Interviewing Joe Biden was only one reason I found myself in Washington, D.C., at the White House last week. Earlier that same day, I was among a group of digital editors there to discuss healthy eating and how people use the internet to find recipes for their families. We met with officials from the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), the Let’s Move! initiative that the First Lady launched, and other White House staffers who are involved in the effort to promote healthy eating habits (and feed the First Family).
The meeting marked the beginning of a partnership between Let’s Move!, PHA, and major magazine and web brands, including Parents and several of our sister brands at Meredith, such as Family Circle, Recipe.com, and AllRecipes.com. The aim is to grow awareness and use of the USDA’s MyPlate nutritional guidelines, and of course, to encourage families to eat healthier. As you may know, MyPlate replaced the classic Food Pyramid and offers a simple-to-use graphic depicting in clear terms the relative proportions of different food types that we should aim to eat. The message it–and this partnership–intends to send is that healthy eating doesn’t need to be more difficult, more expensive, or less delicious than eating unhealthily.
Through this collaboration, you’ll find many delicious, healthy Parents recipes pinned on MyPlate’s Pinterest boards, and you’ll soon see the MyPlate logo on some Parents.com slideshows, offering you an at-a-glance way to know that those recipes conform to these important guidelines for healthy eating.
While a handful of editors at the meeting got to continue the discussion directly with Michelle Obama afterward, the highlight of the event for the rest of us was a tour of the White House garden, conducted by the White House pastry chef, Bill Yosses. In the garden in back of the White House, the staff grows vegetables year-round, and in the middle of February it was amazing to see broccoli and spinach and other greens still growing.
Personally, I was most interested in the White House beehive–yep, their own natural honey machine. Yosses explained how eating locally produced honey can reduce allergies through its trace amounts of local pollen, which get your body accustomed to the allergens it faces in your area. It was also fun to pass by the Obama girls’ swing set!
See some photos from the day:
A shot of the White House garden
Bill Yosses, White House pastry chef, brings us on a tour of the White House garden.
A sign embedded in the garden, with a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “…the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another; and instead of one harvest, a continued one throughout the year.”
In just a few days, Michelle Obama will be traveling to London with the Presidential Delegation to attend the Opening Ceremony of this year’s Olympics. As the leader of the delegation, which includes former Olympians (such as gymnast Dominque Dawes and soccer player Brandi Chastain), the First Lady will visit the U.S. Olympic Training Facility this Friday. In addition, SpongeBob and other celebrities will help host a Let’s Move! event for 1,000 children of U.S. ambassadors. Healthy foods such as nuts, granola bars, and water will be served.
Back in the U.S., the White House (with the help of MeetUp.com) will be hosting a Let’s Move! Olympics Fun Day on Saturday. The goal of Fun Day is to cheer on Team USA and also “turn the Olympic spirit into action” by having different events across the nation. As part of the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) initiative, the White House is committed to get 1.7 million kids moving and to ”inspire a new generation to strive for excellence,” said Michelle Obama. Growing up with fond memories of watching the Olympics, the First Lady believes that “winning isn’t the goal” of the games; instead, it’s being able to “push and believe in yourself” and to refuse to give up despite obstacles.
I just got off a conference call that First Lady Michelle Obama held with editors to talk about what her Let’s Move! initiative has accomplished in the year since it was launched, as well as where it’s going in the year ahead. One of the coolest goals she named for the coming year: to have 6,000 salad bars in 6,000 public schools across the country. On a larger scale, there’s the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which is designed to help eradicate the food deserts in the U.S.—places where there isn’t easy access to healthy food. This program will, among other things, provide financial incentives to grocery chains so that they’ll open stores in communities where fresh, healthy food is lacking.
In just a few minutes (4 p.m. EST), the First Lady will be giving a speech about these things and more, including how Let’s Move! has affected her as a parent. Click here to watch it live.