Courtesy Cooking Light
It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when Michelle Obama wasn’t on a healthy-eating track.
But, prior to entering the White House, she learned on a visit to her daughters’ pediatrician that their diets weren’t as good has they could be. “I thought we had it all together,” says the First Lady, who graces the cover of the Cooking Light‘s March issue. It’s the magazine first non-food cover in its 28 years of publishing.
Less takeout and processed foods, and more healthy home-cooked meals helped the full-time working mom turn it around.
“By the time we went back for the next visit, our pediatrician said, ‘What have you done? I haven’t seen these [body mass index] numbers change in this way in a while,” Mrs. Obama recalls in the magazine’s Family Dinner issue.
Courtesy Cooking Light
“[My mom] was famous for her lemon chicken,” Mrs. Obama shares. “And that was a good Sunday dish.” The rest of the week consisted of roast beef sandwiches (on Monday and Tuesday), lasagna for weeknight dinners, fish on Fridays, and the “unfortunate liver Wednesdays.”
“There was a pattern to what we ate,” she says. “There ware familiar flavors … we would sit around the table with the plastic tablecloth, and that’s when we would catch up and we’d talk about what we were eating, talk about what was going on in the day.”
She now shares the same sentiment with her own family. “[Between 6:30 and 7 p.m.] is the most important time of the day,” she says.
One of her biggest food influences: former White House chef Sam Kass. “He was a core of our processed-food elimination,” she says. “He said, there’s nothing wrong with mac and cheese, but it’s got to be real food … cheese dust is not food.”
For more on Michelle Obama’s interview — and the magazine’s new Let’s Move!–inspired curriculum Let’s Cook! —pick up the March issue of Cooking Light.
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Jim Norton/Getty; Courtesy Harley Pasternak
Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. He’s also a New York Times best-selling author, with titles including The Body Reset Diet and The 5-Factor Diet. Tweet him @harleypasternak.