First Lady Michelle Obama’s battle for school lunch reform continued to heat up Friday as she urged a room full of kids and parents to become advocates for healthy lunch programs, despite “grownups’ ” attempts to block reform.

“And while the vast majority of the schools are doing just fine with these new standards, those few complaining voices happen to be the loudest voices and they’re getting the most attention right now,” the first lady said at the third annual Kids’ State Dinner, slamming Congress for “undoing some of the progress” made.

With 54 kid representatives from each state and territory attending the dinner after submitting winning recipes, Obama took the opportunity to center her remarks on school lunch, suggesting the voices of parents and children are necessary in the fight for healthy, nutritious lunches. A panel of judges — which included White House chef Sam Kass — picked the tastiest and healthiest recipes among the 1,500 submissions.

The nutritious component of the contest prompted recipes such as winning dishes “Grillin’ Out Veggie Style” — a seasoned black bean burger topped with avocado spread and served with a side of carrot salad that was cooked up by 10-year-old Georgian Mira Solomon. Another dish, crafted by Michigan’s Elena Hirsch, 11, was dubbed “Barack-oli and Mich-room Obama-let.” The goat cheese and veggie omelette included “carMALIAized” onions, named after 16-year-old Malia Obama.

Though declaring “party in the White House,” at the beginning of her speech, the first lady’s tone turned serious when talking policy. With a sense of urgency, she warned of interest groups that want to keep with the status quo on school lunches.


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