NV teen earns seat at dining table with First Lady Michelle Obama

Reported by: Van Tieu
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Updated: 7/11/2014 6:44 pm
SPARKS, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- A local teen has earned a seat at the dining table with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Gracie Keating, 12, cooked her way to earn that special invitation for the White House’s third annual Healthy Lunch Time Challenge.

Ask Gracie what she wants to be when she grows up, and she will give you one answer. "I always wanted to be a nutritionist," said Gracie. "And now that I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to make recipes that are healthier and really learn about it."

Gracie loves to cook healthy meals for her family, and her mother, Katie, said Gracie is ambitious in pursuing her dream job. "Instead of watching cartons, like most kids, she's watching The Food Network and she’s reading cookbooks, and she's buying cooking products with her own money."

So when Gracie learned about the White House Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, she knew it was the perfect contest for her. "Because I love cooking, and I love cooking healthy."

The challenge calls for a healthy, affordable, original and delicious dish that also represents each of the food groups. One particular dish came to Gracie's mind: Grandma’s chicken and grape salad.

"I just remembered how good it was, and like it reminds me of good times with my grandma," said Gracie.

It just needed a few tweaks to meet the healthy standards. "I decided to make it a little healthier by like, substituting the mayonnaise with plain Greek yogurt, and substituting the rolls or bread and using lettuce wraps," Gracie explained.

The recipe takes about 10 minutes to mix together, and her brothers ate it up in five, giving their nod of approval.

The White House Healthy Lunchtime Challenge also gave Gracie’s recipe the thumbs-up. Gracie will be one of 54 kids invited to dine with First Lady Michelle Obama and tour the White House garden and kitchen. "I'm so excited I just can't believe it happened," said Gracie. "It's a once in a life time experience I get to do."

Gracie goes to the White House next week. The competition was stiff. She is one 54 winners out of more than 1,500 kids who submitted their recipes.

You can find Gracie’s Chicken and Grape Salad in the links below the video.
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