by Sara Reistad-Long in Food News & Trends, May 30, 2014
by Victoria Phillips in Food News & Trends, June 20, 2013
In this week’s news: Michelle Obama hits a spork in the road to school lunch reform; researchers give a quick lesson on food costs and weight gain; and a former restaurant critic says it’s time to give up on the miracle diet pills already.
First (Lunch) Lady
Segments of the food industry and Republican legislators have criticized the 2010 federal dietary school lunch standards (called the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act), citing lack of flexibility and questioning their cost and effectiveness. The School Nutrition Association, a group representing cafeteria administrators, say enrollment has gone down after the standards — which limit sodium, fat and calories, and require that fruits, vegetables and whole grains replace unhealthy menu choices. Adding bite to that bark is a new measure that would allow poorer school districts to opt out of the program. This week, Michelle Obama has been speaking out strongly against this move, penning a New York Times Op Ed that cites some tough numbers: One in three children is overweight of obese, one in three children is expected to develop diabetes, and currently $190 billion a year is spent treating obesity-related conditions. These lunch regulations can help, says Sam Kass, White House chef and the director of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, who cites academic studies showing that all children were eating healthier after the standards were established.
by Maria Russo in Food News & Trends, March 8, 2013
Worried about finding healthy eats while your family visits national parks this summer? Fret not, the First Lady’s healthy diet initiative has got your back.
The National Park Service, as part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, recently announced its new nationwide “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” plan: a list of food guidelines and standards for healthy options at more than 250 locations across national parks.
“Traditional favorites such as hot dogs and ice cream will remain, but the new standards will provide additional choices, such as fish tacos and yogurt parfaits, for the 23 million people who buy meals in national parks each year,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis in a press release.
Options include items like lentil soup, bison hot dogs and fresh produce from local farms. Grand Canyon South Rim and Yellowstone National park are among a handful of sites already offering healthier fair.
To find out more, view the standards here.
Tell us: What do you think of the healthy park initiative?
No stranger to friendly food competition, Anne Burrell is a seasoned restaurant chef known for her no-nonsense mentorship of a team of recruits on Worst Cooks in America and eager executive-chef hopefuls on Chef Wanted. In Washington, D.C. yesterday, she donned her chef’s hat for a worthy cause, taking the stage next to Iron Chef Jose Garces for a good-natured cook-off in the Great American School Lunch Challenge. This contest, in concert with the Partnership for a Healthier America, celebrates the work of Let’s Move!, an effort headed by First Lady Michelle Obama to reduce the rates of childhood obesity in the United States through a multi-layered plan which includes access to healthy school lunches. It was up to chefs Anne and Jose to work within the confines of a limited budget and dietary restrictions to turn out deliciously wholesome dishes that were not only nutritionally sound but also appealing to kids and their perhaps picky palates.
Proud of the way the Challenge “shines a light on the school lunch program … in a fun and creative way,” Anne told us that the event “puts the task to me as a chef to say, ‘Alright, show us your creativity and what you can do with these nutritional guidelines to feed the kids in 30 minutes. Make it delicious, make it fast and make it fun.'”
Anne’s nutritious staples that won’t break the bank