Aug. 26, 2013 at 10:56 AM ET
School bells are ringing again across the country, and it’s time for parents to think about nutritious meals for their kids and keeping their children healthy by getting their bodies moving.
That was the message that assistant White House chef Sam Kass served up on TODAY Monday.
Kass, also the executive director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program, told Savannah Guthrie that he believes the first lady’s initiative to solve the nation’s obesity problem is working, as Americans are now thinking differently about food.
“I think we’re seeing the country unite around our kids’ health,” Kass told Guthrie. “We’re seeing preschool obesity rates starting to already come down, which we’re really excited about. Now we’ve got to get our youngsters in school and getting healthy.”
Kass discussed new rules for food offered in schools, and talked about Mrs. Obama’s push for kids to stay active throughout the day.
“Last year, the new school lunch standards were put in place,” Kass said. “School chefs are cooking much healthier food, and that’s going to happen again this year. And actually next year, there’s going to be much healthier food in vending machines and a la carte lines.”
He touted Let’s Move! Active Schools, the first lady’s initiative “to really get kids active throughout the school day.” The site defines an active school as one that incorporates physical activity for an hour into each day, before, during and after school.
“Parents can really get involved if they go to letsmoveschools.org,” Kass said. “They can sign up and help their schools make environments that will have their kids moving all day.”
Kass also cooked up some nutritious dishes that kids will love:an egg and potato frittata, an easy berry smoothie, a turkey wrap and a popcorn snack.
Kass says the frittata is an easy breakfast if you prep the ingredients the night before. The recipe’s key ingredients are eggs and potatoes and it also includes Swiss chard and turkey sausage. But, Kass says any greens will do, like broccoli or green beans, and if you had chicken or ground beef for dinner, you can swap that for the sausage.
“All of this can be done the night before,” Kass said. Guthrie took a bite and graded the meal an A+.
For the easy berry smoothie, which calls for frozen strawberries, raspberries and bananas, Kass recommended buying fruit in season when it’s less expensive and stashing it in the freezer. Don’t worry, he says, the nutrition doesn’t get lost.
Blend the fruit with low fat milk, serve the smoothie alongside whole-wheat toast, and Kass says, “It’s as good as it gets.”
Instead of weighing down a wrap with mayonnaise, Kass recommends hummus and turkey on a whole wheat wrap. For a healthy after-school snack, he tossed a popcorn treat made with dried fruits and nuts. If your kids like it spicy, try a pinch of cayenne pepper.