Like many of you, some of my happiest times as a child were spent eating hambers and fries with my parents at McDonald’s. Of course, back then, there was only one McDonald’s in Memphis, Tennessee and their hamburgers were 25 cents a piece.
But, I digress….
Yesterday First Lady Michelle Obama, in her crusade to reduce childhood obesity, appeared at an Olive Garden Restaurant to announce that the company that owns the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and four other popular restaurant chains has pledged to cut the calories and sodium in its meals and change its kids’ menu to make it more healthy.
Darden Restaurants Inc. has pledged to reduce the calories and sodium in all its meals by 10 percent over five years, and by 20 percent over 10 years. It will now require adult supervision for a child to have a Coke and an order of french fires.
Instead of fries, all kids’ meals will now come with a side of fruit or vegetables and eight ounces of 1 percent milk. An adult will have to ask for a substitute, according to Drew Madsen, president and chief operating officer of Orlando, FL-based Darden, who added:
We think it’s the most comprehensive health and wellness commitment in the industry.
Darden is a huge company with more than 1,900 restaurants dishing out over 400 million meals annually. Besides Olive Garden, Darden’s also owns LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52. The Capital Grille and Seasons 52 do not have children’s menus.
Darden’s action is part of a national movement spurred on by pressure from the Administration, in support of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” Program, an effort to get Pookie, Jr. off the couch and away from the video game.
Beginning last January, Michelle and her Food Police have pressured McDonald’s, Burger King, Chili’s, IHOP, Friendly’s and more than a dozen other large and small chains into promising that they will begin replacing the French fries in their kid’s menus with fruit and will begin removing those evil pictures of french fries and less healthy foods from their menus.
According to government studies, one in three U.S. children is overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk of developing diabetes, heart disease or other health conditions. Mrs. Obama has made it her crusade to become “First Mama” and control what our children and grandchildren eat.
When she spoke a year ago to the National Restaurant Association, Michelle urged its members to “actively promote healthy foods and healthy habits to our kids.” According to her, Consumers spend half their food dollars on meals outside the home and eat one in three meals at a restaurant. She told the restaurateurs that they needed to start serving low-fat milk and healthy sides like apple slices or carrots, while making French fries available only upon request.
White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes announced yesterday that Darden’s announcement amounts to a “full-throated endorsement” of the types of changes Mrs. Obama has asked the nation’s restaurant owners and operators to make.
But wait, gentle reader, there’s more. Michelle does not think that you have enough sense to take care of yourself, either.
In January, she stood beside Walmart, the nation’s largest grocer, as it announced that it would change the formula of thousands of products it sells to make them healthier and it would push suppliers to do the same.
This summer, the first lady beamed with self-satisfaction as Walmart, Walgreens drug stores, and several regional grocers got in line and promised to eliminate “food deserts” by opening or expanding in rural and urban areas without easy access to healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
Michelle is not only trying to control what our children eat, she wants to control the diet of American adults, as shown in this article, posted on latimes.com, on February 6th, 2011, as she was beginning her Let’s Move Campaign.
…as she uses her public platform to persuade children to eat healthier and exercise more, Mrs. Obama and her team are also quietly pressing the levers of industry and government. Over the past year she has become involved in many aspects of the nation’s dietary habits, exerting her influence over nutrition policy.
Her team has worked with beverage makers to design soda cans with calorie counts and is deeply involved in a major remake of the government’s most recognizable tool for delivering its healthy-eating message: the food pyramid.
Mrs. Obama persuaded Congress to require schools to include more fruits and vegetables in the lunches they offer, and she encouraged lawmakers to require restaurants to print nutrition information on menus, a provision that wound up in President Obama’s landmark health care law.
“They really want a cooperative relationship with the food industry, and they’re looking at industry to come up with ideas,” said Lanette R. Kovachi, corporate dietitian for Subway, the nation’s second-largest restaurant chain in terms of revenue. She said she had taken part in at least four conference calls with Mrs. Obama’s food advisers.
Still, Mrs. Obama has been treading carefully. As part of her anti-obesity campaign, she has called on food makers to design clear “front-of-package” labels to warn consumers about ingredients like salt, sugar and fat. But after months of negotiations with the White House, the companies insisted on a plan that would also spotlight healthy ingredients, like calcium or fiber.
Hey, Michelle…what part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness don’t you understand? What our children and grandchildren eat is our responsibility, not yours.
What I consume, as a FREE American adult, is my business. My parents passed away years ago. I don’t need you or your Nanny-State trying to run my life.
By the way,as someone who has lost 30 pounds since January of 2010, I believe I am in a position to tell you to first remove the log from your own eye ( or someplace south of that border) before you complain about the cinder in mine.
In other words: KEEP YOUR EYES OFF MY FRIES!