I had the privilege of attending the EatWell@School luncheon Dec. 13 with a handful of (awesome) LiveWell Moms and the LiveWell Rally Man, Jamie Atlas, whose guest was Gwen, an inspirational mom from the Rally Man video series. Students from the Bruce Randolph School, winners of the 2012 EatWell@School Cooking Competition, designed the delicious menu consisting of a chicken panini wrap, colorful coleslaw and jalapeño infused peach crumble. (Feel free to steal their recipe!)
And while I can eat lunch just about anywhere, this one was really special. Not only was I surrounded by great company and the food was well-prepared, but this meal was a symbol of change. More than 600 people sat in a room, swapping stories, laughs and business cards, united under one mission – to fight obesity in our communities.
One thing that really struck me (when I caught my breath after hearing that these meals were prepared for only $0.99 each!) was when Robert A. Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts, expressed how we are “eating our way toward fiscal ruin.” He shared a couple of stats in terms of what obesity costs our country in healthcare expenses and how it’s cheaper to battle against obesity. And he touched on the fact that, while it’s tough to talk to adults about this, we have an opportunity to reach our children.
I immediately took a look around our table and realized that participants in the LiveWell Moms Program have the opportunities and the voices to connect both the youth and adult camps with information, inspiration and motivation to get people moving. But what is perhaps most powerful is that we’re really just like you.
The most comforting thing about this experience was realizing the transparency of the fight against obesity. The answers are right in the mirror: we can fight obesity and change the course of the future every day, just by changing ourselves. I met LiveWell Moms Alli Howe, who gets up at 5 a.m. to do a women’s boot camp class before her husband and kids wake up, and Becky Furuta, who builds healthy foods into her children’s diets, and as a result, they make great nutritional choices on their own. Gwen lost 85 pounds – and is keeping it off. This is stuff people are doing in their own homes, in their own lives – and it is these victories that will change the world.
The EatWell@School Cooking Competition is no exception. Not only did these kids re-think the composition of school lunch, but they stepped out of their comfort zones to learn new skills and new tastes that they were excited to take home with them. Congratulations to all of the participants and organizers for such a terrific accomplishment!