Earlier this week, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the National Restaurant Association with stern advice about the fare they should serve up -- less butter and cream, fewer fries.
“I’m not asking any of you to make drastic changes to every single one of your recipes or to totally change the way you do business,” she said. “But what I am asking is that you consider reformulating your menu in pragmatic and incremental ways to create healthier versions of the foods that we all love."
She also gave them advice on advertising.
“It’s not enough just to limit ads for foods that aren’t healthy," she said. "It’s also going to be critical to increase marketing for foods that are healthy."
A little bossy don't you think?
It's part of her ongoing mission to improve the nutrition of children in this country, which is admirable. She's brought a lot of awareness to the problem of school lunches and childhood obesity, and I am right there with her in the outrage about our nation's unhealthy eating habits.
But she should stay out of restaurants.
Restaurants are where we go to take a break, to celebrate special occasions and occasionally get some relief from cooking. They should be places to enjoy, those in which we do indulge sometimes. While I may never fry cheese in my own home, I might go wild and get my kids some while dining out some night. Big deal.
We don't rely on restaurants for our basic nutritional needs, rather they fill in here and their in our otherwise healthy diet.
If you do rely on restaurants to provide most of your meals then perhaps their menus could be problematic -- but that's an individual problem of eating out too often that individuals need to address, not one for restaurants to solve. Their job is to attract customers, after all.
And most restaurants have upped efforts to offer healthy fare. If you order right, you can go into most any restaurant in the country and get a healthy meal if you look for it ... if you order it. Just because the fries are more tempting to you than the cottage cheese shouldn't really be the problem of restaurants.
It's different in school cafeterias where our children eat regularly. Those choices should be regulated and as healthy we can make them, because, like at home, that fare is standard part of their diets.
Restaurant food doesnt' have to be, and when I do choose to dine out, if I want heavy cream in a dish, then I want heavy cream.
Do you think Michele Obama has any business telling restaurants what to do with theirs?
Image via whitehouse.gov