Editor's Note: My eight-year-old twins covered the White House 2013 Kids State Dinner for BlogHer and wrote the piece below. From interviewing the participants and talking about their featured recipe to meeting the president when he dropped in on the event, it was a memorable day from start to finish. It was an eye-opening experience on how large a role kids can play in getting the entire family to eat in a healthy, mindful manner. And it cemented in their minds that journalism is a very cool job, especially when you get to meet the president. --Mel
Michelle Obama knows that the best way to get kids to eat their vegetables is to involve them in choosing what they eat. On July 9th, we were at the White House for the 2013 Kids State Dinner. This event started last year, and it's part of the Let's Move campaign. 54 kids were chosen for the Kids State Dinner because they had very healthy recipes. They came to celebrate their work and present it to the public.
One of these kids was Emma Scielzo, age 10, from Maryland. She made a healthy Indian dish called Chicken Masala Wrap. When we asked her what gave her the idea for her dish, she said, "my grandparents are Indian, so I wanted to do a recipe that was healthy and Indian." She made up this recipe herself.
Emma Scielzo by Melissa Ford
We asked Ingrid Lamberg, who is 9 and from the District of Columbia, if she thought she ate healthy most of the time. She told us that she did. And Lydia Finkbeiner, age 9 and from Indiana, creator of the Sneaky Chili Surprise hid cooked carrots in her dish because her brother doesn't like cooked carrots and now he wouldn't know that they're in there.
Lydia Finkbeiner by Melissa Ford
Also there was Sam Kass from Mrs. Obama's staff, the Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition. He stopped to talk to us and told us what inspired him to cook.
I thought that if you cooked food and you knew how to do it well, you're going to make your life better and you're going to make your family's life better. I thought that when I have kids, I wanted to make sure I knew how to cook for them. And that's what got me started, and I really loved it even more than I thought I would. And now, look at me!
Sam Kass by Melissa Ford
Other big surprises of the day were the First Lady's speech...
...a performance by singer Rachel Crow, and President Obama! He came into the room and started shaking hands with the kids and parents.
President Obama shaking hands by Melissa Ford
He almost forgot about the press, but then they brought us over to meet him and shake his hand. He's really nice, and he's like a regular adult except that he's the president.
President Barack Obama greets young reporters at the Kids' State Dinner in the East Room of the White House, July 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
After the lunch, we went out to the White House garden even though it was drizzling. It's the first garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt's Victory Garden. We got to see the vegetables that people were eating inside.
Inspired to cook? You can check out the recipes on the Let's Move site. Or create your own and enter it in the 2014 contest next winter.
By S and G Ford (with typing help by Melissa Ford)
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