Winner of Michelle Obama's Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Says His Favorite Food Is ‘Steak’

Penny Starr | August 20, 2012 | 4:24pm EDT
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Michael Lakind, nine years old from Texas, won a chance to attend the 'state dinner' on Aug. 20, 2012 at the White House for his salad recipe featuring chicken, spinach and strawberries. (

( – Nine-year-old Michael Lakind was one of 54 children from around the country whose recipe was picked as a winner in first lady Michelle Obama’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Lakind and the other winners were invited to attend a “state dinner” at the White House on Monday where they were served “Yummy Cabbage Sloppy Joes,” baked zucchini “fries,” kale “chips” and salad of quinoa, black beans and corn.

But when an NBC reporter asked what his favorite food is, Lakind was quick to respond - “steak.”

LaKind, from Texas, won for his “Secret Service Super Salad,” which includes chicken breast, spinach, strawberries and “whole-grain” croutons.

“I came up with this idea because I love to eat fresh, healthy, and light food,” Lakind is quoted as saying in the recipe book that was published and is downloadable as a PDF on the “Let’s Move” website.

The children attending a 'state dinner' on Aug. 20, 2012 at the White House were served Cabbage Sloppy Joes, which are made from cabbage, lean ground beef, zucchini and other ingredients. ( Starr)

“I came up with the name for the salad, because I am very interested in the important job of the Secret Service,” Lakind said.

But when asked about his favorite food in an impromptu interview with NBC before he was served lunch, Lakind told a reporter that steak is his favorite food.

The first lady mentioned Michael in the remarks she made before the meal.

“You guys won!” Mrs. Obama said. “Cool!”

“But you're here because your recipes truly stood out, right?” Mrs. Obama said. “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,” Mrs. Obama said. “See? It can happen – healthy and tasty at the same time.

The children attending a 'state dinner' on Aug. 20, 2012 at the White House were served kale 'chips.' ( Starr)

“And you all were so creative! Here are some of the recipes: Kickin' Chicken Salad, Power Pesto Pasta, Miss Kitty's Egg Salad Sensation. Michael Lakind from Texas – Michael is here. He created his Secret Service Super Salad.”

The Sloppy Joes served at the event, a winning recipe from 12-year-old Rori Coyne of Kansas, contain lean ground beef mixed with cabbage, zucchini and other ingredients. A few other recipes contained ground beef in the cookbook, but none have steak as an ingredient.

President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance at the event.

“Now, I heard that there was a state dinner going on here, and usually I get invited to the state dinners,” the president said. “So this time I just had to crash. I had to crash the party, because I did not want to miss out on all the fun.”

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle spoke at a 'state dinner' on Aug. 20, 2012 at the White House to honor the 54 winners in a healthy lunch recipe contest. ( Starr)

The president told the group not to spill anything on the floor.

“I only have one request for you, and that is try not to drop any scraps on the floor, because Bo is on a diet right now, and he will eat anything that he sees, especially some of the tasty meals that you guys have prepared,” Obama said.

“The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge invited families to create an original lunchtime recipe that is healthy, affordable and delicious, and follows the nutritional guidelines of MyPlate,” the Let’s Move website states. “The winners were chosen by a panel of judges from the organizations that teamed up with Mrs. Obama on this initiative: (the food website publication) Epicurious, the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture.”

The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is part of the First Lady's "Let's Move" campaign, launched in 2010 to combat childhood obesity.

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