A middle school student from Menlo Park had lunch with first lady Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday after being named one of this year’s “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” winners. Rose Scott, 12, who is about to enter eighth grade at the Girls’ Middle School in Palo Alto, was the California winner for her pork-and-tofu lettuce cups recipe.
The annual contest, launched by Obama last year, called on students between the ages of 8 and 12 to submit recipes for a “healthy, affordable and delicious” lunch.
As part of the challenge, contestants had to represent each food group in their recipe, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods.
The 54 winning recipes were chosen by a panel of judges that included staff from Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, as well as representatives of the online recipe website Epicurious and the U.S. departments of education and agriculture.
The young winners, who hailed from every state and U.S. territory, dined at a kids’ “State Dinner” with Obama late Tuesday morning. Each winner got to invite one parent or guardian.
Scott’s recipe was announced as California’s top entry on June 20. A cookbook was released featuring the winning ideas.
On Scott’s page of the cookbook, which shows her photo alongside her recipe, she wrote about the inspiration behind her healthy meal.
“When my little brother Galen was a baby, he was allergic to a lot of foods. He couldn’t eat wheat, dairy, or eggs. That meant no pizza or macaroni and cheese,” she wrote.
“My mom spent a lot of time trying to find nutritious foods that he could eat. She used to serve a pork and tofu dish over rice. I was inspired by that dish when I made this recipe,” she said.
Let’s Move! is an effort to eradicate childhood obesity and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Winning dishes had to have fruits and veggies as about half of the recipe.
Scott’s recipe serves six and contains 180 calories.