For the first time since 1963, Better Homes and Gardens is featuring a public figure front and center for the August issue of the magazine. First lady Michelle Obama is pictured relaxing at a picnic table filled with veggies on the White House lawn — a symbolic shot of the 47-year-old's crusade for a healthier America.
In the featured interview, Michelle remarks about the challenges she faced when she attempted to push her family in a healthier direction, admitting that when she first came to the White House, the transition briefly derailed her efforts. “I realized that some clothes were getting tighter," she said. "I didn’t know what was going on.” Mrs. Obama says that after a consult with her daughters' pediatrician, it became clear to her that a change was needed.
And now? “I always tease him I’m in better shape than he is,” she says, speaking of President Obama. “I can do long workouts. He’s the president,” she quipped.
Michelle says that her Let's Move! initiative, announced last year as an effort to end childhood obesity, was born from her personal efforts with her family. Unlike similar campaigns from the past, the first lady wants to couple fun with tasty food for this push — something she believes makes for a much more attractive experience. “When we were growing up, we weren’t ‘exercising.’ We were playing tag and jumping rope,” she says in the interview.
The first lady's most recent initiative is an attack on so-called "food deserts" or places in the nation where access to fresh produce and healthy, affordable options are nonexistent. She has teamed up with retail giants like Wal-Mart Stores, Walgreens and Supervalu to open "food oasis" shops stocked with fruits, vegetables and other healthy fare.
"We can give people all the information and advice in the world about healthy eating and exercise, but if parents can't buy the food they need to prepare those meals because their only options for groceries are the gas station or the local minimart, then all that is just talk," she said.
According to the White House, about 23.5 million Americans — including 6.5 million children — live in food deserts.
In honor of the first lady's interview, Better Homes and Gardens pulled together 14 veggie-rich recipes on the BHG website. Meals include Fish Tacos with Melon Salsa, Garden Spaghetti, Fruit Pocket Pies, and more. Be sure to also check out their new iPad app featuring more than 50 vegetarian recipes.