Michelle Obama Juice: A Dietitian Review
By Cara Axelrod Orlan, MS, RD, LD/N
Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States, is taking on a new role as co-founder of PLEZi Nutrition, a company that aims to offer tasty and healthy food and beverages for kids. The company recently announced its launch with a line of low-sugar, nutrient-dense kids' drinks made from a fruit-juice blend. In her remarks at the Wall Street Journal Future of Everything Festival, Obama emphasized her belief that it's possible to build a successful company that prioritizes the well-being of children.
Michelle Obama Launches PLEZi Nutrition:
As First Lady, Obama promoted healthy habits through her Let's Move campaign, which encouraged nutritious school meals and urged food companies and restaurant chains to commit to lower sugar, salt, and calorie options. She has continued her work in promoting healthy eating habits, with a focus on changing the food and beverage industry from within.
The launch of PLEZi Nutrition comes at a time when nearly half of young children in the United States do not eat fruits and vegetables daily, but most consume an excessive amount of sugary drinks. While pediatricians have long advised limiting sugar and sweetened juices, the majority of families do not follow this advice, and some products advertised as healthy may still contain lots of sugar or sweeteners.
To address this gap, there is an increasing focus on changing the food supply to offer healthier versions of the products consumers like. "A wave of investment is now directed toward more nourishing and authentic foods," says Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and Professor of Nutrition at Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
Michelle Obama Juice: PLEZi Nutrition is part of this wave of innovation, with its line of kids' drinks that have about 75% less sugar than top brands of fruit juice and no added sugar. The drinks contain fiber and nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and zinc, and come in flavors like Sour Apple, Blueberry Blast, and Orange Smash. They will be sold at retailers including Target and online at Walmart, with a four-pack of 8-ounce drinks priced just under $4.00.
While some skeptics may question the benefit of marketing kids' beverages, the company's approach is to meet parents where they are, recognizing that kids who are used to drinking soda or 100% fruit juice daily are not going to easily make the switch to water or milk. Dr. Shale Wong, a pediatrician at the University of Colorado School of Medicine who is on the PLEZi advisory committee, says, "While we know that water or milk is always the best option for kids, and we'll continue to recommend that first, kids who are used to drinking soda or 100% fruit juice daily are not going to easily make that switch."
PLEZi Nutrition is committed to operating with integrity, transparency, and accessibility, with a focus on great taste, innovation, and always putting children's well-being first. The company is incorporated as a Public Benefit Company that will invest 10% of profits back into initiatives that promote kids' health.
Michelle Obama's involvement in PLEZi Nutrition represents a significant step towards changing the food and beverage industry from within, rather than relying solely on external pressure. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Nuptial Nutrition, I applaud the focus on creating healthier options for children and families.
If you need support and guidance in your journey towards a healthier lifestyle, I'm here to help! As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I specialize in helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals in a sustainable and stress-free way. Contact me, Cara Axelrod Orlan, MS, RD, LD/N, at 954-850-2926.