We live for a birthday, celebration, sheet-cake moment, but there isn't likely to be any of that going around as Michelle Obama commemorates the third anniversary of her healthy living initiative, Let's Move, this week.
There may be some other, equally delicious fare on the menu, however.
The first lady began making the rounds Friday on a national tour celebrating the campaign she designed to promote exercise and nutrition among kids. In between stops at "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "The Rachel Ray Show," FLOTUS sat down with model-turned-restaurateur and radio host, B. Smith, to talk about how far Let's Move has come.
"We are excited every day, but we really try to take the time on the anniversary to really take a step back, look at where we have come because we still have work to do," Obama told Smith and her co-host/husband, Dan Gasby. During the interview, Obama highlighted her plans to distribute her message from Chicago, where she'll announce a new initiative around physical activity in the public schools later this week, to Mississippi where she notes obesity rates have dropped some 13 percent over the last three years.
Back at the White House, where Smith is slated to serve up a Black History Month dinner Wednesday night, Obama says she's been working to keep her own family on task.
"[We don't get into the kitchen] as much as we used to when we lived in Chicago. But before we came to the White House, that was one of the shifts I had to make as a busy mother," Obama said when asked if she and her daughters, Sasha and Malia, get to make any meals of their own these days. "Really cleaning our shelves, getting rid of the heavily processed foods, getting more fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh-squeezed juices in, getting them more involved in going to farmers markets and understanding where these fruits and vegetables are coming from," she went on to say, explaining how her own family inspired her decision to bring the White House garden back. "I saw how much the difference it makes for kids when they are involved in the planting and the harvesting and the purchasing and the preparation of the foods they eat. It really fundamentally changes their approach to what they eat and what they'll be willing to eat."
The first lady notes, however, that shifting ones approach to food isn't just a change that children and parents need to make, but the soul food-eating community as well.
"I think that health doesn’t mean no taste, and that’s what we have to communicate in our communities, that there’s a way to do all of that foods we love and that we’ve grown up with [by] changing preparations and adding different seasonings," she said. "We can still celebrate the foods that we love but do it in a way that nourishes our bodies and gives us the strength to keep making that history.”
For FLOTUS, that means substituting olive oil for heavier oils, adding some whole grain pastas to the mix and "shutting off the fryer," she said.
As part of her effort and in celebration of the anniversary of Let's Move, Obama joined forces with magazine publishers Hearst, Meredith, Food Network, Time Inc. and Condé Nast to cull more than 1,000 recipes onto a new "MyPlate Recipes" Pinterest page. The initiative, an extension of the USDA's 2011 food pyramid redesign, is aimed at taking the guess work out of finding healthier recipes, and even includes some re-imagined soul food staples like the ones we've highlighted here.