Posts Tagged ‘ Michelle Obama ’

New Superheroes That Gain Powers From…Vegetables?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Joe DeProspero has two sons and a wife, and he is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt,” Joe is also writing a parenting humor book. He posts twice monthly and his previous posts can be found here.  He currently lives in New Jersey and can be found on Facebook and on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.

Speaking for myself (and likely 99% of the parents reading), getting children to willingly eat vegetables without bribery, blackmail, or an embarrassing combination of the two is a challenge, to say the least. It often feels like I’m trying to set one of my single friends up on a date. And the second they lay eyes on each other, there’s a palpable feeling of, “You’re single for a reason.” But the truly gifted salespeople are the ones who can get that friend (or kid) to move past that initial phase of reluctance, to take the plunge, set aside preconceived notions and just go for it. The gifted ones are able to convince children that vegetables are somehow “cool” and establish them as something children should clamor for! You’re one of those truly gifted salespeople, right? Yes, me neither. So let’s hear about someone who’s trying a different approach…

Through colorful characters Colby Carrot, Erica Eggplant, and Brian Broccoli, Super Sprowtz is an up-and-coming children’s multimedia program with one mission: get kids to associate veggies with superpowers. And to teach children at a young age that there’s more to life than chicken fingers and gummy snacks. Think “Muppets” meets “Popeye.” I don’t know about you, but seeing Popeye guzzle that can of spinach was the one and only reason I had interest in greens as a kid.

Premiering tomorrow (Thanksgiving) via YouTube at 12 pm ET on the biggest eating day of the year in America, the Sprowtz have already confirmed celebrity guests Shaquille O’Neal, New York Yankee CC Sabathia, and White House chef Sam Kass. The show will include singing, cooking, and, if the reel I saw was any indication, even some beat-boxing.

They’ve also received the support of a very special (first) lady you might recognize, who stopped by during s recent tour…

To see what Colby Carrot and crew have in store, check out their intro video below about their purpose and mission statement of these super-powered Sprowtz. It involves walking vegetables, so be warned.

Clearly, we all want our children to ultimately live healthy lifestyles, and that starts with the food they put into their bodies. And although there are no certainties with kids (mine change their minds 25 times a minute), one thing we know is that, children are more likely to listen if a superhero is doing the talking. Here’s hoping the next orange stick our children put in their mouths is a carrot instead of a Cheese Doodle. I know it’s something I’d love to see for my own sons.

Tune in tomorrow at 12 pm ET to Super Sprowtz RAW! The Super Sprowtz will air a new episode every Thursday starting Thanksgiving.


Thanks for reading. You can follow Joe DeProspero on Twitter by clicking here or email him at

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Michelle Obama, Congress Battle Over School Lunches

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Michelle ObamaChildren may already be out of school for summer, but their school lunches can’t catch a break.

First Lady Michelle Obama is fighting back after Republicans in Congress introduced a bill that would let schools opt-out of nutrition standards set in place in 2010. As part of a $143.5 billion Agriculture Department spending bill, schools will be given an extra year to comply with federal health standards that promote fruits, veggies, and whole grains and limit fat and salt.

“It gives schools an opt-out saying you don’t have to participate in the school lunch program because it’s hard,” Democratic Rep. Sam Farr of California told CNN. “Well, we don’t tell kids, ‘Look you don’t have to take math if it’s hard or science if it’s hard. You don’t have do P.E. if it’s hard.’”

Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring. Here are 25 ways to liven up your kid’s school lunch!

Last week, the healthy school lunch efforts suffered a setback when Democrats failed to get enough votes in committee to strip the language about school lunches from the proposed bill. This means the bill was sent to the House of Representatives for full consideration.

And the First Mom hasn’t been silent on the issue, either. Mrs. Obama often stays away from legislative issues, but when it comes to our kids, she has let her voice be heard.

“Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches?” Obama wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece last week. “You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that this doesn’t make much sense. Yet we’re seeing the same thing happening again with these new efforts to lower nutrition standards in our schools.”

“Our children deserve so much better than this,” she continued. “Even with the progress we have made, one in three children in this country is still overweight or obese.”

She has my support in this fight.

This isn’t about politics. Children have the right to the pursuit of happiness, and we can’t just sit by and watch that pursuit cut short due to preventable health issues.

As of now, 90 percent of schools already comply with these school-lunch standards. Standards that stop the promotion and sale of junk food in schools. Standards that require schools to provide REAL veggies and fruits instead of making it optional. (Even Elmo is helping the cause!)

In February, federal health authorities reported a 43 percent drop over the past decade in obesity among children ages 2-5.

“This generation is now entering our school system,” Executive Director of Let’s Move! and White House staffer Sam Kass said. “Our schools must be a place that really continue to foster and support their health and wellbeing, and that’s what this is all about.”

And while the argument can be made that the $10 billion of taxpayers’ money going into school lunches every year is excessive, just compare that to the $190 billion taxpayers shell out every year to treat obesity-related conditions.

But the fight for healthier kids is more than dollars and cents. A recent Atlantic article revealed most kids in a Los Angeles’ school system did not take a veggie from the lunch line, instead choosing a processed alternative.

If we know children who have the choice would pick sugary, processed food over healthier ones, why would we give them the option? As pointed out in the article, school cafeterias tend to give children what they want, and not what they need.

We are finally starting to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic. Why take a step backwards now?

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How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids

Everett Collection /

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Mrs. Obama: Stop Promoting Junk Food!

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

To mark the fourth anniversary of the Let’s Move! campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama is making the rounds to continue raising awareness of childhood obesity.

Tuesday morning, she made a major announcement that will impact the future of schools across the country. Mrs. Obama outlined new rules that will ban the promotion of sugary drinks and junk food in schools. The rules aren’t just limited to the cafeteria, either. Vending machines, posters, menu boards, and even scoreboards that feature unhealthy food and drinks will be phased out.

Companies spend $149 million a year marketing in schools, and 93 percent of that marketing is to promote beverages according to the USDA and reported by the Associated Press.

Companies will now have to start promoting their healthier options if they want to remain in schools. For example, Coca-Cola won’t be able to sponsor a high school football scoreboard if their logo for Coke is visible. Instead, Coca-Cola will have to use Dasani water or Diet Coke as an alternative.

“The idea here is simple — our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren’t bombarded with ads for junk food,” the first lady said from the White House. “Because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn’t be undone by unhealthy messages at school.”

There are some exceptions to the rules. Promotions regarding bake sales and other in-school fundraisers would be left up to the schools or states. Off-campus fundraisers, like a school night at a local fast food chain, would be allowed, but posters and flyers advertising the event would not be allowed in the school. Instead, an email would be sent to parents.

The proposed rules will first have to undergo a USDA-facilitation comment period. This will decide how long schools have to remove and replace current unhealthy promotions running on campuses. The rules are expected to take affect by the beginning of next school year.

Many companies have already started the transition, and the American Beverage Association is on board with the rule change. “Mrs. Obama’s efforts to continue to strengthen school wellness make sense for the well-being of our schoolchildren,” President and CEO Susan Neely said.

But helping kids make smarter choices doesn’t begin and end at school. Last fall, the campaign announced Sesame Workshop agreed to license some of their characters to the Produce Marketing Association to help healthier options appeal to children. Parents can also encourage their children to choose healthier options. Here are six easy ways to incorporate non-sugary drinks into your child’s routine.

Let’s Move! was launched in February 2010 to help fight the increasing rate of childhood obesity in America. The campaign encourages children to get active and make healthy eating choices. In the four years since the launch, new school lunch guidelines have been put in place and childhood obesity rates are beginning to fall. Large companies, government agencies, and local towns and counties have made an effort to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

Tell us: What do you think about these new rules? Do you agree that the marketing of junk food should be banned in schools?

Need more inspiration or help choosing healthier food options?? Download our free food substitutions guide!

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Summertime Hunger Hits Hard

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

As a kid, I always looked forward to summer vacation. I spent my mornings with a bowl of peanut butter Captain Crunch followed by episodes of Clarissa Explains It All. Fortunately, my mom never worked during the summer (she’s a teacher), so we spent our lazy days at the town pool or beach. My friends and I enjoyed too many snow cones, Little Debbie brownie packs, and other sugar-laden treats. I tried to make up for this by eating all of my vegetables at dinner, much to my parents’ delight. hungry boy eating sandwich

However, many children, especially in rural Tennessee, don’t get to experience carefree summers like this. They’re worried about something that most of us probably don’t think twice about–hunger. Instead of swimming, camp, or sports, these children are living in a constant fear that they will never have enough to eat.

That’s where the Lunch Express comes in. Lunch Express is a school bus transformed into a bread truck. A food bank in Tennessee saw a need to make sure eligible children received regular meals during the summer, a time where food stamps often run out. The food bank purchased four school buses earlier this year and created routes that pass through some of the most impoverished areas of the country “where poverty rates have almost doubled since 2009 and two-thirds of children qualify for free meals,” according to the Washington Post.

Rick Bible, the driver of the Lunch Express, tackles his 66-mile route through Greene County each day, transporting three coolers of sack lunches containing celery sticks, canned oranges, chocolate milk and a bologna sandwiches. For many children, this is their first and only meal of the day.

The Lunch Express isn’t a free-for-all. Bible remains at each trailer park stop for 15 minutes to make sure all of the children finish their lunches. They can’t take food or extra milk home, and adults are ineligible for the lunches, unless they are disabled.

But it’s not just kids who are hungry in the summer. Their parents are struggling, too. In an area plagued by high unemployment and lagging development, healthy food is hard to come by. Families do anything to stay satisfied when their food stamps run out and stockpile calories whenever they come available. Eli Saslow, a writer for the Washington Post, observed children eating dinners of Doritos, bread, candy, or whatever else they can get their hands on. One mother of five who relies heavily on the Lunch Express told the Washington Post she sometimes feeds her 9-month-old Mountain Dew to top off her formula.

Luckily, food stamps last longer during the school year thanks to free meals and snacks. The Lunch Express is making a difference, but one meal every day isn’t enough to satisfy these children. Congress must allocate more money to summer food programs.

We can’t make hunger disappear, but there are plenty of ways to help struggling families. Donate a bag of non perishables to your food pantry every few months. Many are in need due to record numbers of unemployment, and the food pantries need all of the help they can get. If you don’t have time to shop, a gift card to a grocery store is also a good choice. Spend an afternoon at a food bank or shelter if you have time to spare. Your kids will learn the importance of giving back, as well as the satisfaction of a good deed.

Image of boy eating sandwich via Shutterstock

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