Secretary Vilsack credited First Lady Michelle Obama for the beautiful weather in Washington, D.C., as the White House hosted students from seven local schools for the Healthy Kids Fair. The First Lady and USDA teamed up with local chefs and nutritionists for cooking demonstration and nutrition stations as well as physical activities led by representatives from Playworks and the local YMCA.
Before the food tastings and physical activities began, the First Lady highlighted the importance of teaching healthy habits while children are young so they make the right choices later in life. She discussed eating healthy and nutritious foods, and how physical activity is critical to overall wellbeing. “We don’t want our kids to exercise because we tell them to, we want them to exercise because it’s fun and they enjoy it,” said Mrs. Obama.
Vilsack announced the re-launch of the Healthier U.S. School Challenge that recognizes schools doing the right thing by serving healthy meals, getting junk food out of vending machines, and promoting physical activity and nutrition education. To underscore the importance of healthy, nutritious meals for our nations youth, Secretary Vilsack recalled President Obama’s first instruction when starting at the Department of Agriculture: ‘I want our children to be fed more nutritious meals.’
“It’s incumbent upon all of us to do everything we possibly can to give you a good start on life and that means making sure you are well fed,” said Vilsack. “It also means acknowledging schools that take the extra step of providing nutritious meals but that you have time in a busy school schedule for physical activity.”
After addressing the students and parents gathered on the South Lawn, the First Lady and Secretary Vilsack visited food stations to sample baked eggs and baked apples using honey made from the White House honey bees. There was also zucchini quesadillas that Mrs. Obama noted tasted a lot like pizza and an “Eat the Rainbow” station where students could sample fruits and vegetables from all corners of the globe including star fruit, jicama and pomegranates.
The First Lady challenged students at the physical activity stations by showing her skills with a hula-hoop, double dutch jump-roping and an obstacle course.
Watch videos from the day’s events on the USDA’s YouTube channel.