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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House state dinners are not normally known for centerpieces made of brussels sprouts, green smoothies and eating with your fingers.
But when your guests are 55 students who won a nationwide healthy recipe contest, it is a fitting feast to promote first lady Michelle Obama's campaign to end childhood obesity.
President Barack Obama, who dropped by as a surprise, told the youngsters to spread their healthy eating habits to their friends.
"The truth is that parents, it turns out, don't always have the most influence," he said. "What really helps is when their friends at school are all like, 'You're having chips? I'm sorry, I'm having the Barack-amole,'" he said, referencing a topping on one of the winning recipes, a healthy taco dish.
The winners were chosen from nearly 1,000 entries for recipes ranging from "Deliciousness over Rice" to "Secret Service Pizza Delight."
After speaking to the group, Barack Obama glanced at a table where a girl had knocked something over.
"That's OK," he told her. "When I'm at state dinners, I'm always spilling things."
"Usually," he added, "on my tie."
Reporting by Megan Cassella; Editing by Lisa Shumaker