Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion


Chopped Challenge

Kids Stir Up Big Fun During Cooking Camp’s “Chopped Challenge”

broccoliThe Center for Nutrition& Activity Promotion has been busy this summer stirring up some big fun—and immensely popular nutrition education—for kids ages 7 to 13.

Offered through CNAP’s OPT For Healthy Living program, this summer’s LEAP Cooking Camp is a five-day interactive cooking and swim day camp for children. The half-day camp aims to help kids develop healthy Lifelong Eating and Activity Patterns (LEAP).

Highlight of this year’s camp sessions is the kid-friendly “Chopped Challenge” held on the final day of cooking camp. Modeled after the popular cooking show, the challenge begins with each team of three or four kids receiving four basic ingredients. Teams can add various other food items to these ingredients while cooking up their own original recipes.


Winning "Chopped Challenge" team members at July's LEAP Cooking Camp were Peyton Shinn, Dannielle Hunt, Seth Bianco-Simeral, and Kevin Reim, for their Tasty Tiny Tacos with Fruit Salad. Tacos made tasty use of black beans, lentils, tofu, and cheese plus spices and five different veggies. The fruit salad combined sliced apples and bananas with plain yogurt and cinnamon.

The winning June recipe, Tasty Tostadas, was cooked up by Destiny Burton, Marah Burton, Indee Conway, and Cal Smith. Tostada ingredients included cooked brown rice, tofu, tomato sauce, cheese, and veggies, layered on a whole-wheat tortilla and then topped with cheese, lettuce, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Celebrity judges for Chico’s highly educational kids’ cooking challenge have included Chico Mayor Mary Goloff and TV personality Matt Vaughan.

According to Jen Murphy of OPT For Healthy Living, because of the immense popularity of this summer’s cooking camps next year’s schedule will be greatly expanded, to accommodate more kids. Special cooking camps for winter and spring breaks may also be offered.

LEAP cooking camps start with two hours of supervised swimming or other fun physical activity, at the Shapiro Pool, followed by a walk over to the OPT For Healthy Living office. Activities there cover food education topics including balanced meals; the problem with soda and sweetened beverages; the importance of water; fat and fast food; fiber and whole grains; portion sizes; and ways to increase physical activity. During hands-on cooking instruction kids also learn how to make everything from Southwestern black-eyed pea and corn salad and meatless meatballs to orange oatmeal pancakes.

June Chopped Challenge Winning Recipe

Tasty Tostadas

Yields: 7 tostadas

Ingredients, tostada filling:

1 cup brown rice
1 package hard tofu
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 red pepper
2 carrots
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 onion
2 tablespoons cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients, tostada topping:

shredded lettuce
cheddar cheese
crisp whole wheat tortilla
balsamic vinaigrette


1. Cook the brown rice according to directions on box.
2. In a pan, sauté onions. Add tofu, carrots and bell peppers. Mix for a couple minutes
3. Pour in tomato sauce. Mix well then add cumin, garlic, and salt and pepper. Add a little cheese and mix until it is melted.
4. Lay a tortilla flat on the plate. Spoon brown rice then spoon tomato and tofu filling on top. Top with shredded cheese and shredded lettuce. 5. Cut whole wheat tortilla into skinny strips. Heat skillet with oil and fry tortilla trips until crisp. Top tostada with crisps tortilla crisps.

July Chopped Challenge Winning Recipe

Tasty Tiny Tacos with Fruit Salad

Tasty Tiny Tacos

Yield: 8 tacos


1 box hard tofu
1 cup tomato sauce
1 15 oz can black beans
2 carrots
1/2 onion
2 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1/3 cup cheese
1/2 cup lentils
1 handful of spinach
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
1 1/2 tablespoons onion chutney
Salt and pepper
Whole wheat or corn tortillas


1. Cook lentils according to package. Meanwhile chop onion, red bell pepper, carrots, zucchini and tofu.
2. Put onions in skillet on medium heat with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Cook until tender. Add carrots, zucchini, peppers, and tofu to skillet. Stir and cook for about 4 minutes then add black beans.
3. Add the tomato sauce and balsamic vinaigrette. Mix well. Add spinach, chili powder, oregano, onion chutney, and salt and pepper to taste. Add cheese at end to melt.
4. To assemble tacos: Lay down tortilla on plate, Place a spoonful of lentils on bottom, top with main mixture, then with extra cheese.

Fruit Salad

Yield: about 8 1/4-cup servings


3 apples
3 bananas
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon cinnamon


1. Cut up apples and bananas into bite size pieces. Place in large bowl
2. Add yogurt and cinnamon. Stir. Place in refrigerator until serving.









June "Chopped Challenge" winners (L to R) are Indee Conway, Marah Burton, Destiny Burton, and up front is Cal Smith.


Chopped Winner





July "Chopped Challenge" winners (L to R) were Peyton Shinn, Dannielle Hunt, Seth BiancoSimeral, and Kevin Reim,


Destiny, Mila, Nikki





Destiny Burton, Mila Purvis, and Nikalette Fashing cook up a salad for their "Chopped Challenge" entry.














Eduardo Barbero cooks up something new to do with zucchini.