First Lady Michelle Obama Welcomes Rachael Ray to White House Kitchen Garden

Michelle Obama
Photo Credit: Splash News

Michelle Obama has made healthy eating, especially where children are concerned, a priority of hers since being in the White House. On June 6, a handful of students were chosen to participate in harvesting produce from the White House Kitchen Garden. The First Lady was joined by chef Rachael Ray, who is also an author, daytime host and child nutrition advocate, as well as a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

A couple of months ago, 25 young chefs from Wisconsin, Colorado, and Louisiana helped plant the garden, and they were invited back so they could literally see the fruits of their labor, and taste the results. These students had the privilege of whipping up some healthy creations with Michelle Obama and Rachael Ray; one dish was a spring vegetable curry made with fresh ingredients from the White House Kitchen Garden.

Michelle Obama Hosts Fifth Annual Kids’ State Dinner

In a somewhat related event about a week later on July 14, 56 lucky kids (one from each of the 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia) along with a parent or guardian had the privilege to dine with Michelle Obama at the fifth annual Kids’ “State Dinner” (which is actually a lunch); they were all winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge contest; over 1,200 submissions were received. The challenge was for kids aged eight to 12 to come up with a recipe that was not only healthy, but tasty, affordable, original, and followed the USDA’s My Plate nutrition guidelines. That’s a tall order for kids, but luckily they were allowed to be assisted by a parent or guardian in developing their creations.


The State Dinner menu was created based on a few of the winning recipes, but all recipes are included in a cookbook that gets published every year. The idea behind the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is to encourage healthy eating in kids across the nation and to promote cooking. If kids know how to cook, they might be less inclined to eat out and make unhealthy food choices later on in life. Some of the winning recipes included West Wing Chicken with Secret Service Noodles, All Kale Caesar!, and American Gothic Calzones.

Given the obesity epidemic in the United States, it’s encouraging to see leadership in healthy eating from the highest levels of government office through First Lady Michelle Obama and through celebrity chefs such as Rachael Ray. Perhaps the kids who visited the White House Kitchen Garden will be inspired to make better food choices for themselves, or even spread the message to their peers.

“2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ ‘State Dinner’ Winners,” Let’s Move! website;, last accessed July 19, 2016.
“The Spring White House Kitchen Garden Harvest,” Let’s Move! website;, last accessed July 19, 2016.
“First Lady Michelle Obama to Harvest White House Kitchen Garden,” The White House web site;, last accessed July 19, 2016.
Obama, Michelle, Instagram post, June 6, 2016;