MILAN — Michelle Obama took her campaign for healthy eating overseas on Wednesday, but let it slip that she still has work to do at home.
The U.S. first lady prepared a lentil, barley and rice salad with middle school students at the James Beard American Restaurant in Milan, the second leg of a European tour that promotes some of her core initiatives, including eating well to fight obesity.
Mrs. Obama emphasized to the 20 international students from the American School of Milan the importance of sitting down for a meal with the family as often as possible. She said taking time to talk about the day's events over dinner was one way to slow down and enjoy a meal.
"And you probably eat less because you are not just shoveling. ... We don't shovel. Well, the president shovels sometimes," the first lady said to laughter.
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Milan to catch a glimpse of her motorcade as it traveled from the restaurant near the Duomo in the heart of the city to the Santa Maria delle Grazie church. There, in keeping with the food theme, the first lady and her entourage viewed Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" with Italy's premier, his wife and daughter.
Mrs. Obama's teenage daughters Malia and Sasha and her mother, Marian Robinson, joined her for the cultural outing. They were greeted by Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, his wife Agnes and 9-year-old daughter Ester.
Mrs. Obama leaned over to give the Renzis' daughter a hug, and Malia Obama waved to her and said "Nice to meet you."
Ester Renzi laughed off a stumble as they walked toward the church to see the fresco, as the Obama daughters reached out to help her.
On Thursday, Mrs. Obama leads a presidential delegation to Milan's Expo 2015 World's Fair, which focuses on food, nutrition and world hunger.
Her overseas trip continues Friday with a visit to U.S. troops stationed in Vicenza, northern Italy. Her final stop will be Venice, where she has more cultural outings, including a visit to the award-winning U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale contemporary art show.