I’m a Tulsa Kid: Maya Gabriella Jacob

Shape Your Future Recipe Contest Winner

As part of their mission to educate Oklahomans to make healthy choices, Shape Your Future (shapeyourfutureok.com) partnered with TulsaKids for a contest to seek out a young chef who could create a healthy, delicious recipe packed with fruits or vegetables. Shape Your Future encourages everyone to fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal, and 13-year-old Maya Jacob’s creation hit the mark. Her recipe for Moroccan Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Edamame Brown Rice is a winning combination of lean protein, whole grains and colorful veggies that is delicious, healthy and visually appealing.

Maya Jacob. Photo by Sheeba Atiqi

Young people like Maya can lead the way in creating a bright future for Oklahoma. The state is ranked 48th nationally for health, and has some of the highest child and adult obesity rates in the U.S. Shape Your Future wants to change that statistic by educating all Oklahomans about making healthy choices. They want families to know that besides eating fresh fruits and veggies and drinking plenty of water, kids need 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and adults need 30 minutes per day. And, of course, staying tobacco-free is always the best choice for a healthy lifestyle.

With Maya’s yummy dinner recipe on the table, making the healthy choice is easy!

Q: What is Shape Your Future and how did you get involved?

A: I discovered Shape Your Future through TulsaKids. I like to visit Shape Your Future’s website for great tips, healthy recipes and the articles they post about exercise and health are super fun to read and informative.

Q: How did you learn to cook?

A: Watching cooking shows, watching my parents cook and YouTube videos.

Q: Do you cook with your parents?

A: Yes, I enjoy watching their enthusiasm for cooking. I love how they create new, flavorful dishes and always allow me to help them in the kitchen and just be a part of the whole process from start to finish.

Q: How did you learn about healthy recipes?

A: I became interested about four years ago with Michelle Obama’s healthy school lunch initiative.

Q: What are your favorite foods?

A: Chicken fried rice, steak and turkey burgers.

Q: What else do you do to have a healthy lifestyle?

A: I make sure I go outside, get fresh air, ride my bike, play basketball, and I make sure I don’t eat too much fast food or soda.

Q: How would you encourage other kids to be healthy?

A: Make healthy choices, don’t eat too much sugar or soda, and go outdoors often, even just to walk a few minutes. Be active and drink lots of water! Get involved in some type of sport, yoga or weekly exercise routine.

Q: What are some healthy options where you like to eat out in Tulsa?

A: I enjoy Zoe’s Kitchen, All about About Cha and PF Chang’s.

Q: Who inspires you?

A: My parents, grandparents and my special needs twin brothers.

Q: What do you want to do in the future?

A: I want to be a pediatrician.

Q: Tell me a fun fact about you?

A: I’ve climbed to the top of one of the Egyptian pyramids, and I’ve met and had lunch with Michelle Obama.

Shape Your Future is funded through the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) and the Oklahoma State Department of Health. We proudly support the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan and its mission to increase the overall health and wellness of Oklahomans.

Maya’s Moroccan Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Edamame Brown Rice

(serves 4-6)


  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 large bell peppers (I like to use one green, one yellow and one red for the bright colors it adds to food presentation)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 cup edamame
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 4 cups water
  • nonstick olive oil cooking spray
  • wooden skewers (soak in cold water for 30 minutes before using)


In a bowl, mix together the chicken, garlic, lemon juice, turmeric, saffron, cumin, paprika and white pepper. Marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator, or I prefer overnight for more flavor.

In a large stockpot, combine the water with the brown rice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 35 minutes. Add edamame and sliced carrots to rice and cook an additional 10 minutes or until rice is tender. Set aside.

Cut bell peppers in 1-inch square pieces. Remove chicken from marinade and thread the chicken and bell peppers onto wooden skewers. Turn grill on medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place kebabs on grill and cook for 9 minutes on each side, turning once or until thoroughly cooked.

Serve with brown rice.

Categories: Food, I’m A Tulsa Kid