7 Times Michelle Obama Has Championed a Healthy Lifestyle, From ‘Waffles + Mochi’ to ‘Let’s Move!’
Calling all young chefs: Michelle Obama’s fun-for-the-entire-family children’s show, Waffles + Mochi, which takes viewers on a global adventure to learn about healthy foods, drops March 16 on Netflix. But it’s hardly the first time the former first lady has advocated healthy living and eating for children. Here, 7 times she has used her platform to champion a healthy lifestyle.
Waffles + Mochi
The brand new project from Michelle Obama and president Barack Obama‘s Higher Ground Productions is produced in 10 20-minute episodes. A live-action series with puppets, it centers on Obama taking her two new friends around the globe to learn about and explore fresh ingredients.
The White House Vegetable Garden
The White House Kitchen Garden was planted on the South Lawn by Michelle Obama in 2009 to provide locally-grown food for the first family and guests, and to model “how people like you can grow nutritious food at home,” according to the National Park Service (NPS) website. The 2,800-square-foot garden was also a place where school children were able to help plant the crops and harvest the produce. A beehive was also created nearby to help pollinate the garden.
“Ultimately,” Obama said in an interview with America’s Heartland, “this garden is a way to elevate the conversation about our children’s health.”
In 2010, Obama kicked off a public health campaign called “Let’s Move!” With the aim to “[solve] the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation,” Obama used a variety of outreach tactics (such as collaborating with Beyoncé) to encourage kids to get physical, and to make them excited about healthy food. In addition, Obama embarked on a number of behind-the-scenes initiatives — including getting Walmart to lower the price of healthy products — to make nutritious, affordable diets accessible.
In 2013, she unveiled “Let’s Move Active Schools” to help make get students to participate in 60 minutes of physical activity a day while in school.
Raised the Bar for School Lunches
As part of her “Let’s Move!” initiative, Obama championed legislation to bring healthy, affordable food to schools. One of her biggest wins was the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which improved standards of nutrition for school lunches and ensured free meals for children in need.
She Schooled Congress on Definition of ‘Vegetable’
In a 2014 New York Times op-ed, she delivered the devastating aside: “Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches?”
A Billy on the Street Appearance in the Name of Produce
In 2015, Obama was a guest on Billy Eichner’s high-energy low-stakes game show Billy on the Street. The pair met in a Washington, D.C., grocery store, where Obama promoted “Eat Brighter,” a program from Sesame-Street and the Produce Marketing Association toe encourage parents and kids to eat more fruits and vegetables; Obama was then the PHA Honorary Chair.
Next to Big Bird, Obama explained the initiative’s mission to “make eating fruit and vegetables fun and exciting for kids and their parents.” Eichner responded, with his trademark intensity, “WE’RE BRIBING KIDS TO EAT FRUIT!”
A Sesame Street Visit to Encourage Breakfast
Waffles + Mochi isn’t Obama’s first foray into children’s television. In 2014 she went on Sesame Street to espouse the virtues of a nourishing morning meal. “Even if you’re busy, Grover, breakfast is a very important meal,” Obama explained to the blue-haired puppet.