Obama: Chips and Gaucamole ‘My Big Thing’

“This is a much hipper crowd,” President Barack Obama said today in the East Room of the White House, where his wife, Michelle, hosted 54 children and their families at the annual Kids’ State Dinner.

“We have a lot of state dinners around here,” the president said, “but they’re not always this cheerful and fun.”

The youngsters won a healthy recipe contest as part of the first lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which encourages healthy eating and exercise.

The president made a short stop at the event, adding some lightness and comic relief to a day spent mired in international crises — he had come from an address to the press about the Malaysian airliner shot down over Ukraine, the president acknowledging that at least one American is among the 298 dead, and he’d been on the phone with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu this morning, with sirens heard in the background.

Young people “keep my spirits up,” the commander-in-chief told the kids. “They are so energetic and full of ideas.”

The president took the opportunity to make a confession about his own “pig-out indulgences.”

“It’s not like our family, including myself, don’t have some snacks once in a while,” he explained. “They may not be on the perfect nutrition chart.”

His daughter, Malia, is crazy about ice cream, he said. Sasha, his other child, loves “pie, just like me.”

The first lady’s vice  is “French fries,” which she has “vowed” to curtail.

Michelle Obama made another culinary confession:

“Who’s a messy cook here. Me too.”

“My big thing,” the president revealed, “is chips and guacamole — just give me a bowl, and I’m out of my mind.”

For today’s meal, the first lady and her guests dined on chicken and grape salad lettuce wraps, a black bean burger and a strawberry and banana smoothie, among other bites. The recipes for the menu were concocted by the children chefs, and curated by White House chef Sam Kass, another event guest, along with Al Roker, the “Today” show anchor, who has been vocal about his weight loss struggles.

The first lady said that obesity among American children is something she will continue to fight. ”We spend $10 billion on the school lunch program,” she said. “The food our kids eat today will affect them for decades. This is no joke.”

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