Fourth grade DoDEA Pacific student creates winning recipe, attends White House Kids’ State Dinner

Fourth grade DoDEA Pacific student creates winning recipe, attends White House Kids’ State Dinner

by Lawrence Torres III
DoDEA Pacific

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — Andersen Elementary School 4th grade student Gracie Giles attended the fourth annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids' State Dinner in Washington D.C. July 10 for her “Y’obama Yakisoba” recipe – one of 55 selected from more than 1,500 contestants.

The First Lady’s Office’s congratulatory note to Giles on her winning recipe of multi-grain thin spaghetti, low-sodium soy sauce, edamame and more said her “creativity, passion, and commitment are helping build a brighter future for your family, friends and entire generation.”

Giles was elated when she first learned she was among 55 students going to the White House, "[I] couldn't believe it! I jumped up and down and was screaming in excitement."

The 9-year-old’s selected dish represents her Japanese heritage, love for noodles and her father, Navy Cmdr. Tony Giles.

“I wanted to make something simple and healthy, but yummy too,” said Giles. “I think it tastes great and it reminds me of times eating yakisoba with my dad.”

Each contestant was required to include the title of an original recipe for one healthy lunchtime meal incorporating the United States Department of Agriculture nutrition guidance supporting “MyPlate” at, particularly filling half the plate or recipe with fruits and vegetables. A brief essay had to provide some details about their recipe including how all or most of the major food groups would be served with their dish.

“Throughout the process, I was very excited to watch Gracie brainstorm recipes and think about her favorite foods and how they could be incorporated into a healthy recipe,” said Becky Giles, Gracie’s mom. “It’s always exciting to see your child motivated to do something that is good for them, uses their creativity, and challenges them to work hard to achieve it.”

Giles said she was able to see and do a lot of things at the White House like seeing original artwork, touring the Garden, and listening to the live music from the military jazz band.

Mrs. Obama was only one table away from me during the dinner and President Obama stopped to talk to me on the way out and said ‘You look very elegant in your pearls today,’” said Giles. “My favorite things were meeting the President, touring the rooms, especially the Blue room which is grand and very majestic, and seeing my very own recipe printed in the cookbook!”

The entire 2015 Kids’ State Dinner can be viewed on YouTube at

The 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge:
The annual challenge gives students the ability to demonstrate a thorough understanding of how to cook and eat healthy and deliciously. The entry has to follow the USDA’s “MyPlate” guidelines for healthy meals and must represent 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, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe.

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