The first family's schedule might be a bit hectic while President Obama is busy running the country and all, but they’ve still managed to hold on to family traditions they enjoyed before moving into the White House. In her cover story for Cooking Light’s March 2015 issue, First Lady Michelle Obama opens up about the importance of healthy eating, the changes she’s made to her daughters’ diets, and why she feels so strongly about having dinner together as a family.
“My dad was a shift worker, so there were some dinner times when he was at work, but whenever he was there we would sit around the table with the plastic tablecloth, and that’s when we would catch up and we’d talk about what we were eating, talk about what was going on in the day,” Obama said. “And it’s that tradition that Barack and I really try to incorporate in our lives, even though we’re extremely busy in the White House. We’ve found that we’ve been able to have dinner every — almost every night together, between 6:30 and 7:00. We have a bigger table and somebody else is doing the cooking, but the conversation and the mood and the tone are still the same. It’s our most important time of the day.”
Mrs. Obama has made healthy eating and combating obesity in children her mission as first lady. Her Let’s Move! campaign, which seeks to get kids excited about fitness and making better food choices, celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, and she makes sure to practice what she preaches. In fact, she reveals that a trip to the pediatrician with her daughters Sasha and Malia prompted some quick changes around the kitchen.
“So we made very simple changes as a result of what our pediatrician told us. I cooked probably one or two more meals, and it was something simple — maybe a baked chicken, couscous, steamed broccoli. I kept it simple but made sure there was always a vegetable and always a good grain on the plate,” she said. “More importantly, we just eliminated all the processed foods, all those packaged lunches, all of the canned juices. We started using fresh-squeezed juice and added more water into their diet. So when the kids were thirsty, we would even mix water in juice just to dilute it so it would get them out of that habit of wanting that sugary taste. And the kids adapted to the changes very quickly.”
And those simple changes yielded in big results as the girls’ doctor was amazed by how quickly things improved. Rather than appear like a superhuman mom who was able to handle her career and give her family meals a complete makeover, Obama explained that the changes she made were very easy to implement once she decided to educate herself a bit more on the subject.
To read her entire interview, click here.
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(Photo: Cooking Light Magazine, March 2015)