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First Lady Hosts Kids' State Dinner at the White House

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the first-ever kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House today, celebrating the young winners of a national healthy recipe contest who proved food can be “healthy and tasty at the same time.”

“Is this not cool?” the first lady asked as she welcomed the 54 contest winners and their guardians to the White House. “This is just so very cool. And understand, it's not just cool for all of you. I mean, this house has been abuzz with this event. I think this is one of the best events that we've ever had here, our very first-ever Kids State Dinner -- so, so awesome.”

The children, ages 8 through 12, were all winners of the “healthy lunchtime challenge,” a nation-wide competition that asked kids and their parents to submit recipes for lunchtime meals that were “healthy, affordable, and tasty.” Today’s “State Dinner” luncheon featured a selection of the winning recipes, including “Yummy Cabbage Sloppy Joes” and “Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salad.”

“You’re here because your recipes truly stood out, right? And that's really saying something. You came up with dishes that were packed with nutritious, delicious ingredients, dishes that are good for you, but more importantly, they taste good too. See? It can happen, healthy and tasty at the same time,” the first lady said.

The president also made a surprise appearance to thank the kids for “spreading the word about healthy eating.”

“Usually, I get invited to the state dinners. So this time I just had to crash,” the president said as he entered the ornate East Room to squeals of excitement from the young guests. “I had to crash the party because I did not want to miss out on all the fun.”

“I could not be prouder of you… because, you know, it's hard enough to follow a recipe and make something good to eat,” the president said.

“I'm not a great cook. I'm an OK cook. I can make a good omelet and toast,” he joked. “Let's face it, I don't cook that often these days, but I remember cooking, and it's not always easy to make something that people like to eat. Then for you guys to actually come up with recipes that are healthy and tasty, and to do it in a way that helps to contribute to spreading the word about healthy eating among your peers, that's a really big deal.”

The White House chefs and a team of judges critiqued more than 1,200 entries to pick the winning recipes from each state and territory and recreated the winning recipes for today’s lunch, as seen in this behind-the-scenes White House video.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio