The first lady ate some cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs with the students, who were the first in the country to receive a free salad bar as part of her new initiative to get more veggie displays into school cafeterias.
"If you're going to change your habits, you've got to be ready to try some new stuff . . . trying some vegetables you might not normally eat," Obama told the students.
Only about 15 percent of public school cafeterias have salad bars. Many want to add them, but can't afford the $2,500 equipment or the produce to stock it, said Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health for the United Fresh Produce Association.
The organization is donating 6,000 salad bars as part of Obama's Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative.
Obama encouraged Congress to pass the stalled child nutrition bill that aims to improve school lunches and expand feeding programs for low-income students.
With the first lady's endorsement, students ventured into eating food many had never tried before. "I used to say broccoli - yuck," Yurys Otero, a fifth grader, said "But brother told me to try it and it's good."