Family dinners can be a challenge, more so when the food is healthy–even at the White House. “Yes, I’m the First Lady,” Mrs. Obama said. “But, yes, my kids make dinnertime miserable because they like three things: pasta, pasta with cheese and pizza.” So, to mark the third birthday of Let’s Move!, her initiative to fight childhood obesity, and today’s announcement of a massive virtual recipe swap with FoodNetwork.com and other media outlets on Pinterest, the First Lady shared her strategies as a mother for eating well as a family. Along with the Partnership for a Healthier America and Let’s Move!, the First Lady’s office is partnering to pin hundreds of family-friendly recipes from favorite Food Network chefs and others that fit the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines. The goal for the partnership is to help lower obesity rates, and to bring together food brands and recipe websites with a common theme: to make it easier for families to make the healthiest choices. “We’re all busy parents,” said the First Lady. “I’m busy in a different way, but before being a First Lady, I was one of those moms out there trying to figure out how to feed my kids, hold down a job, get to the grocery store, then what to buy, how to cook it, how to get through a week and how to make lunch that the kids won’t whine about.”
Mrs. Obama talked through the challenges of getting a healthy meal on the table each night, described ways to convince kids that vegetables are important parts of everyone’s diet, explained how to keep dinner simple (and delicious), and shared her own go-to baked chicken dish.
Make healthy changes early and they’ll stick:
Mrs. Obama: “The sooner you start this stuff, the more it will be their norm. They just won’t know any different. So if you start out by making your macaroni and cheese with a little cauliflower puree, so they get the taste of the cauliflower, the taste of too much cheese will be too much for them. If you start out diluting their juices so that they’re never getting that 100 percent concentrated stuff, then once you put it in, it will be too sweet for them. Kids’ palates are just so adaptable, and I think that’s the point we’re trying to make to parents — it just doesn’t take much, and the sooner you start, the easier it will be to transition. You can still transition. I mean, my kids were 10 and 8 when I started making the changes, and then complained for a while; they still do. But they make the changes themselves now because they can’t drink purely concentrated juices, and it’s too sweet. It doesn’t taste good to them.”