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Haile has been cooking since she was 5 years old! (Courtesy Haile Thomas)

This Kid Can Cook

Haile Thomas, an Arizona sixth-grader, wants kids to eat better

By Jennifer Marino Walters | null null , null
<p>One of Haile’s recipes was served to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama (above). (Courtesy Haile Thomas)<br /><br /></p>

One of Haile’s recipes was served to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama (above). (Courtesy Haile Thomas)

You won’t find 12-year-old Haile Thomas eating chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, or other foods popular among kids. Instead, Haile loves to eat curry shrimp lettuce wraps, zucchini bread, and many more healthy foods she cooks herself.

Haile, a sixth-grader from Tucson, Arizona, hosts her own YouTube cooking show called Kids Can Cook. With help from her 8-year-old sister, Nia, Haile whips up healthy creations such as veggie turkey meat loaf and baked salmon. Her goal is to inspire other kids to get into the kitchen and make their own healthy meals.

“It’s important to eat healthy to have a strong body and mind, and to be ready for school and life,” Haile says.


Haile has been cooking since she was 5, when she started helping her mom in the kitchen. She launched Kids Can Cook in 2010.

“At first it was just for fun,” Haile says. “But eventually we realized how influential the show was in giving kids the confidence to make healthy meals.”

The show has opened up many opportunities for Haile. Last year, her quinoa, black bean, and corn salad recipe earned her an invitation to the Kids’ State Dinner at the White House. It was one of six winning recipes served at the dinner. (Get the recipe here.) She met President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and later sat in Michelle Obama’s box at the 2013 State of the Union address.

Haile has served on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Youth Advisory Board since 2011. She launched the Healthy Girl Adventures Club, a website where girls motivate and inspire one another to get healthy, that same year.

Last year, Haile partnered with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts to help create a healthy and fun “For Kids by Kids” menu. She continues to work with Hyatt to update the menu.

Haile has also spoken at many events and appeared on several television shows. She and her mom recently founded the HAPPY Organization, through which she teaches Arizona youth how to live healthy lifestyles.


Although it is sometimes difficult for Haile to balance her many projects and her schoolwork, her passion for inspiring kids to get healthy keeps her going.

“Try new things you never thought you’d try,” Haile says. “Escape the stereotype that kids should eat cheesy, greasy, fried, dyed, and processed foods.”

The best way to do that?

“Get in the kitchen,” says Haile, “and get cooking!”

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