"We are seeing if we can work to make school lunches at least healthier because a lot of school lunches, there's a lot of french fries and pizza and tatter tots, all kinds of stuff that isn't a well balanced meal," the president replied.
And better school lunches are the point of new ads - strategically displayed for Congressional staffers to see in a Capitol Hill train station, reports CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante. A young girl asks why kids in private schools, like the president's daughters, have much better meal choices than she does.
"The schools are used as dumping ground for high cholesterol agricultural products," said Dr. Neal Barnard, who is on the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine.
But White House lawyers objected to the reference to the Obama children - and asked Dr. Barnard's non-profit group to take them down. He refused.
"We're playing by the rules here and we're drawing a very sharp distinction about what kids need to be served in school," Dr. Barnard said.
There's no doubt the president agrees with the message.
"As a part of our overall health care reform we've also got to talk about, for example, our school lunch programs," Mr. Obama said in June.
But the White House sees the reference to the girls as an invasion of privacy. Despite the fact that they are sometimes seen in public as they were today, the Obamas try to keep them out of the spotlight.
Not so for Damon Weaver, a celebrity today at the White House - and, not surprisingly, for an 11-year-old, he has his own idea for the perfect school lunch.
"I suggest we have french fries and mangos everyday for lunch," he said.
"You like mangoes?" the president replied. "I love mangos too. But I'm not sure we can get mangoes into every school."
So it's mangos for lunch, but as for the french fries, the president told Damon: not so much. As for the posters, the White House has taken no further action, but they are only scheduled to be up for the next couple of weeks.