Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting The White House to attend a special Let’s Move! Parenting Bloggers Event. First Lady Michelle Obama invited a select number of online influencers to discuss how the Let’s Move! initiative has evolved over the past 6 years, and to give us some insight of how it was developed, the other programs offered within the Let’s Move! umbrella, and more. Thanks to POPSUGAR, I was amongst those 150 influencers. Holy. Cow. We also got to walk around The White House, and take an insane amount of pictures and video. Is this my job? Yes. Yes, it is.
We were able to attend 3 different panels of powerful women, discussing programs that encourage healthy eating and intentional movement within schools, communities, cities and towns, parks, and more. DOn’t worry. I’ll be covering these initiatives over the next few days, especially the ones that can be created and initiated by YOU, with financial assistance from the American Government.
While First Lady Obama’s 19 minute speech was chock full of inspiration, intention, and valuable information, there were a few key points she shared that stuck with me.
All Moms Are Pressed For Time — Even The First Lady
When her girls were little, and President Obama was just starting his political career, things were hectic–
“We were always rushing, always pressed for time. And as a result, meal times were all about whatever was quick and easy -– the drive-thru, the microwave, takeout –- any convenience food you could think of, we did it. And this went on for quite a while, but one day, I got a wakeup call. We were at our pediatrician’s office for a routine checkup, and after doing the exam — you know, they take the measurements and weigh them and measure their head and all that stuff — our doctor got this look of concern on his face. And he asked me, “What are you all eating at home?” And right then and there, I remember, in his — the exam room, my heart sank. The thought that I was maybe doing something that wasn’t good for my kids was devastating.”
The First Lady mentioned that not only was President Obama out of town quite a bit, but her girls were involved in soccer, ballet, an the like. They spent most of their time traveling in the car, and eating fast food. Her experience at the doctor’s office changed everything.
The First Lady Took Baby Steps To Better Nutrition
She didn’t go overboard with the changes. She decided to cook more. A roast on Sundays, with pasta night and baked chicken night as part of her meal planning. Instead of having dessert every night, they decided to make it a special treat on the weekends. And just like any other parent, they did have some resistance from their girls. But, they kept going–
“So we faced some initial resistance. But here’s the thing — we stuck with it, and eventually, our kids adjusted. Their palettes actually changed, and they got used to eating food that wasn’t drenched in sugar, salt and fat. And at our next checkup, everything was back to normal.”
Her Family’s Experience Inspired Let’s Move!
After their scare at the doctor’s office, and their reformed way of eating, their Pediatrician was enamored with how the First Lady and President Obama were able to turn things around. The First Lady had many conversations with their pediatrician about rising childhood obesity, and that his patients were experiencing high blood pressure and type II diabetes at an alarming rate. These talks, and her own experience as a concerned mother, were the catalyst for Let’s Move just a few years later. Let’s Move was created for parents that want a change for their children —
“…that’s really the point of Let’s Move! -– to try to make things easier for parents who are doing everything they can to keep their kids healthy.”
With each part of the Let’s Move initiative they’ve achieved just that — provided programs to make it easy for parents to raise healthier human beings. Here are a few accomplishments the initiative has gained over the past few years:
- Helped install more than 4,000 salad bars in schools serving more than 2 million kids.
- Eliminated junk food marketing in classrooms.
- Pushed schools to provide 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
- 97 percent of schools are now meeting the standards mentioned above.
- 31 million kids are eating healthier school meals every day.
The opportunity to listen to The First Lady had lit a fire in me. Meal planning and creating inexpensive, but healthy, meals are big focus on 4 Hats and Frugal. We’ve been told time and again that eating healthy, and being on a budget are two things that don’t correlate, even though we show how our family does it, time and time again. This is something that is important to us, whether we have a $64 grocery budget or not. This is what’s important to us, and to many budget-concious parents out there. It can be done, and these programs were created for us. I think the First Lady said it best, towards the end of her speech —
“…when naysayers claim that we just can’t afford to serve our kids healthy food, it’s up to us as parents to push back and say, ‘We can’t afford not to give our kids nutritious food.’ Because when we’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars treating obesity-related diseases, we simply don’t have the luxury to ignore this issue.
And when folks mock our efforts, it’s parents who need to be out there saying, ‘Excuse me, but our children’s health isn’t a joke. One third of kids being overweight or obese isn’t funny. Kids being diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure at young ages is just not a laughing matter.’ This is a serious issue, and we need to be doing something about it.”
To learn more about the Let’s Move initiative, and all of the programs associate with it, visit the Let’s Move website. Also, stay tuned to 4 Hats and Frugal, where we will be covering a few of the programs discussed during the Let’s Move Blogger Event.
Would you like to see the First Lady’s speech in it’s entirety? Click below: