First lady Michelle Obama speaks at the kids “state dinner.” The White House treated more than 50 kid chefs to lunch in the East Room, site of many official state dinners. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

The White House champion of healthy eating treated 54 kid chefs to a “state dinner” on Friday.

The children earned seats at the East Room tables by whipping up mouth-watering yet healthful meals as part of a nationwide contest sponsored by the food magazine Epicurious and the Education and Agriculture departments. More than 1,500 recipes were submitted.

First lady Michelle Obama has hosted lunch for the winners three years in a row.

President Obama looks at a contest winner’s colorful hat as he arrives at the kids' “state dinner.” (Kevin Dietsch / Pool/EPA)

The 8- to 12-year-olds came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

Local winners were Maxwell Wix, 10, from the District. He created Healthy Grains, Squash, Apples, Sausage & Kale for the contest. Ten-year-old Esther Matheny of Chevy Chase, Maryland, dreamed up Chesapeake Fish Tacos and Lemon-Basil Sorbet. Sophie Haga, 12, of Galax, Virginia, won for her Chia Chicken Pitas.

Lunch featured some of the winning recipes — including “Grillin’ Out Veggie Style” Black Bean Burger, Mike’s Chicken and Vegetable Dumpling Cups, and Tropical Strawberry Banana Secret Smoothie.

The event also included an unannounced-but-expected appearance by President Obama.

The president revealed a few not-so-healthful snack favorites of the first family. Daughter Malia loves ice cream, and her sister, Sasha, likes pie. Obama said when he’s around a bowl of good chips and guacamole, “I lose my mind.” His wife, he said, favors french fries.

“I’m making a vow,” Michelle Obama said. “I’m going to take a break from french fries.”

“Wow,” the president responded. “That’s big.”

He went on to say that such snacks are okay as long as typical meals feature food that makes kids strong and healthy.

Maxwell Wix, the recipe winner from the District of Columbia, speaks to reporters during a tour of the White House kitchen garden. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

To reinforce the concept of healthful ingredients, the winners received a tour of the White House garden.

For a full list of winners, go to (Always ask a parent before going online.)

Staff and wire reports