First Lady Calls For Better School Food
In a few short sentences, First Lady Michelle Obama gave the women (and men) who are
responsible for what children eat in school a shout-out that should keep them revved up for the
rest of the school year.
Speaking in Washington on Monday to the annual meeting of the School Nutrition Association,
she said, "I know that you don't always get a lot of credit and recognition for what you do—and
you deserve it." She went on to characterize the school cafeteria as "one of the most important
classrooms in the entire school," noting that kids don't stop learning at lunchtime.
"Every day," she said, "with the food you serve, you're teaching them these critical lessons about
nutrition and healthy eating. You're shaping their habits and their preferences, and you're
affecting the choices that they're going to make for the rest of their lives."
THE DETAILS: Lessons learned in school cafeterias aren't always the best ones; there has been
some pretty bad food in school lunches over the years. And, in some places, there still is: too
much sugar, too much salt, too much fat.
The only green vegetables may be canned green beans, which school nutrition directors say is
the item on the lunch plate that kids are most likely to toss into the garbage. (Who can blame
them?) Add to that the junk food that many schools offer in vending machines, in school stores,
and during sporting events.
But Mrs. Obama chose to focus on the positive activity taking place in school cafeterias around
the country, much of it in the last couple of years, with efforts to produce healthier, more
appealing meals. Such efforts make up one of the key components of Mrs. Obama's new Let's
Move campaign, which she hopes will abolish childhood obesity in a generation.
And, as she has at past events promoting Let's Move, Mrs. Obama said the blame for the obesity
epidemic rests squarely on the head of the adults. "Our kids didn't do this to themselves," she told
the audience. "They don't