June 10th, 2010
01:24 PM ET

Rachael Ray: Time to help kids to eat healthier

By Katherine Dorsett

Daytime television host and author Rachael Ray joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers Thursday to unveil new child nutrition legislation in Washington.

Among other things, the proposed $8 billion bill would improve access and funding to school meal programs, improve access to out-of-school meal programs, help schools and child care improve the quality of meals and encourage public and private partnerships to improve child nutrition and wellness.

Ray said the "Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act of 2010" will dramatically improve the quality of food children eat both in and out of school and in child care settings.

"I consider this a big opportunity to have a voice in this legislation," said Ray.

Rep. George Miller said at a media briefing Thursday that in 2008 more than 16 million children lived in homes without access to enough nutritious foods.

"America's children should not have to go hungry and they should have access to healthy foods year round, even when school children are on summer break," said Miller.

This legislation, according to Miller, will answer President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative to support efforts to improve school wellness and support public and private partnerships to improve child nutrition.

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soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Veganman

    Vegan kids are HEALTHY kids.

    June 10, 2010 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Scott Keatley

    It is not enough that the children are given good food, they need to be educated about food AS WELL as their parents/guardians.

    There is little point to spending time and money on children just to have them go home and undo any good that has been done.

    It's harder but worth it. An organization in NY is doing this. The Nourishing Kitchen of NYC helps to stop childhood obesity by engaging both the students and the parents.

    Their junior chef program is at http://EatWellNYC.org

    June 10, 2010 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Howard K

    What a joke. Look at her. She is big as a whale. Her cooking shows are not diet friendly either. Practice what you preach lady

    June 10, 2010 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. dwighthuth

    The first step in making kids healthier is to stop using fatty oils to fry your meats in. Instead try using Evoo from Rachel Ray. I have been using Evoo Virgin Olive Oil for about six months now and the change is remarkable. The fast food industry should also look at using Olive Oil to deep fry it's fries, nuggets and other fireables. The taste is the same except for not having the fired skin that is where the fat is cooked to a golden crisp and then eaten.

    June 10, 2010 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nadine

      Please read up on which oils are best used if you must fry. Olive oil is one that you should not fry with. When the temperature reaches a certain point the oil becomes dangerous for your body.

      August 30, 2010 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
  5. Concerned teacher and parent

    I am glad that Americans are finally realizing the nasty mess that we call food. If you look at the nutrients in McDonalds chicken nugget in the United Kingdom (http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/food/nutrition/nutrition-counter.mcd) compared to the McNuggets found in the USA (http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/nutritionexchange/nutritionfacts.pdf), you will see a 60 calorie increase in just 4 McNuggets and 1.5 grams of fat difference in just 4 McNuggets.
    The McNuggets in the UK are almost all natural including celery and ground pepper (http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/food/nutrition/our-ingredients.mcd?dnPos=0&dnPos=-181) whereas the McNuggets in the USA have a defoaming agent, (Dimethylpolysiloxane) ewww and TBHQ a preservative known to cause seizures, ringing in ears and exacerbate ADHD (http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/nutritionexchange/ingredientslist.pdf)

    Why are our children made to eat this garbage when children in other countries are eating healthy at Mcdonalds????? Do our kids not matter????

    June 10, 2010 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Truth

    Is she going to give all that money she made from DUNKIN DONUTS commercials? What a hypocrite!

    June 10, 2010 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. AnProf

    Our high school greenhouse and classes have been growing lettuces and vegs for the cafeteria salad bar. Very effective and low cost way to improve school nutritional choices.
    Given all the students who need to put in "volunteer hours" for school clubs and college applications, it seems like a community-school garden would be an awesome idea.
    As long as carrots/brocolli/etc. have a side of low-fat dressing (or my kids' favorite–peanut butter) they will usually enjoy vegs. Of course, parents have to role model and not have other poor choices lying around the house.
    School projects involving nutrition, class "cookbook" collections of healthy meals, etc. help keep the focus on making good choices.
    That said, I'm not sure that taxpayers need to be footing $8 BILLION dollars for this. Some lobbyists have been busy, me thinketh.

    June 10, 2010 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Dillio

    Will Dunkin Donuts be included in the menu. Sorry Rachael Ray, you sold your soul to the devil.

    June 10, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. foodie

    Rachel needs to practice what she preaches in her cooking shows on Food Network. Typically a lot of fat and sugar in her recipes.

    June 10, 2010 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. BruceMpls

    She might try to start at home in terms of eating healthy. If you have seen her show on the Food Network, I am sure you can gain 10 pounds just watching the show. She often kids about having to do extra push-ups, etc. but in reality the food she normally prepares on the show is very NON-health conscious. Her serving sizes are gigantic as well as high in fat content. I will say the food does look, as she would say, "delish" but it's not the poster-child for a nutritional meal.

    June 10, 2010 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jersey

    Yes!!! My family has been trying to improve the way we eat for a while now. It's a shame I can't let them buy school lunches because the most common choices are chicken nuggets or hamburgers, neither of which my kids will eat because they've seen how chicken nuggets and frozen patties are made. Our society makes unhealthy, artificialy flavored crap cheap and easy to access, even selling Kit Kts and Snickers at the schools. We may as well be telling our kids it's okay to eat badly, because it's cheap and everywhere and we all do it. If school is where we teach our children, then it's an excellent place to teach them about eating habits too. It should be a place that we can trust, right down to the meal they will feed your child while they are there. Let's revamp our national menus!!!

    June 10, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Kate

    How is vegan healthy? What about protein? Calcium?

    June 10, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. AGuest9

    I'm glad there are concerned teachers here. Ever eat in your school's cafeteria?

    June 10, 2010 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Christine

    Giving kids healthy foods is great. Maybe not allowing people who receive food stamps to buy potato chips, deli-made foods, candy, or soda. The majority of the poorest children in our country receive food stamps, make sure they are getting the right kinds of food by making sure their parents can't buy the bad stuff for them to eat. No more sugar-filled cereal. A local school here in Syracuse, NY, had a program where the children were introduced to fruits and vegetables through the school. My daughter was there the first year, she now loves asparagus thanks to this program. However, now the school isn't "poor" enough and the program was taken away. Something is wrong with the way administrators are looking at how to feed children.

    June 10, 2010 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jeffrey

    Rachel Ray is trying to ride on Jamie Oliver coattails...typical. http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution

    June 10, 2010 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Frank Snodgrass

    "Truth" says, "Is she going to give all that money she made from DUNKIN DONUTS commercials? What a hypocrite!"

    How can you possibly accuse this woman of being a hypocrite without having a clue as to what she may or may not do with her money, time, or other assets? What has she done to deserve such a nasty label? And what gives you the right to decide how somebody else should distribute their money? What have YOU done to support child nutrition lately?

    June 10, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. sunlover

    Amen, Howard K. She cooks and sells the recipes that have NO portion, fat and carb control.

    She is a HUGE hypocrite. (pun intended)

    June 10, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Summer

    What the heck is wrong with you people? She is an average sized healthy woman! And yes you can eat at Dunkin Donuts, you just can't eat a whole dozen at a time.
    When you have an attitude like eating a donut will make you fat then you are not teaching your children good habits you are just saying you can't have it. If you say well we can have a donut this afternoon but then we have to eat a healthy dinner then, you are teaching them.
    PARENTS need to start teaching there children, is it easier to go through a drive through yes, but cooking a good healthy meal is not that hard! Come on people!

    June 10, 2010 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Vegan kids????

    I've seen plenty of vegan overweight kids too, its called MODERATION no matter what kinda food it is

    June 10, 2010 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Keith D

    I'm confused... this is the same Rachel Ray that cashed many a paycheck when she was endorsing Dunkin' Donuts, right?

    June 10, 2010 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Pat

    Maybe she is learning as she goes too. We all have. I know I eat much healthier now then I did 10 years ago.

    Let's give her the benefit of the doubt. I am happy to see another person pushing healthy food. I heard her say on TV this morning that we will either pay now (for healthy food in the schools) or we will pay later (for health care costs). I really have not heard anyone stating the situation that directly. That's the message that has to get across. We are all in this together one way or another.

    June 10, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. amwhoiam

    Way to be in the cutting edge, Rachel. This movement has only been going on for years...Are you just now figuring it out??

    June 10, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. concerned in FL

    It's a good idea but the solution really needs to start with parents and healthy eating at home. The federal government already messed up nutrition guidelines as seen on Food Revolution (http://abc.go.com/shows/jamie-olivers-food-revolution), USDA guidelines required children to be fed 2 breads at each meal and the school was serving pizza for breakfast.
    Education about making healthy food choices, including eating certain foods in moderation and encouraging exercise should be the real goal.
    Also, where is the text of this bill?

    June 10, 2010 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Kathi Murphy

    The kids can be taught to eat healthy, the schools are trying to do their part but it must start at home. How about these parents forget McDs, Wendys, KFC and the host of fast food establishments and COOK! Yes, everyone has a busy schedule with work, school, dance lessons, sports, etc... It certianly wouldn't hurt to prepare ahead of time and prep for healthy meals. Too often today kids are given the fast food meal or a "to go" breakfast and neither is healthy. Prep ahead, try to make it a family affair, you'll be surprised how creative you can be and in the process provide several lessons. Make the fast food a treat or reward not an assumed staple.
    Parents have to remember, THEY control the shopping, the menu, and the rewards. It might not be so bad to go back to the days of "you'll eat what's on your plate", kids don't get the vote to determine what you choose as healthy for them. Look around at the childhood obesity rate & tell me we should keep giving into their demands of what they want for meals. The parents need to stop being lazy & take the control, for their health & the health of their children. It shouldn't come down to lawmaking when all that is needed is COMMON SENSE!

    June 10, 2010 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Pat

    For every overweight child there is usually an overweight parent (and in most cases both parents are) so until you can get parents to realize that being overweight is unhealthy and they are doing harm to their children it really doesn't make a difference how many programs are geared to teaching young children about nutrition. If mommy and daddy don't care about their children's health to begin with why will they care about what their children learn regarding nutritious eating.
    Sadly what they are fed for dinner has a big impact on their weight. And in some households there are always those late night snacks before bed tim

    June 10, 2010 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Dora Rivas

    School nutrition professionals nationwide commend Rachael Ray’s advocacy in support of school meals. Schools are working hard to offer students well-balanced, healthy meals, including a wider variety of fresh produce, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. School nutrition programs are making these improvements despite limited budgets, antiquated equipment, complicated regulations and federal reimbursements that don’t cover the cost of preparing school meals. The national average cost to serve a school lunch is $2.92, but the federal reimbursement rate for each free lunch served is only $2.68. Congress must pass a Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill this year to provide school nutrition programs with additional resources!

    Dora Rivas, RD, SNS – School Nutrition Association President

    June 10, 2010 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. digger

    Kids should only be given healthy food.

    When they get hungry, they'll eat.

    June 10, 2010 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. digger

    Unheakthy food should just be banned by the govt. I'm tired of subsdizing the treatment of the nutritionally challenged. I'll subsdize their healthy eating, but not the crap medicine they take because they eat garbage.

    June 10, 2010 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Brandi

    Howard K – she is not big as a whale, not even close. She is probably 5'2" to 5'4" and between 140-150 lbs, which is average and way smaller than a lot of women her age. But you're right, her recipes are not always healthy.
    dwighthuth – you can't deep fry food in EVOO. That type of oil doesn't reach the high temps required for frying.
    Truth – Research shows that a jelly donut from Dunkin' Donuts has fewer calories than a bagel with cream cheese.

    June 10, 2010 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. PiercedPsycho

    Rachel Ray, promoting healthy eating? Now that's rich! Drop your Dunkin' Donuts sponsorship honey, and then maybe I'll listen to you when it comes to eating right.

    Here's another idea-start making heart healthy and diabetic-safe meals on your show.

    June 10, 2010 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. House Education and Labor Committee

    Photos and Videos of Rachael Ray's visit to Capitol Hill can be found here – http://go.usa.gov/3yk

    June 10, 2010 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Fatboy

    The crap that she cooks... disgusting even to watch. Looks like she is a changed human being.....(i hope). but hang on she likes attention.. maybe she is doing this to get some press and Dr. Gupta is a decent chap. He will do anything to promote health. Even get Ray as an advocate for clean cooking....

    June 10, 2010 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Andrew

    This is not the time for this! I still believe that our economy and jobs is a much higher priority than this.

    8 billion... and I'm still needing a job and money to just live.

    June 10, 2010 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Liqmaticus

    If Rachael Ray was thin and healthy maybe people would take her seriously. I hate to be rude, but I really find it hysterical when overweight people try to preach health. Please spare us all.

    June 10, 2010 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Stephen Warshaw

    The same "voice" for/behind this legislation is a spokesperson for Dunkin Donuts. I love her show but . . . honestly . . . how much credibility does she have here?

    June 10, 2010 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Bobby

    Truth, you have a point. I am a fan of Rachel Ray. Her cooking style is similar to my own and I like that her meals are family friendly. But the Dunkin Donuts thing is pretty out of line with her campaign to get people to eat healthier.

    Howard K, you need to chill. RR looks like someone who probably has to watch what she eats to have the body she has. She looks perfectly healthy to me. My family eats the kind of food she cooks on her shows and we're all very thin. She doesn't look like someone who doesn't eat right to me.

    June 10, 2010 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Justin

    Rachael Ray is not the person who should be leading this campaign. Look at how fat she's gotten over the years from when she was first doing her cooking shows until now.

    June 10, 2010 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. R Reid

    Rachael Ray is not "big as a whale"...she is just not petite. KUDOS for her and her efforts. My 6-year old's school had food on the menu that makes me cringe everytime I see the menu. 99% of it is breaded, fried and full of fat and BAD carbs. We live in the heart of the midwest, so I don't understand why they are not eating healthier. I'm looking for a way to get involved where ever I can. McDonalds is a huge treat at my home, not a way of life.

    June 10, 2010 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Don

    dwighthuth – you can't deep fry food using extra virgin olive oil. The smoking point is too low and if you pass it, the oil turns into a carcinogen. If you want to get cancer, then yes, go ahead in use evoo. If not, start frying with canola oil before you kill yourself and everyone you're feeding. You can lightly saute with evoo.....NOT FRY.

    June 10, 2010 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. VeganGal

    As Veganman said, vegan kids are healthy kids. Stop eating meat, dairy, eggs and any other food that contains animal products, and you will be healthy.

    June 10, 2010 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. bret

    Vegan kids are not healthy kids. Vegan is about the worst thing a human being can do in terms of nutrition.

    Eat a paleolithic diet. LOTS of lean meat, LOTS of vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch.

    NO grains, dairy, legumes (beans, peas, peanuts), sugar.

    June 10, 2010 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. tffl

    veganman – vegan kids _can be_ healthy kids, they aren't automatically. You can certainly eat eat unhealthy vegan foods, or eat them unhealthily.

    dwighthuth – olive oil is just as "fatty" as any other oil (same number of calories), it just is a relatively healthy one because it is higher in mono-unsaturated fats than most. However, "EVOO" (which is just a Ray-labeled brand of extra virgin olive oil) is _not_ a good thing to deep fry in (nor is any extra virgin olive oil) – it breaks down at frying temps. Non-virgin olive oil is usable, but unless you are very careful about your temperatures (and coatings), deep frying in general is bad health-wise. Better is sauteing (which can be done with virgin olive oil), stir frying (which can't), or non-fat based cooking techniques...

    June 10, 2010 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Anna

    Vegan kids are healthy kids!? Really? Interestingly enough, science says that vegan people are not eating a healthy diet, especially for growing children. Eliminating protein and dairy from a child's diet would deprive them of valuable vitamins and minerals. Not to mention, what kid wants to eat a freakin' tofu sandwich? I hope you don't have kids.

    Kids should be offered healthy lunches but definitely not vegan.

    June 10, 2010 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Van

    The minute you give government the right to legislate, they will keep taking and taking and taking until they eventually govern how much toilet paper you can use to every trip to the loo.

    I am 25 and I have never had a weight problem, neither have any of my friends – school lunches in elementary were composed of pizza, hot dogs, burgers, soup and chicken nuggets and ice cream – I loved it. To get rid of all that disgusting (yet yummy) junk food we were forced to go out and play!!!!! I am amazed at how many parents keep kids inside for fear they will go missing or kidnapped – the media does a damn good job making everyone paranoid about such issues.

    My mother had the guts to say NO to me when I wanted cookies before supper, she didn't depend on Political Correctness BS (i.e Cookie Monster becoming Veggie Monster) to influence my choices, and she forced me to go outside and ride my bike or go to the park no matter how much I complained that i wanted to play Nintendo.

    Here in Canada we are taught the food groups and it is the most boring thing to learn in school, but we know it, and I refuse to believe that all parents are clueless about this (of course we never hear about the good parents who I believe are much more common then the cynics will have us believe). However the fact that a bottle of coke and Chef Boyardee cost less than milk and carrots does not help low income families to eat healthier.

    There is nothing wrong with moderation, I think my childhood was better because of the fact that I was allowed to indulge in junk food once in a while. Most politicians are extremists and junk food will become a thing of the past entirely. The more you try to BAN junk food the more people will be attracted to it – cookies will sneak up in school lunches no matter what. You can't force 100% of the population to eat healthy no matter what. People are (still) free to make their own choices (good or bad) and when people need help most know where to get it. Those who don't care won't go looking for way to eat healthy and programs won't help them. I don't think it's a good plan

    June 10, 2010 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Tiffany

    Great idea but wrong person I think. If you watch her show she's always saying "great recipe for kids" but she clearly doesn't have children or spend any time around them because half the time she's recommending some type of salad. Not many kids eating that.

    June 10, 2010 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. EB

    Are you kidding, Howard? She looks like she's a healthy weight - not overweight. Though now "normal," statistically speaking, is to be overweight or obese in the U.S. I don't care if you don't like her - I don't watch her show - but no need to be mean and call her fat when she's not.

    June 10, 2010 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. eyeroller

    And I'm sure you are in tip top shape Howard K. jesus...

    June 10, 2010 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Boblight

    Amen! More fruits, veggies, whole grains.. Drink plenty of water, green tea.. More education.. Hang up a picture of an obese person on the Fridge.. Use less sugar, butter and salt.. Have Veggies on your pizza instead of sausage.. Stop using food as an emotional crutch.. Save up money by not buying snacks ( or less), put money in a jar for a vacation, or to give to fight world hunger.. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Ride your bike, walk to school! Start a personal fitness program if you don't like team sports. Pump it UP!! Go Green, Lean and Mean! Beer = beer bellies! Fight the Power! Say no to television! Yoga, Tai-Chi-Karate_Pliates- swimming gardening .. Go outside for some vitamin D

    June 10, 2010 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Jim

    It's good to see this. Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution tried to start something, but I understand that ABC stations in some markets, especially in the South, opted not to air those episodes.

    Howard K: Did the thought ever occur to you that someone can be overweight and still eat healthier foods? No, I suppose it didn't.

    June 10, 2010 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Gopal

    It is great to see some care being given at the Federal level to the growing obesity and poor health problems; little has been done to educate people how to eat well on restricted budgets. Under the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Roseville, CA, we have developed an innovative program, EatingRightWhenBudget’sTight, which consists of healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes where the cost of the daily menu per person hovers around $6. When this shopping and cooking program is followed diligently, it will go a long way in helping to reduce the obesity problem and related chronic diseases. The recipes for the program are available free of cost at http://www.familygreensurvival.com.

    June 10, 2010 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.