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First lady lauds Goya 'MiPlato' initiative

Jan. 26, 2012 at 2:20 PM   |   Comments

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TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 26 (UPI) -- First lady Michelle Obama Thursday took her Let's Move fitness campaign to Florida, hailing an effort by Goya Foods to make Hispanic dishes healthier.

Goya, the largest Hispanic-owned U.S. food company, unveiled "MiPlato," a food group symbol to remind people about healthy food choices and proper proportions.

"Some of my best childhood memories involve food," Obama said. "Family and friends gathering together for hours in the kitchen -- that was the living room, the kitchen; you didn't sit in the living room, you sat in the kitchen -- cooking our favorite dishes, making sure that everyone ate until they were full -- beyond full, right? Sitting for hours, talking, laughing, sharing stories.

"Actually, a big meal was one of the best ways we had to show the people in our lives how much we cared. That's all we had. And what I've come to appreciate is that whether you're African-American, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban -- food is love. Food is love."

Goya is distributing booklets, posters and other materials to promote healthier eating in the Hispanic community.

"For Goya, MiPlato is an ideal reflection of our product line; quality, flavor, healthy and nutritious; while offering guidance to the public to easily identify the basic food groups of vegetables, grains, fruits, proteins, and dairy," Bob Unanue, president of Goya Food, said at the National Supermarket event in Tampa.

"While we should be very proud of everything we've accomplished so far, today is neither a beginning, nor an end to this story," Obama said. "We still have a long way to go and we're going to need everyone's help. We're going to need everyone in all of our communities paying attention to these issues, taking this information in, going into the Web sites, getting informed -- making that effort to spend some time playing with your kids, dancing with your kids, walking with your kids, because we are their best role models in the very end."

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