Tag: Michelle Obama

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, May 30, 2014

forks

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.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, April 3, 2014

vegetables and herbs
In this week’s news: Vegetables save lives (seven-a-day is the new five-a-day); baseball stadiums cater to the Whole Foods set; and scientists keep putting monkeys on wacky diets.

For a Longer Life, Pass the Salad Tongs
Given all the nutrition studies out there, you might think researchers have tested every hypothetical in the book. Turns out there was a ginormous one missing. Earlier this week, researchers at University College London released the very first report to not just associate eating fruits and vegetables with reduced risk of death of any cause but also to put numbers to the benefit per serving: Eat seven or more portions of produce, and you’ll apparently be 42 percent less likely to die at any given point in time. (Note that the magic of statistics make this sound a little more exciting that in is: No matter how many carrots you eat, you will keel over, eventually.) Drawing on a Health Survey for England data set involving 65,226 people between 2001 and 2013, the study was also able to narrow things down by portion (five to seven servings might buy you a 36 percent reduction, and three to five could get you 25 percent). Fresh produce had the strongest effect, reducing risk by 16 percent per portion. Canned or frozen fruit appeared to increase death odds by 17 percent, most likely because of the foods’ sugar content say the researchers. Always a good bet? Salad, which was associated with a 13 percent gain in the longevity department.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, February 27, 2014

kale
In this week’s news: Michelle Obama stumps for kale and more, while the dairy industry shelves its Got Milk campaign; obesity rates for young kids nosedive; and researchers show why Tetris might be good for your waistline.

Kale in the Green Room
Kale — the nation’s perpetually trendy produce item — took its vegetal celebrity to a whole new level last week, getting the late-night spotlight on the new Tonight Show. If First Lady Michelle Obama doing her best ‘tween impression and offering kale chips to a wigs-wearing Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell sounds like fun (and it kinda is), then this is for you.

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Food News: National Parks to Offer Healthier Grub

by in Food News, June 20, 2013

park

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?

Talking With the First Lady: How to Eat Better As a Family

by in Food News, MyPlate, February 26, 2013

michelle obama

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.”

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The First Lady + MyPlate + FoodNetwork.com + Pinterest = Healthier Options

by in Food News, February 26, 2013

michelle obama

First Lady Michelle Obama, FoodNetwork.com and several other media outlets are working to make it easier for families across the country to eat nutritious meals every day. Just in time for the third anniversary of Let’s Move!,  FoodNetwork.com has teamed up with Partnership for a Healthier America and the USDA’s MyPlate—plus Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith and Time Inc.– to share thousands of nourishing recipes on Pinterest that meet MyPlate guidelines. The goal? To provide a mouthwatering, inspiring one-stop-shop where parents, beginner home cooks and even the most experienced chefs can find good-for-you recipes showcasing delicious combinations of produce, whole grains and lean proteins that are all easy to prepare.

“As a mom, I know how challenging it can be to think of new meal ideas that your kids will like and that will be good for them,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “This partnership takes the guesswork out of finding healthy recipes and gives parents the information and the tools they need to make healthy choices for their families every day.”

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New Rules for School Lunch

by in Food News, March 1, 2012
school lunch The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is in favor of the recently-announced school lunch guidelines.

What do the lunch lady and First Lady have in common? They’re both making school lunches healthier. Find out why the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (and registered dietitians everywhere) are in favor of new changes in the school cafeteria.

What’s new?
Less than a month ago, Michelle Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced new guidelines for school lunches across the country. Changes to school lunch offerings have been a long time coming. In recent years, nutrition professionals have been making positive strides to improve lunch options, but it’s been hard to make changes stick.  These new initiatives shine a light on the importance of making healthy meals that kids actually want to eat.

Kids can now look forward to properly portioned plates featuring more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Trans fats will take a hike and the high amounts of sodium packed into meals will be reduced.

A popular debate over chocolate milk has also been settled. According to the new guidelines, cafeterias will now serve low-fat plain and nonfat chocolate milk to help balance out the extra sugary calories in the chocolate version.

Since school may be the only consistent source of food for low-income families, some institutions are moving to providing 3 meals a day to students in need. In December 2010, President Obama signed a bill to help make this possible.

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Food News: Darden Restaurants and Michelle Obama Team to Revamp Menus

by in Food News, September 20, 2011
michelle obama
Michelle Obama, accompanied by Darden chef Julie Elkinton, talks customers at Olive Garden in Hyattsville, Md. Photo by: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Darden Restaurants, the company that owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze, recently pledged its commitment to revamp menus in an attempt to reduce calories, provide greater variety for kids and offer lower sodium options.

First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America joined the company at an Olive Garden in Hyattsville, Maryland for the announcement.

“The First Lady continues to lead the growing national efforts to make healthy food options more available and accessible, and we’re pleased to collaborate with her and the Partnership for a Healthier American on this commitment,” said Drew Madsen, president and chief operating officer of Darden Restaurants.

Building upon the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, the company hopes to reduce calories in its menu items by 10 percent over five years, and 20 percent over 10 years. New calorie-conscious items will replace heavier fare, while some dishes are being resized and retested with sodium levels in mind.

The biggest change is coming to Darden’s kid’s menus. Dishes will automatically come with fruits or vegetables as a side dish, along with an 8 oz. serving of 1-percent milk .

What do you think? Will the new menu items be a hit?

What’s the Best School Lunch Program?

by in Back to School, Food News, September 16, 2011
kids at school lunch
How does your local school's lunch program rate?

With Michelle Obama’s push to promote healthy eating, some schools are taking action. We looked at public schools around the country to check out what they’re doing to make lunches healthier. We found some forward thinkers and amazing programs.

Washington State
The Bellevue School District in Washington State has implemented several healthy eating programs. The first is their Fruit, Vegetable and Grain of the Month Program. For the past 4 to 5 years, one food is featured from each category and information can be found on the district website. There are also educational signs posted in the lunch room and tasting that’s done in the elementary, middle and high schools. Some featured grains have been farro, brown rice, wheat pasta, wheat berries, couscous, and bulgur. Hot, grain-based sides will also be offered this year such as lentil-barley pilaf and wheat berry stuffing.

This year, the Bellevue School District is also implementing Meatless Mondays. Some featured items on the menu are cheese-stuffed pasta shells, cheese enchiladas and a hummus platter.

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