While the Obama administration has made many changes to what students eat at schools accepting federal subsidies — the most recent change will be felt this year when junk food is banned from vending machines and school stores — it at least makes sure to practice the moderation that it preaches.
The Washington Post’s look into the current White House — and comparing it to previous administrations — shows a stark difference.
While the Post cites George H.W. Bush’s affinity for pork rinds, Bill Clinton’s McDonald’s stops mid-jog and George W. Bush as having hot dogs for dinner, the Obamas have gone to great lengths to make sure healthy options are available for them — and the staff that works long hours, often eating at the office instead of their homes.
“I probably had more fried chicken tenders [in the White House Mess] than I’ve had in my entire life. The food is a matter of convenience, and you wanted to grab things and get back to work,” Brian McCormack, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s persona aide, told the Post.
But now various offices have bowls of apples strategically placed for hungry staffers to munch on. Though the White House has a full time pastry chef on staff, desserts are treats reserved for the weekend. First lady Michelle Obama also reinstated the White House kitchen garden when her husband took office in 2009. This year it was expanded to include a pollinator’s garden to support the bee and butterfly populations, which have been declining, the Post reported.
“The culture here has shifted pretty dramatically, in direct ways and indirect ways, based on their leadership,” Sam Kass, executive director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative and senior policy adviser for nutrition, told the Post. “I think we really live that. I think that’s been a transformation for the kitchen.”
But it goes beyond just healthy eating as well. Having a session with the Obama’s personal trainer, for example, is one of the only reasons one can be acceptably late for a meeting.
Sure the president and his wife have been caught deviating from their usually healthy prescription to indulge in a junk food treat every now and then, but it’s clear they’ve made an effort to limit these occasions.
Read the Washington Post’s full article for more on the food and fitness culture shift at the Obama’s White House.