First lady Michelle Obama has been working tirelessly over the past four years to create a healthier America. Through her Let's Move! initiative, Obama aimed to help lower the high childhood obesity rate across the nation by teaching families about portion size, which foods are best for growing bodies and why it's important to exercise each day. She also started a variety of initiatives to get families in the spirit of getting healthy, including the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.
Mother Nature Network reports the Lunchtime Challenge asked children ages 8 to 12 to submit nutritious and tasty recipes that healthy kids
could eat for lunch each day. More than 1,200 youngsters submitted their recipes, which were then judged by White House chefs, officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and representatives from the website Epicurious.com.
Fifty-four children were selected as winners and the group recently got together to enjoy a meal at the White House. Children from all 50 states were selected, the news source reports. Recipes included a broccoli and cheese egg-white omelette, vegan sloppy Joe's, power pesto pasta and turkey vegetable soup.
President Obama also made a surprise appearance during the event. He got a laugh out of the kids and their families saying "Usually, I get invited to state dinners, this time I had to crash."
The New York Daily News reports the youngsters tasted a variety of the winning meals during the luncheon held in the East Room of the White House. Mrs. Obama addressed the crowd, thanking them for their recipes and commitment to helping other children get healthy.
"You’re here because your recipes truly stood out," Obama told the children in attendance, according to the news outlet. "You came up with dishes that were packed with nutritious, delicious ingredients - dishes that are good for you, but more importantly, taste good, too."
Samuel Wohabe, 9, of New York, was selected for his recipe. His mom Sheila Tendy said the key to having kids eat better is showing them how the food is grown and where it comes from. She believes it's the connection that entices children to try new foods.
"I really think it’s not just about healthy eating, it’s about connecting the dots of where it comes from and how you can grow it yourself," Tendy told the publication.
Aside from eating healthy fare, the young chefs in attendance got a special performance by Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush. They also had the privilege of touring the Kitchen Garden with White House chef Sam Kass.