Michelle Obama says family ate ‘too much fast food’ before entering the White House: ‘I saw my kids’ health being affected’

Michelle Obama is sharing her knowledge of health and wellbeing with American families in the Netflix kids' show 'Waffles + Mochi.' (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Michelle Obama is sharing her knowledge of health and nutrition with American families in the Netflix kids' show Waffles + Mochi. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Michelle Obama is using her own story to educate American families on the importance of health and nutrition.

On Monday’s episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, the former first lady, 58, addressed the general concern working parents have about being unable to feed their family healthier food options.

"I was in your position. Now my girls are grown women out in the world, but when we entered the White House they were 7 and 10,” she said of her daughters Sasha and Malia, now 21 and 24. “I was in that position where I was working, I had a full time job, I was campaigning for my husband, I was on the road and I was getting to the point where I couldn’t figure out how to feed my kids healthy foods because I was trying to do what most parents do: give them something fast and quick.”

Those habits soon turned unhealthy, according to Obama.

“I saw my kids' health being affected by the fact that we did too much fast food, we did too many sugary drinks,” she explained, adding that the trick is not about giving up sweets altogether, but rather finding a balance — which she learned the hard way.

"I struggled with that as a parent and I figured, here I am — college educated, law degree — and I don’t know what to feed my kids what’s healthy," she said.

Obama's passion for health and fitness is ingrained in her legacy. While serving as first lady from 2008 to 2016, she aimed to equip American families with knowledge and resources about health and well-being through her Let’s Move! initiative.

Launched in 2010, the initiative helped transform school food environments with the Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which updated school meal nutrition standards for the first time in 15 years and increased funding for the first time in 30 years, according to the initiative's website.

US First Lady Michelle Obama harvests broccoli from the White House Kitchen Garden alongside area school children following an announcement of free licensing of Sesame Street characters to promote and market fresh fruit and vegetables by Produce Marketing Association growers, suppliers and retailers, as part of the Let's Move initiative, at the White House in Washington, DC, October 30, 2013. The agreement utilizes the strength of the Sesame Street brand to help deliver messages about fresh fruits and vegetables and characters such as Elmo and Big Bird may be on produce in stores as early as mid-2014. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Michelle Obama, pictured here at the White House Kitchen Garden in 2013, harvests broccoli alongside area school children as part of the Let's Move! initiative. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Obama has since taken that mission to television in the Netflix kids' show Waffles + Mochi, on which she's executive producer and she and her two puppet friends aim to make discussions around food fun and palpable for kids to digest.

“This is sort of the culmination of everything we worked on in the White House,” she told Barrymore of the show. “We got this amazing show that is a food adventure, that continues that journey, and we are working with some fun characters, Waffles and Mochi. They are my sidekicks, and in the first season they learn all about food because they wanted to become chefs. And guess what they’re doing this season…? They are opening their own restaurant! They have become chefs.”

Assuring the world that, just like the rest of us, she enjoys a late-night dessert, Obama was quick to point out that she'll never resist her mom’s homemade sweets.

"My mom used to bake homemade cakes for us for our birthdays," she said. "My mom even did this when she lived with us in the White House, and I remember getting to lick the mixer."

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