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As many of you know, The First Lady, Michelle Obama, has been a staunch advocate for better health conditions in our schools and homes in an effort to help reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity we are facing today in America. She spearheaded the creation of the Let’s Move National Movement:
“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.”
- First Lady Michelle Obama at the Let’s Move! launch on February 9, 2010
Michelle Obama has also publicly announced that she uses many of their own fresh frits and vegetables for preparing meals in the White House which she and her staff source from their own garden on the grounds.
While many of us have the ability (and luxury_ of planting our own gardens too, there are sadly many communities across the country which have few (and sometimes no) places to purchase groceries, much less fresh fruits and vegetables. Many members of these communities also struggle to be able to afford to plant and maintain their own gardens (if they even have the space to do so). These neighborhoods are known as ‘food deserts’, and in recent years, as economic difficulties caused grocery stores to shut their doors or consolidate locations, they are becoming more and more common. As Americans struggle to find work, many are forced to turn to inexpensive fast food to feed their families. Eliminating these food deserts and making sure parents in every part of the country have access to fresh produce and healthy choices is a primary goal of Let’s Move.
Below is an image from a recent event where Mrs. Obama highlights steps some mayors have taken to make healthy choices more available, from planting community gardens and bringing in fresh produce trucks, to easing the way for grocery chains to open in food deserts with zoning and permitting assistance, tax incentives and proactively seeking out grocery stores to serve as anchors in new development areas.
I’m personally very excited for the idea that local communities can have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and I’m encouraged by the Let’s Move movement. You can join your local chapter by visiting the site here and see how you can help your local area to offer more access to fresh fruits and vegetables for needy communities, and to encourage our children to embrace movement vs stagnancy.
So, in keeping with this theme of the White House’s healthy focus, I thought I would share with you a recent video clip from the Today Show where Matt Lauer interviews Cris Comerford, the White House Executive Chef, as she prepares a delicious and healthy Chopped green salad (recipe below). Click here to watch the video, and see below for the Chopped Salad recipe.
White House chef shares healthy salad recipe
Cris Comerford, White House executive chef
- For salad:
- 4 cups torn spinach and/or romaine
- 1 small cucumber, seeded, if desired
- 3 oz. broccoli florets, blanched and shocked*( 1 cup)
- 3 oz. tender fresh green beans, blanched and shocked*( 1 1/2 cups)
- 3/4 cup frozen edamame, thawed
- 1 1/2 cups halved green grapes
- 1 recipe Fresh Herb Dressing
- Lemon wedges
- For dressing:
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. snipped fresh Italian parsley, basil, or thyme
- 2 tsp. yellow mustard
- 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
For dressing: In a screw-top jar combine orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, herb, mustard and pepper. Cover and shake well. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. Stir or shake well before using.
Raspberry vinaigrette: Prepare as above, except substitute raspberry vinegar, and add 1/4 cup mashed fresh raspberries.
For salad: On a large cutting board, cut lettuce and cucumber into bite-size pieces. Add to a large salad bowl. Add broccoli, beans, edamame, and grapes. Toss gently to mix. Drizzle about 1/3 recipe fresh herb dressing over vegetables. Toss gently to coat mixture with dressing.
Serve in small tumblers or cups with lemon wedges, if desired. Pass remaining dressing, if desired.
Teaching Notes: Before chopping lettuce, wash lettuce and remove excess water from leaves by patting dry with paper towels. Salad dressing clings better to dry lettuce.
Shocking vegetables: Bring a saucepan half filled with water to a boil. Carefully add vegetables and cook 3 minutes (do not wait for water to return to boil to start timing). Drain in colander and immediately add to a bowl of ice water to halt cooking. Drain well before using.
Before chopping lettuce, wash lettuce and remove excess water from leaves by patting dry with paper towels. Salad dressing clings better to dry lettuce.
Makes 6 servings