Allrecipes Goes To The White House! - News Blog at - 298319 News

Allrecipes Goes to the White House! 
Feb. 27, 2013 3:02 pm 
Updated: Jun. 30, 2013 5:50 am

As a member of the team, I recently had the amazing opportunity to travel to the White House to meet with First Lady Michelle Obama. The meeting included representatives from the Let’s Move! initiative, the Partnership for a Healthier America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and five of the largest online food brands. Our goal: to learn more about the objectives behind Let’s Move! and discuss ideas about how we, as the leading food sites, can make it easier for family-focused home cooks to discover and share healthy meal solutions to fit their busy lives and include flavors their family will enjoy.

While the entire day was an experience I will never forget—it was an amazing pleasure to be surrounded by smart, passionate people who all care greatly about making sure American families have the access to the resources that help them feed and care for their families—the thrill of the day was sitting down at a table with First Lady Michelle Obama. As expected, she was personable, real, funny and smart. While this alone is impressive, what really struck me was her authenticity. The personal stories the First Lady shared about her role as a mom and the challenges she faces trying to get Sasha and Malia to make smart food choices struck a personal chord and provided evidence of her passion and personal conviction for Let’s Move!

During our meeting, the First Lady answered questions and shared stories about strategies she uses to help her family eat healthier meals and snack. As I listened to her speak, I kept thinking ‘I struggle with that at my house too,’ and ‘That’s a great idea!’ Below are a few of my favorite ideas and tips shared during our meeting. I hope you will also find them inspiring.

 “Keep at it!”  We asked the First Lady how she gets her kids to eat new or unpopular foods (e.g. vegetables….fish…). Her advice: “Keep at it! The sooner you start this stuff, the more it will be their norm. They just won’t know anything 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 they complained for a while; they still do. But they make the changes themselves now because they can’t drink purely concentrated juices; it’s too sweet. It doesn’t taste good to them.”

“Focus on what works” – This was another tip I loved. Rather than battling it out at the dinner table trying to get your kids to try exotic new foods, why not focus on the flavors and foods they already love? In the First Lady’s words: “Take the things you like and figure out how to tweak them. Oven-fried chicken is just as good as fried chicken; it really is. Whole-wheat pasta in a good sauce, a fresh tomato sauce, is better than the canned stuff. Fresh salsa—chop up some tomatoes—it actually is really good. It’s just the same stuff [as what you buy].”

“Make it fun” – The Obamas are no different from other American families in their desire to make family dinner a special, memorable time where everyone is excited to share their day’s experiences with one another. Serving a meal nobody likes or battling it out with your kids about eating vegetables can quickly change a cherished time into a painful half hour. So, when possible, the Obamas try to make talking about healthier eating fun. ‘“Over Christmas we did a bracketing of foods—‘food bracketology.’ This was the President’s idea, and he’s quite pleased with it—like March Madness. We were with a bunch of other families and this was an evening activity where the fathers bracketed foods—like what would be the winner. And you’d have the top brackets—so you had your pizza and your fried chicken, but you had sushi and you had vegetables—broccoli, kale, salads. And everybody got to vote. The foods would go head-to-head. Bacon against pie, right? Everybody had to vote, and the kids could make an argument. You could make one argument per category when they got down to the final eight. This was an intense conversation. We were surprised at many of the kids, how many vegetables stayed in for a long time. They got to the top eight—beyond the Sweet 16.”

“Build connections” – For many parents, speaking to our kids about the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise in a way that kids can relate to can be a challenge. I loved how the First Lady spoke about making connections, tying what we eat to how our bodies feel. Eating the right foods will give us the energy we need to do the things we love most. As she commented, “When we talk at the dinner table, we talk about eating a balanced meal, not because of how you look but because of what your body needs.”

Learn more about Allrecipes’ partnership with First Lady Michelle Obama and Let’s Move!, and also find hundreds of easy, delicious MyPlate-approved recipes on our Pinterest boards for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for everything from main dishes to veggies, salads, chicken, dairy, fish, sandwiches, kid-friendly favorites, and more!

What tips do you have for encouraging your family to enjoy a healthful meal? We’d love to know!

Posted by Esmee Williams, Vice President, Brand Marketing
Feb. 27, 2013 4:06 pm
Wow, Esmee! Your time with our First Lady was very well spent. I am looking forward to these awakened interests in future postings!
Feb. 27, 2013 10:59 pm
I am so please to see Allrecipes get involved to promote healthy eating. It can be healthy and still very appealing.
Feb. 28, 2013 5:07 am
pretty cool Esmee
Feb. 28, 2013 8:02 pm
You have included many great ideas. I will try these with my picky eaters. Congrats on the assignment.
Mar. 1, 2013 7:06 am
These Pinterest boards are incredible resources for healthy eating. I would love to see more recipes on Allrecipes dedicated to healthier meals. Must have been an incredible day!
Jun. 30, 2013 5:50 am
I take the most offense to these actions. It is NOT the goverments responsbility to tell people how to eat. and it's none of their business to tell a parent what to teach thier child. And since the obamas made sure laws were passed to protect monsanto they ahve no business in any aspect of health care. Monsanto promotes and pushes GMO's that cause tumors, steralization, cancers, deformaties and many other horrible things. This is not a privelege but an insult to all humanity.
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