will each receive a scholarship from Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. There were two winning teams:

  • Vivian Martin & Kaitlyn Flenker will receive scholarships to attend Buinger Career and Technology Education Academy (HEB ISD)
  • Abelardo Villegas & Hope Cachay will receive scholarships to attend Jack E Singley Academy (Irving ISD)

The winners will also have their dishes featured on the kids menu at select Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen founders, Aubrey Good and Doug Rogers, believe that when a meal is prepared and cooked fresh just for you, it not only tastes better, it makes you feel good.

I am really looking forward to taking my own kids to Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen to sample the winning healthy dishes and hopefully inspire them to be as passionate about their goals as these talented students are.