Category Archives: Michelle Obama

Branding broccoli, courtesy of Michelle Obama

gettyimages_87992859We can probably all agree that marketing junk foods to kids a an awful idea. But we can also agree that marketing foods to kids works. wonders if, instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water, we shouldn’t just change the baby? Michelle Obama has a jump on that one.

Five years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Let’s Move campaign, which sought to reduce childhood obesity and get kids eating healthier. She’s taken aim at school lunches and encouraged more activity and water consumption. Now she wants more pushback on unhealthy-food advertisements aimed at kids — and celebrities are on board to help.

“If folks are going to pour money into marketing unhealthy foods,” she said at an event Thursday in Washington, “then let’s fight back with ads for healthy foods, right? Let’s do this.”

Obama spoke at the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit, where the organization announced the launch of FNV, a marketing campaign laser-focused on branding fruits and vegetables (hence the name “FNV”) as cool to youth. The Partnership for a Healthier America, known as PHA, was created in conjunction with the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign in 2010, though the organization is independent from the White House.

A PHA statement details how the campaign will feature appearances from actresses Kristen Bell and Jessica Alba, athletes Stephen Curry and Cam Newton and more.

“FNV was inspired by big consumer brands, whose tactics are relentless, compelling, catchy and drive an emotional connection with their products,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler in a statement. “We want to do the same thing for fruits and veggies, which have never had an opportunity to act like a big brand. Until now.”

Maybe broccoli needs a jingle. Carrots could have a viral video. Left in the hands of professionals who work on transforming the images of big brands in our country, it really is possible that this could have a far-reaching effect on our kids. Let’s move fruits and vegetables into the same category of cool as bad food. Whether or not we like admitting it, advertising and marketing start trends, define products and influence consumers. Maybe we should start using it for things that really matter.

Third annual Kids’ State Dinner (yes there is one) promotes healthy eating and features the recipes of prize-winning junior chefs

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 1.09.30 PMFor the last three years, our President and First Lady have been hosting a yearly Kids’ State Dinner. This little-known event is just one of the fun, interesting and effective ways Michelle Obama has found to promote healthy eating and fitness to our nation’s youth. The guests at the “dinner” (which is actually a lunch) are the winners of a yearly contest that invites kids across the nation to develop their own healthy recipes and submit them for the opportunity to dine at the White House with the First Family. It’s hands-on, engaging and offers a once-in-a-lifetime prize!

Chef Elena Hirsch’s winning omelet recipe—aptly titled “Barack-oli and Mich-room Obama-let” —landed the 11-year-old her seat at this annual event.

Hirsch is one of the winners of the 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge contest. The contest asks children ages 8 to 12 to submit healthy lunchtime recipes of their own creation. Winners and their parents or guardians are then flown to D.C., put up in a hotel, and entertained at the Kids’ State Dinner, which is hosted by first lady Michelle Obama and organized by Epicurious, the Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture.

This year’s winners—who hail from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories—beat out close to 1,500 other entrants to come to the White House, where they were treated to a special performance from Disney’s “The Lion King” musical and a lively address from President Barack Obama.

“First of all, we have a lot of state dinners around here,” the president quipped. “They’re not always as cheerful and fun as this.”

Obama also revealed his greatest food weakness — chips and guacamole. Although his jokes yesterday might have led you to believe it was a shared milkshake.

Michelle vowed to give up french fries, her greatest food weakness, during her speech.

Notwithstanding its name, the Kids’ State Dinner is actually lunch—(after all, “State Lunch” doesn’t exactly scream presidential)— and the noontime menu features several of the winning recipes. This year, that included chicken lettuce wraps, tomato cucumber salad and “Tropical Strawberry Banana Secret Smoothies.”

The 54 winning recipes were judged based on taste, creativity, affordability, chef’s personal story, and, of course, Michelle’s pet project — MyPlate nutritional standards.

Chef Tess Boghossian, 11, from Illinois won for her healthy rendition of a soup served at Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.

Chef Elena, creator of the “Obama-let,” said that it took her five days to come up with an omelet recipe that honored the members of the first family. In addition to “Barack-oli” and “Mich-rooms,” her recipe calls for car-MALIA-ized onions and butternut SquASHA, in honor of first daughters Malia and Sasha. All that was missing was first dog Bo. can recall plenty of research that links involving children in a healthy lifestyle to their positive response to healthy foods and healthy habits. In addition to the idea that the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is a great project that involves kids in the process of making healthy choices, it also makes that process truly memorable for them! What a great event and what a great way to make a healthy impression on the kids of our country!

White House pastry chef leaves post to promote healthy eating

Yep. That’s what we said. Most likely though, it’s not what you’ve been reading. Contrary to what the announcements might infer, Bill Yosses is not tired of Michelle Obama forcing him to prepare healthier foods. As a matter of fact, it appears that our First Lady has actually inspired him to explore the relationship between food and health.

There have been a number of variations on a theme that reads something along the lines of “White House pastry chef resigns: ‘I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs.’ ”

And the full story kind of belies the narrative of the “demonize” frame.

Yosses has been White House pastry chef since 2007. President Obama’s nickname for him is “Crust Master.” He gave a lengthy phone interview to Marian Burros of The New York Times upon the announcement of his departure. Its lead notes that the first lady is indeed the reason – but because she’s piqued his interest in the relationship between food and health.

Yosses said he’s moving to New York after he departs the White House in June and hopes to put together a foundation or some sort of organization that promotes “delicious food as healthy food,” according to the Times. There are also family reasons for the change: His husband of three years, Charlie Jandusay Fabella Jr., lives in New York.

Yosses said that he thinks food knowledge, as in the culinary arts, should be taught in schools. He added that for formal occasions, 20 percent of desserts are still old-style cream-heavy and that he does not want to “demonize” the ingredients that go into those, given their tastiness. But he has worked with Mrs. Obama to add fruit purée and other healthier ingredients that are still appetizing.

“She has done it with humor and goodwill, without preaching,” Yosses told the Times.
Does that sound like somebody leaving in a huff because doughnuts are forbidden? TheBlaze, Glenn Beck’s media venture, does not think so. Blaze writer Oliver Darcy did a quick rumor check and decided that Yosses’s admitted fondness for cream was not the reason for his departure.

More healthy-eating inspiration from our First Lady. believes that her committment and dedication to nutrition has legs. It’s reaching the masses.

Michelle Obama is certainly inspirational. She’s helping millions of people in our country become educated food consumers, conscious eaters and healthier human beings. And now she’s inspired the White House pastry chef to take up that same cause outside of his privileged post. There’s really no reason for a trendy negative spin here. Healthy food news is good news!