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July 11, 2013

WB family wins trip to White House for healthy recipe

By Sherri Kolade
C & G Staff Writer

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Sarah Hirsch and her son, Jacob Hirsch, stand in front of the White House July 9.

WEST BLOOMFIELD — West Bloomfield resident Sarah Hirsch has her son’s picky eating habits to thank. Those habits led them both to the White House via a healthy-eating competition. 

Hirsch and her son, Jacob Hirsch, went to the White House July 9 to attend a state dinner with 53 other children who won a nationwide Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.

The challenge was to create a lunchtime recipe that is healthy, affordable, original and delicious, according to a White House press release.

The Hirsch family met first lady Michelle Obama — with a surprise visit from President Barack Obama.

“Our Kids’ State Dinner is one of my favorite events of the year, and the kid chefs who come from around the country never cease to impress and inspire me with their creativity and ingenuity,” first lady Michelle Obama said in a press release.

Sarah Hirsch said she and her son came up with a healthy recipe, Picky-Eater Pita Pizza Pockets, which is a whole-grain pita with a sauce of tomatoes, onions, zucchini, spinach and carrots, with mozzarella cheese and pieces of chicken.

“He loves pizza, and obviously it is not the healthiest choice,” she said, “so we came up with this version — a much healthier option. My son is not the biggest vegetable eater, so I had to hide the veggies in the sauce. He liked it because, to him, it tasted pretty similar to eating pizza.”

The family entered the contest in May after Sarah Hirsch found out about it online; they were notified that they won a free trip to D.C. in June.

“When I saw it (the challenge), I knew it sounded like an experience I wanted to be a part of,” she said.

The second annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge was originated by Epicurious, an informational cooking website. The goal was to promote healthy eating among America’s youth.

The challenge received more than 1,300 entries; Jacob Hirsch was the only winner from Michigan.

“It was awesome,” Jacob Hirsch said. “It was fun. The lunch was my favorite part.”

The lunch featured a selection of the winning recipes and a performance by singer Rachel Crow, followed by a visit to the White House kitchen garden.

According to the press release, the Hirsches’ recipe is U.S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate-approved. It represents each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods.

The full list of winners and recipes can be found online at recipechallenge.epicurious.com, along with a free downloadable and printable e-cookbook of the winning recipes at the websites epicurious.com, USDA.gov, letsmove.gov and Ed.gov.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sherri Kolade at skolade@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1046.