Here is the full transcript of last week’s interview with Michelle Obama. She is not backing down. After all, if schools do not do what she says, they will not get federal money. She knows that school districts know where their whole wheat bread is buttered, and who butters it.
This is from Channel One, which rammed this down the throats of 5 million viewers in public schools.
Have you noticed your school vending machines looking, well, a little different lately? It is all part of a nationwide effort backed by first lady Michelle Obama, who has made healthy eating one of her top priorities. I got the chance to sit down with the first lady to find out why.
Michelle Obama: I bet right now in any classroom across the country, there’s a kid sitting at the desk like this.
Maggie: Already asleep.
Obama: Already asleep. And what I would ask teachers to do is ask them, what did you have for breakfast? Well, what did you have for dinner? If you don’t have fuel in your body, you just can’t keep up.
Maggie: So, we decided to try it out at Cliffside Park High School in New Jersey.
Before coming to lunch, were you tired?
Sabrina: I was so tired I was falling asleep in my Algebra II class.
Maggie: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Sabrina: I had lemonade and oatmeal cookies.
Maggie: Okay. So, the first lady wasn’t too far off.
In fact, in one study, students who ate a healthy breakfast averaged math scores more than 17% higher that those who didn’t.
Obama: Food matters. I think that’s one of the things I talk to my kids about all the time.
Maggie: So, do you think that if a student gets a nutritious lunch – something that really fuels them and feeds them – they will not only do better in school, but even on the practice fields?
Maggie: And it is not just schoolwork or sports. Study after study has found a link between unhealthy school lunches and high rates of obesity.
Obama: More and more kids are getting more of their meals and more of their calories at school. So, if we can figure this out at school and help kids learn and give them that education, then we won’t have to be looking at this issue in the next generations to come.
Take me through your final plate.
Athlete: Well, let me tell you, we’re the best chefs in the game.
Maggie: That is why the first lady teamed up with a group of athletes and experts to encourage young people to make healthier choices…
Athlete: Eating the right foods can help make you a better athlete.
Maggie: …And to push for healthier food in schools.
You may have noticed your vending machines looking a little different this year… Well, okay, so a lot different. Do you remember all those healthy changes that happened in the lunchroom last year? Well, this year they have hit your snacks.
If you are one of the more than 30 million students who eat at a school that is part of the National School Lunch Program, both your lunch and all of the snacks in your school must have more veggies, more fruits and more whole grains. But these healthy changes are getting mixed reviews from students, and some schools complained the healthy food was too expensive.
Now, when these new lunch guidelines were set in place last year, there was a little bit of pushback, and some of it came from students. So, what do you say to kids that say “I don’t like this food, I am going to throw it away, I’m hungry by the time I get to practice”?
Obama: It’s natural. Change is hard. And the thing about highly processed, sugary, salty foods is that you get addicted to it. I don’t want to just settle because it’s hard. I don’t want to give up because it’s expensive. I don’t want that to be the excuse.
Maggie: Let’s take a little poll here. Can you raise your hand if you like the new changes to the lunchroom? Out of a table of twelve, eight of you like the changes.
Why don’t you like the changes?
Jennah: Whole wheat doesn’t make anything taste good. You know, it’s seventh period, we’re hungry, we want to eat something good, not whole wheat.
Maggie: And some students, well, they just decide to work around the rules.
I see a whole bag of Doritos here and I don’t think they are selling them in the lunchroom.
Obama: I know kids are grumbling because they have to make changes. Trust me, my kids roll their eyes at me every time I tell them “you know you don’t have to finish your diner, but you have to finish your vegetables.” But I know that I’m doing it because I’m giving my kids the best that I know I can give them.
Maggie: But get this: Mrs. Obama says good taste is just as important to her as well.
Obama: Look, I wouldn’t want to eat a nasty lunch either. Quite frankly, no one wants to eat bad food. I want to encourage kids to figure out how to help their schools make their lunches taste better and be healthy.
Maggie: If someone hates vegetables, but, like you say, you have to try them, what’s a good gateway veggie just to get them started?
Obama: You know, my kids like broccoli, celery, carrots – those kind of vegetables that have a little flavor, sweetness to it. And I would encourage kids to go over to those salad bars and just try a mixture of things, because sometimes if you mix a bunch of things up and you chop it up, the whole combination sounds pretty good.
Maggie: Students like Sabrina say the lunchtime game changed once the salad bar came into play.
Sabrina: Everybody is getting the salad. People who didn’t eat salad last year are getting it this year.
Maggie: A Harvard study found students are eating more fruits and veggies than before the new rules.
Sabrina: I tried some of the peppers that I didn’t want to try last year, and I was just like, “Oh no, I’m not trying those.” But now I tried them and they were actually really good.
Maggie: So, now you like peppers?
Sabrina: Yeah, now I like peppers.
Maggie: Small changes that the first lady says can make a big difference.
Obama: Don’t be mad because there are changes. Figure out why the changes are important, and then find out how you make it work for you.