Remarks by the First Lady at Subway's "Let's Move!" Announcement
MRS. OBAMA: Hey, everybody. How are you all doing?
MRS. OBAMA: Are you as hungry as I am? I am starving. (Laughter.) We're going to eat, right? You ready for that?
Well, it is a pleasure to be here today. I want to start by thanking Michael for that very kind introduction, but more importantly, for everything that he is doing to make sure that kids like you grow up healthy, that you eat healthy and you stay active so that your brains work right and your bodies work right, and you can live long like me and your parents.
But thank you, Michael. We're thrilled that he could join us, along with Justin Tuck and Nastia Liukin, who are here as well. They're going to help fix our sandwiches. So you're going to be able to meet a couple of other great athletes who believe in eating healthy as well.
But more importantly, thank you guys for being here today. Is there school today?
MRS. OBAMA: Oh. (Laughter.) So how did you get to come here?
CHILD: The bus.
MRS. OBAMA: They took the bus. (Laughter.) We are glad that you're here -- and staying warm, I hope, right? Okay. Well, let me talk about a few things before we eat, all right, and then we'll get to eating.
I want to recognize Jim Gavin -- Jim, where did you go? I heard you out here, Jim. Hey, Jim, how are you? Thank you for all of the work that you're doing with the Partnership for a Healthier America. And of course, most of all, I want to say a huge thank you to Suzanne Greco and everyone here at Subway for making this day possible.
For years, Subway has been providing meals that are healthy, but also easy, tasty and affordable -- right, parents? And today, with these new initiatives, Subway is once again stepping up to provide even more healthy choices for our families.
The new Fresh Fit for Kids meals here at Subway are a terrific example of what a kids' menu should look like. And that's because Subway is offering all kinds of healthy options for kids. Instead of every single -- worrying about whether what's on the item -- what's on the menu is actually healthy, what you can do with this meal is that -- you know that every single item on the kids' menu meets the highest nutrition standards, from the lean dairy products to the fresh fruits and veggies to the non-sugary beverages.
So this is a big deal, which is one of the reasons why we're here. And I have to tell you that I'm excited about this initiative for a couple of reasons. First, because I'm First Lady, and I've been -- of course, you guys know because you come help me with my garden -- we're doing Let's Move. But I'm also excited about this as a mom, just like your parents are. Because there was a time in my life when I was like a regular parent. And for me -- (laughter) -- it's a little different now, I have to admit. (Laughter.)
But I remember on Saturdays, I would spend the entire Saturday driving my kids around -- is that what you're still doing? I don't know about you, but Saturday I was basically a chauffeur, driving the girls from dance class to soccer, and then to somebody's birthday party somewhere on the other side of town. That's what I was doing. And I hardly ever had the time or the organizational skills to think ahead and pack snacks. Sometimes I would remember the snacks, but I definitely never remembered to pack lunch.
So there we would be, on our way to the second or third activity -- I don't know how you feel about this -- and then you think somebody -- you hear a voice in the car, in the backseat, going, I'm hungry. (Laughter.) That's how you all talk -- I'm hungry. (Laughter.) You've heard that voice before. And then you suddenly think, oh, man, what am I going to do about lunch? We don't have time to go back but these kids need some food, they're not going to make it through the day without food.
And when that happened, I didn't have the time to drive all the way home. I needed something close, nearby; something that would be quick and affordable, and also offer my kids some decent nutritious options. That was the big part for me -- where could I go where I would be certain that what the kids would order would be a decent and healthy meal for them.
And that's really why these new initiatives at Subway are so important, because they make it easy for parents like us to do the right thing by our kids. With the choices on Subway's kids' menu, you don't have to argue with your kids about what they can and can't have. How many people argue with their parents when they go into a restaurant and your parents are trying to get you to order something decent, and you're like, I don't want that? (Laughter.) That's how you sound -- I don't want that. And then you're arguing with your parents.
But here at Subway, you don't have to say no to this or that or the other thing. You can pretty much guarantee when they go to the kids' menu that anything they order is going to be right on par. And that helps us. You can let them loose and no matter what they choose from the kids' menu, you know it's going to be good for them.
And with the new Playtime: Powered by Veggies campaign, the menu here isn't just healthy for kids, it's also fun, because it lets the kids take control. That's one of the things that my kids like to do. They like to think that they were in control of everything they ate. So essentially giving them the opportunity to pick out what meats they want and what they want on their sandwiches, that makes them feel like they're in control. And kids -- you guys like control, don't you? Especially if you're fourth, fifth graders, you like control. It lets them choose which veggies they want to pile on, and what other things they want on their sandwich.
And to all the kids here today, I want to also echo what Michael said earlier about the importance of eating right and making good choices about what you eat -- not just because that will make your moms happy -- which it will -- but it's going to actually help you make your bodies work better. And that's serious. I don't know how many kids are athletes here, or who are dancers, who are movers, who want to do something important with their bodies -- what you eat, what you put into it makes a huge difference, just as Michael said.
So if you don't do it because you want to make mom happy, do it because you want to make yourself happy and you want to put yourself in a position to be excellent -- not just what you do physically, but what you do at school. Michael mentioned that what you eat at school absolutely affects how well your brain works -- and that's the truth. You may not see it or know it right now, but it absolutely does. So it's so important for you guys to make good choices about what you eat so that you move well and you study hard and you can do great things.
And all of that goes for the adults in the room, too. This isn't just about kids. We know that how we eat affects how we feel, and how much energy we have to deal with you, right? (Laughter.) That's why this new initiative isn't just for kids -- and that's something to keep in mind. Adults, we can pile it on, too. We can make the choices about what we eat. We have some flexibility so that we can actually feel comfortable eating with our kids when we take them out, right? Because there's always some healthy option no matter what you're doing in your life. That's why this initiative is good for adults.
And, moms and dads, if you want a treat every once in a while, the beauty about Subway is that you can still order that meatball sub, because it's still on the menu. And that's the beauty of what's going on here at Subway -- you have choices. You can still indulge every now and then and get that big foot-long with all the stuff and the cheese on it, and when you want to play it right, you have an option of doing something that's more healthy as well.
But there are also plenty of healthy options to choose from. And, even better, Subway isn't just offering healthy choices -- this is the thing I like -- they're putting real money behind marketing these choices to kids. They're actually working to get kids excited about eating their vegetables.
And I know we get them excited about doing lots of stuff. We can market a lot of things to kids. But one of the things that I've been urging companies to do -- and I did this last fall at our White House Summit on Food Marketing to Children -- I asked companies to stop targeting kids with ads for unhealthy products and start doing more to promote healthy products. And I am thrilled that Subway is one of the first companies that answered this call by starting these initiatives. And that's wonderful. Congratulations. (Applause.) And I am grateful for all that you're doing to step up on behalf of our kids.
But of course -- and here's the thing -- in the end, it's not enough just for Subway to simply offer and market these healthy options. As parents and consumers, we actually then have to buy these products. That's the ticket. The trick is we've got to put our money where we want products to go.
When companies do the right thing, like Subway, when they give us the healthy options we've been asking for, we need to vote with our wallets. That's how we need to send a clear message that this is what we want for our families. And that's how we get even more fresh food in our communities, because when companies see that we're going to buy this stuff, then they'll keep making it. Their argument is, we're making what people want. And they're never going to stop making what we want if we keep just buying stuff that's not healthy. So now that we have the options, we've got to step up and show companies like Subway and others -- other companies that if you make it, we'll buy it.
So with that, I want to close by once again thanking Subway for everything they are doing on behalf of kids and families. And in the coming months, I hope that businesses across the country will take the lead and figure out how to make some changes in their menus that will help kids in our communities grow up healthier.
So with that, are you ready to eat?
MRS. OBAMA: Who's coming with me to order a sandwich? Let's do it. Let's move! Come on, let's go, let's go. (Applause.)
Michelle Obama, Remarks by the First Lady at Subway's "Let's Move!" Announcement Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/321898