Eat Like the Obamas

April 20, 2018

You may not be able to eat like the leader of the free world at your next meal, but if you want to eat healthier and fuel your own rise, the former White House chef Sam Kass suggests doing it one meal at a time.

In his new cookbook, "Eat A Little Better: Great Flavor, Good Health, Better World," Kass shares the recipes he prepared for President Obama and his family. It includes the president's "lucky pasta," which Kass made for Obama before his second debate with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. After the president delivered a strong performance in that debate, Kass wrote that he decided to make that same pasta for the president before Obama's last presidential debate and on election night.

"Eat A Little Better" was written as a guide to eating healthier and doing good for the environment plate by plate. Kass recommends small steps to eating a little better each day, eventually achieving a big change.

"People end up trying to get these utopic ideals of a what a perfect diet looks like, and then they fail, they get discouraged, and they give up," said Kass. "This book really celebrates progress, and it's like here are some real tools to make steps in the right direction day in and day out, and then over time it really adds up."

Kass's book isn't just a compilation of his favorite recipes. It's filled with glimpses inside the Obamas' life at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He wrote about his "audition" for Michelle and their children and ripping up part of the White House's South Lawn to plant a vegetable garden.

Kass first connected with the Obamas months after then-Senator Obama launched his campaign for president in 2007. Michelle Obama wanted someone to keep the family running on healthy food while she joined candidate Obama on the campaign trail. Kass cooked up creations for the first family for eight years.

While his cooking landed him a spot in the White House kitchen, Kass also served as the senior policy advisor for nutrition policy, playing a key role in passing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010. That measure made school lunches healthier for more than 31 million children across America.

Kass said that while he was teaching President Obama about food, the president was teaching him about politics. The best piece of policy advice he ever received from the president?

"You always start off with 'what's the right thing to do?' and then you go from there."

For full interview, click here.