Michelle Obama makes salad in Milan in home-cooking campaign

Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:20pm EDT
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By Agnieszka Flak

MILAN (Reuters) - First lady Michelle Obama chopped parsley and pine nuts for a salad with 20 school children in Milan on Wednesday to spread her message: Make more home-cooked meals, and you will be healthier.

Flanked by American celebrity chefs John Besh and Mario Batali, Obama showed students from the American School of Milan how to cook, as part of her "Let's Move" initiative aimed at boosting nutrition and combating obesity among children.

Obama is due to visit Milan's nutrition-themed Expo 2015 world's fair on Thursday, with an entourage including former basketball star Alonzo Mourning and cutting-edge urban farmer Will Allen.

She said obesity has doubled globally since 1980.

"If you cook, you take a lot of control over what you eat, you can control the portions ... and it's a lot of fun," Obama told the group of 11- to 14-year-olds sporting white aprons they made especially for the visit.

Obama recalled how in her pre-White House days she rushed her daughters Sasha and Malia between activities, with no time to eat properly. Eventually, a pediatrician told her to slow down.

"So I cooked more," she said. "A lot of times, it was something simple ... but it was healthy ... and now our kids have no health issues at all."

Living at the White House, Obama never cooks, but she urged families to spend time together at the dinner table, saying her husband, President Barack Obama, stops at 6:30 p.m. every day to sit down with his family.   Continued...

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama cooks with some American kids at James Beard American Restaurant in Milan,Italy, as part of her European trip June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini