How Do Your Dinnertime Rules Compare With The Obamas'?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

If you listen to the Morning Edition interview with first lady Michelle Obama, you'll know she's come out with a new book about the White House garden. It's just one more effort to help create a culture of wellness among Americans, which began with her Let's Move campaign in 2010.

As leader of this campaign, Mrs. Obama has been careful to keep it real. She acknowledges that her family, like most of the rest of us, enjoys burgers and fries on occasion. And, in public, she has shown that she enjoys all kinds of food — and likes to celebrate it.

But she has also made it clear that in the Obama household, there are some rules at mealtime. The Obamas eat brown rice instead of white, limit dessert to a few times during the week and pack lots of vegetables into dinner.

What else? Mrs. Obama told NPR's Rene Montagne that dinner is a ritual for her family.

"At 6:30 we make it a point, that if we're in town, no matter what the president is doing, we stop what we're doing, we sit down and and have a meal as a family," she said. Clearly it's not always possible with the president's schedule, but it's a high priority, she says.

And what are Sasha and Malia drinking?

"Water is probably the best thing you can do for kids or low-fat milk," Mrs. Obama says. "Just eliminating sugary drinks, take out the soda."

Besides eating together, the family also tries to exercise for 30 minutes a day. "Even if it's going for a walk, make it fun, make it silly," she says.

As moms, dads and caregivers, lots of us are probably aiming for these same types of goals. So we wondered, how often are you able to pull it off? Take our online survey and weigh in.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit

Source: NPR


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Comments [4]

Donna whiteman from Brooklyn

Ok we have the black thing and the 6:30 thing in common.

May. 29 2012 08:05 PM
Susan R from West Village

The Obamas are setting a good example for the nation of both healthy eating and making a priority of spending time together.

May. 29 2012 07:20 PM
Alexis from Harlem, USA

Sounds remarkably like my family. Why eat the moral equivalent of paste (white rice, bread, etc.) when you can eat heartily, nutritiously, and well - for not that much money?

We keep meat to a minimum - we're a mostly veggie family with one omnivore/meat-eating pre-teen - and while we probably eat too much pasta during the winter, it's offset by our love of fresh fruit and salad from spring to fall.

I love that there's a Black family in the White House, leading America in eating brown, whole foods.

May. 29 2012 05:03 PM
tom LI

All sensible to me. Meal time during the week should be about real nutrition. No special treatment for personal tastes and/or quirks. Eat simple healthy meals, and allow for some treats on the weekends or special occasions. Dessert is a treat not a given and never every night, unless its healthy and even then it should be limited.

But people will rant and rave that Ms. Obama is trying to tell us what to feed our kids and how to live and eat! Well someone has to with a national +30% obesity rate and rising...and that's official obesity, which doesnt count the many more people (adults and children) flying just under that radar.

I applaud Ms. Obama's mission, its an important one.

May. 29 2012 04:27 PM

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