Kids Teaching Kids “21 Day Challenge”

Getty Images

NBC 5 and Medical City Children’s Hospital invite you to sign up your children for the kids teaching kids "21-Day Challenge" to develop healthy eating habits now through February 22. The challenge itself runs from January 23 through February 12. Access free resources at

When Kerri Hebert’s first grade daughter signed up for the "kids teaching kidsSM  21-Day Challenge at Sparks Elementary, she had no idea that the program would impact the entire family. “The challenge was for our 1st grader,” says Hebert, “But it had a huge impact on our family of five.”

The Hebert’s are among thousands of North Texas families to benefit from the Medical City Children’s Hospital kids teaching kids 21-Day Challenge. The program’s mission is to help children develop healthy eating habits and fight obesity, which has nearly tripled in children within the past 30 years. It all begins with changing what children choose to eat during snack time.

“It takes 21 days to change a habit,” explains program director Ryan Eason, “So, we provide the tools and education for children to make healthy eating changes within 21 days.”

The program starts long before the challenge begins. Medical City Children’s Hospital works with Texas ProStart culinary programs in high schools across north Texas. Registered dietitians visit culinary students in their classrooms to teach them about nutrition, reading food labels and calculating nutrition facts for recipes. Those talented students then create fun, kid-friendly snack recipes featuring one or more servings of fruits and vegetables. The idea is that, when it comes to snacking, kids know what kids like.

The recipes are compiled in a book, also photographed and designed by high school students.  Medical City Children’s Hospital prints and distributes the books to elementary school students across north Texas.

Elementary-aged students in school districts with a Texas ProStart program that helped create the recipes and book design are then invited to participate in the 21-Day Challenge.  Every day, for 21 consecutive days, children are challenged to create and eat a healthy snack from the recipe book, or choose from hundreds of recipes on the kids teaching kids website, which high school culinary students have contributed to since the program began in 2009.  

The result is that kids are getting in the kitchen, engaging in better nutrition and developing more healthy habits one snack at a time. Data from the program shows that children who participate in the 21-Day Challenge are willing to try eating more fruits and vegetables even after the challenge is finished. “It changed the way we snack in our house,” says Hebert, “We always have fruits and veggies on hand and we didn’t before.”

The influence of Texas ProStart culinary students and the kids teaching kids program extends beyond the 21-Day Challenge and throughout the community. Children outside participating school districts can benefit from hundreds of online recipes. And, through a partnership with the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association and local area restaurants, students’ recipes have been developed into a Kids Fit Menu, customized to the restaurant in which it is offered. A complete Kids Fit Meal offers two servings of fruits and vegetables, which parents appreciate, and it includes fun menu items that kids love!

Sign-up for the 2017 21-Day Challenge Now – January 22. The challenge itself runs from January 23 through February 12.

Access free resources at

Contact Us