The Presidential Sunday Menu: the Superbowl of fat and salt

Tomorrow, Michelle Obama begins a three-day publicity blitz which will include appearances on the Today Show, Live With Regis and Kelly, then traveling to Atlanta to speak about gardening and healthy eating. She will unveil a new public service ad created by the Ad Council. And she will host, along with the surgeon general and various cabinet secretaries, a series of conference calls with members of the medical community, school administrators and healthy school advocates, physical activity advocates, mayors, and other community leaders.


The First Lady has accomplished a lot in the last year since declaring war on obesity.

Michelle: hey there, don't forget those fruits and veggies

She began by installing a vegetable garden in the White House, a great example followed by Americans coast to coast including me.

Then she convinced Wal-Mart to lower prices on fruits and veggies and cut fat, sugar and salt their foods.

For the past few months, according to the New York Times, her soldiers in the war on fat have been holding private talks with the National Restaurant Association to get restaurants to offer smaller portions, plus children’s meals with carrots, apples and milk instead of french fries and soda.

Over the past year, she has pressed for “front of package” labels to warn consumer of high salt, sugar and fat content. She’s asked beverage companies to redesign their soda cans to include calorie counts. She’s pushed Congress to require schools to provide healthier lunch menus (a long way from the Reagan era when the debate was whether or not ketchup was a vegetable.) And her suggestion that restaurants be required to print nutrition information on menus quietly became part of the President’s landmark health care law.

So what’s up with that Superbowl Sunday menu the First Lady offered her guests? It was a buffet selection missing only the engraved invitation to the nearest coronary care unit: bratwurst, kielbasa, cheeseburgers, deep-dish pizza and Buffalo wings with sides of German potato salad, twice-baked potatoes, assorted chips and dips and ice cream. I’m getting chest pains just reading it.

White House superbowl guests had their choice of Wisconsin or Pennsylvania beer and lagers or the White House ale made from honey

Is than an example to set for the 144 million American adults (20 and older) who are overweight and obese. That’s 32.9% of us. Or for the 24 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes (and the other seven million who don’t yet know they have it.) Do you have any of these worrisome statistics in your new ad campaign?

  • 23.5 million children 2 to 19 years of age, 31.9% are overweight and obese.
  • 12 million children, 16.3%, are obese, with Mexican-American boys and girls and African-American girls disproportionately affected. Over the last 3 decades, the prevalence of obesity in children 6 to 11 years of age has increased from approximately 4% to more than 17%.
  • 75.5 million of us, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2006, that’s, 33.6% of US adults ≥20 years of age , have hypertension (high blood pressure) with African-American adults (43% rate) among the highest in the world.
  • 35.7 million adults ≥20 years of age have total serum cholesterol levels that put them at risk.


If you like the White House superbowl selections, get out the stents. One average size kielbasa has around 700 calories, 59 grams of fat. 3 grams of sodium, 110% of the suggested salt intake for the whole day!

An average bratwurst is a bit better, with about 227 calories, 19 grams of fat. and just under 500 mg of sodium.

Buffalo wings? Yikes. The nutritional content will vary with size and type of sauce. A regular wing has between 40 and 90 calories. More breading? A touch of butter in the recipe? Blue cheese dressing can add up to an additional 1000 calories. According to, five homemade wings can have 51 grams of fat, 18 of them saturated.

Twice baked potatoes? 422 calories with 29.5 grams of fat per serving.

Deep dish pizza recipes: nutritional values, and I use the term loosely, will vary. But I thought for the superbowl, with all the nods to local Wisconsin and Pennsylvania beers and recipes, that perhaps the First Family might be partial to Classic Chicago Deep Dish. Thanks to consumer advocates like the First Lady, Uno has put the nutritional content online. With 770 calories and 55 grams of fat, the information is not pretty.

So, in the course of the pre-game, the game, and half-time entertainment, if you just nibbled on some buffalo wings, ate one average kielbasa, and had one slice of pizza with the President, and let’s say you skipped the chips and dips and ice cream, you still could have easily consumed 165 grams of fat and gone home hungry.

It would take J. Lo, a presidential guest Sunday with her husband Marc Anthony, about 8 hours of dancing to burn those extra 1800 fat-ladened calories.

Yikes, I really hope the after dinner drink was a tumbler laced with Lipitor.