The Inauguration Luncheon, Slimmed Down

By , SparkPeople Blogger
While most of us watched the Inauguration while munching on brown bag lunches or last night's leftovers, the new president and other dignitaries enjoyed a much more lavish feast yesterday.

After the oath, the speech and the parade, all the bigwigs at the Inauguration headed to a fancy multicourse luncheon. While the Obamas are reputed to be fairly healthful eaters, yesterday's meal was certainly a special-occasion meal.

According to the New York Examiner, "The nutritional toll per person for the three-course meal: 3,048 calories and 142 grams of fat – not including the wine and champagne that will accompany each course."

We took a look at the recipes from the luncheon and tried to find some approximate yet healthier versions. See what you think!

Their meal:

First course
Seafood Stew
631 calories; 32 g fat

Second course
Duck Breast with Cherry Chutney
Herb Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing
Molasses Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Winter Vegetables
1,534 calories; 77 g fat

Third course
Cinnamon Apple Sponge Cake
883 calories; 33 g fat

Our meal:

First course
Their Seafood Stew is topped with puff pastry (butter, white flour and not much else) and thickened by heavy cream. Opt for a tomato-based dish, swap half-and-half for the cream and leave off the puff pastry to slim down your version. You can also try one of these recipes for Seafood Stew
All of these recipes contain fewer than 300 calories/serving!

Second course
Duck and pheasant are rich, fatty meats. Try one of these duck recipes, with fewer than 200 calories a serving, or substitute a leaner bird, such as chicken or turkey.

For an easy version of the main dish, try topping grilled chicken with store-bought chutney.

Serve it with wild rice stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes (fewer than 100 calories a serving) and roasted winter vegetables.

Third course
Cinnamon-apple desserts for fewer than 100 calories a serving

What health and nutrition policy suggestions do you have for the new president?

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Obama a healthy role model?!?!?, he's still a chain smoker -- sorry, in my book that's not a "healthy" role model. Report
Now I don't know what the portions looked like, but if I was served that, I wouldn't be able to eat half of it. Report
I read somewhere that he pick the 3 course meal of President Lincoln's favorites instead of the normal 5-7 courses. Report
Personally I see no problem with his meal. It was a huge day! I would not be surprised if many people eat that many calories on Thanksgiving or Christmas each year, and probably largely due to sweets and empty calories whereas this meal sounds like it is very nutrient dense. Anyway, health and nutrition policies was the question... I think Obama already has great health policy ideas, but I do have some nutrition suggestions. #1) Healthier foods in schools. At my high school, they called burgers, pizza, and cheese stuffed bread sticks that literally soaked through their bag with grease (and still squirted more grease with each bite) a balanced meal. Oh, and don't forget to grab a coke or Mt. Dew to wash that down. #2) Similarly, I think that pop machines should be removed from schools. #3) I think that all restaurants (fast food or sit down) should have nutrition information available so that people can make educated food choices if they so desire. #4) Hospitals- same as schools. Every one that I have been to or worked at has had terrible food choices. If patients and visitors are surrounded by so many terrible food options at a place that is supposed to be healing them, how should they know they can't eat that way when they leave if they want to stay healthy? I could keep going, but these are my main issues! Report
Sounds a great meal, but how can people eat that much? Fat as I was, I couldn never have eaten so much food Report
That menu doesn't set the right tone for health and wellness. Report
Yeah, a lot of calories, but no more than the average Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Report
So many wonderful insights on the menu of the day. The entire menu looked good to me. Well maybe the fish stew is questionable, I've never had it. I love duck and pheasant or any wild game for that matter. Dr told me once venison, is the best thing to have it's low fat. But once a in a while having a menu like this is ok. Just prep yourself the week before and enjoy. You can get back on track the next day. :) Report
Is this where the $153 million went? Report
The seafood stew? 660 calories is an awful lot. Not even Ivar's clam chowder is that much!

Duck? VERY rich. I tried it once in pho. A little goes a LONG way. The veggies and the sweet potatoes look interesting, though. Needs to be less meat and more greens.

And as for nutrition and health in an Obama administration? Fat is too often a poverty issue! Grocery stores and farmer's markets congregate in the affluent areas. Folks working for Wal-Mart wages end up grabbing top ramen or mac and cheese because they are cheap and quick. Beans and rice may be cheap, but they aren't very tasty on their own, nor are they fast-cooking. Fresh produce and healthier options like brown rice can be prohibitively expensive.

Add to this streets that you can't safely walk (crime, no sidewalk, or both) and parks that are not safe to exercise in, with crumbling community centers, and the problem gets worse. Report
Well that proves it! I'm definitely not classy enough to attend any president luncheon! I would've prefered pizza. :) Report
Interesting coverage of these events--and right on topic for SparkPeople. Report
I'm actually tempted to put the recipes through a calculator to see if those add up right --- if it does thats pretty scary -- 600+ calories in a 3.5 inch ramikin? I think that is a 200ml ramikin~ lol that is some kind of condensed calories ---- but fat is quite dense. Still, scary. Though frankly, had it been me, i would have eaten every bit lol That is a major celebration, 10% rule and that would fall almost in it :D maybe next week there would be no 10% leeway lol Sounds good to me!! They are fairly healthy eaters anyway! And I thought he quit smoking? Report
Hey--c'mon, it was a ONCE IN A LIFETIME PARTY!

I'd have tucked in and enjoyed. Report
My goodness! That's a whole lot of calories. I'm sure that very few consumed all of what was on thier plates though. Report
It all sounds good but that was way to may calories. Report
The President is very health conscience. The man can bench press 200lbs. This was a very special day. He probably did not get to eat all of his food because he was greeting people. I saw the picture of him without a shirt. At 47 he looks great Report
Wow that's alot of calories! Report
I would imagine with everything he had to do that day President Obama burned off an easy 3000 calories. (and just for the record I'm a staunch republican- not defending Pres. Obama b/c I voted for him) Just the excitement and adrenaline rush and motoring between 10 balls that evening. He worked out in the am. so he was burning calories more efficiently anyway. (now how many of us find excuses each day to not exercise- you'd think officially becoming President would be THE excuse) Although the senators and such at the event- I'm sure many of them did not go home and work it off. Not sure that condemning ppl for having a 'cheat day' on such a big occasion in our country is necessary blog info. How about what food high profile ppl serve at their weddings? I never hear anyone jumping all over them and giving us ideas on here for how to make a great wedding reception without blowing our calories. that might be more meaningful to the ppl who use this site. Report
Personally, I think the national obsession with everything Obama is far less healthy than that meal. The only suggestion I would have for him is to quit smoking. I did it after smoking for 32 years, so I'm sure someone with his discipline should be able to do it as well. Report
I would have loved one bite of everything just to try it. Alternative menu probably appeals more to me, but then I'm not a gourmet type person.
I am surprised that pheasant is high in calories because I always thought it was like chicken. Haven't eaten it in years because pheasants became scarce in our area and I wouldn't think of buying it. Report
I heard from one of the news commentators that the President had worked out in the early Am before that long, physically grueling and wonderful day. I also saw him hydrating with water throughout the day. He is a REAL role model . . . Report
I hope that ate it all and it didn't go to waste. Report
Basically, good ol' fashioned flavors & food from this land that used to be hunted or fished for or farm-raised...Seafood, Duck, Cherry, Herb, Pheasant, Wild Rice, Molasses, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Vegetables, Cinnamon Apple...NO WONDER that Americans survived on this beautiful land since Lincoln's time! I hope that the President & Mrs. Obama ENJOYED these wonderful tastes!! Report
After being criticized for the arugula comment and constantly being advised by pundits that he should eat a burger or two, I'm not about to tell them what to eat. From what I've seen, they eat well enough. Also, this was a huge day (an understatement) and everyone in attendance should not be worrying about nutrition unless you are on doctors orders (high blood pressure, heart problems, etc.). I'm like this with Christmas and Thanksgiving - it's one day and I'm gonna eat whatever I want. Report
Wow to the amount of calories.But hey once in a blue moon you have to indulge. Report
If eating a high calorie meal is the worst thing he has to worry about..with his physique, he'll be alright! The way he looks, you know most of the time he eats healthy and takes care of his body. Let him indulge. Report
I'm with SpinnyBoo. It's a once--maybe twice--in a lifetime meal. :) Report
What health and nutrition policy suggestions do you have for the new president?

None! Show me where the Constitution grants the President (or any other branch of government) any say in MY health and nutrition. Report
I think that a meal with that many calories is meant to be savoured ... I mean HECK ... how often do you get an excuse to have a meal like that???? Once, maybe twice in your life (if you're lucky!)
The meal was based on a menu that Abraham Lincoln would have eaten ... you know the man WHO MADE BLACK PEOPLE FREE ... eat up and enjoy!
....especially the duck! Report
Oh, forgot to add - the question was- what suggestions do you have for the new President re fitness and nutriion policies?

A gym in every company. :)
Discounts for people who are trying to and living a healthy life style.
Make all foods affordable- meaning "good healthy food" - I have to say, eating healthy IS more expensive than eating badly. Even though many say otherwise.

OH, and this has nothing to do with policy but maybe it does. I'm so sick of people picking on other people who have weight problems. It's not funny and its rude. I find that happening more and more, (not to me) but in the media, and online. It's really sad. Report
Well, it was one meal..........I wasn't there so I don't care about the calories. LOL
I would have had the phesant and veggies. I mean, if you really wanted to keep with the whole theme, not only was the meal caloric, but it was expensive!
Um, ..........I don't expect them to eat rice and beans, did seem excessive, given the times we live in. Just sayin''............................
............... Report
the menu doesnt surprise me. Yes- once in a while an indulge is fine. i wonder how much that menu cost us taxpayers?

AND that meal for me was over the top. Its a good reminder how those calories can sneak in and cause me to break out in fat. 130 plus grams of fat in one meal...thats just rediculous. I agree that it would be nice if planners considered calories & fat when planning menus. i just lead a luncheon for 45 women over the weekend. in planning the menu - health was a factor and the women appreciated the effort. Report
I thought it was a terrific meal for an historic occasion. Well in keeping with the theme of the day. I would have loved a taste of all of it. Report
i really doubt the plate had the duck and the pheasant. probably, diners were offered a choice. Report
I'd say ENJOY! Aud Report
The calorie count shocked me but I would have never come anywhere close to that, because most of the food I wouldn't have ate. Report
If this was like most formal dinners, the serving sizes were most likely fairly small. I wouldn't bet that anyone was served the full portion of each dish. And I'd also be willing to bet there were people attending who took a few bites of each dish and the rest ended up in the trash. Report
This meal would have been NO problem for me. Most of the things there, I wouldn't eat if I was starving to death. Yuck! Guess that's ok and nobody will be insulted, since I wasn't invited! Report
I thought this blog was very interesting. And this site is food and exercise related after all. I am going to see how to make some of this things lighter. Thanks for the info. Report
I would eat that kind of meal if I was being sworn in as President.

That aside, if Obama quit smoking he would be far healthier, even if he had that kind of lunch a couple of times a week.

Any health benefits he sees from a healthy diet is more than offset by all the carcinogens he sucks in. Report
Who cares what they ate for lunch! I mean really, everyone? Isn't there more important things to worry about than what they ate for lunch? Come on!!! Report
What health and nutrition policy suggestions do you have for the new president?

None, I don't believe it's the government's job to tell people what and how to eat.

BUT, I do believe that he is a very important role model and if he just uses his life as a personal example on what and how to eat and work out, it will have a positive impact. Using status/celebrity to set a good example is wonderful. Using status to bully others into doing what you do isn't. I'm sure he will set a good example. Report
how I wish I could have been there! Report
SBATES63: I agree. The American media just loves to gobble up irrelevant news. Report
I am guessing they were not eating the full servings if they are like most normal people. they are celebrating right now. Plus it was not for them alone others were involved in this meal.

To give thema dvice I'd say Water, water, water. Report
I don't understand why they would even serve a meal like that! Where did they go afterwords to take their naps? Report
Practicing this exercise is so important. The temptation is to think with each special event that comes along that it’s ok to indulge because it doesn’t come along every day. But really it’s hard to think of a month of the year that isn’t chock-full of ‘good reasons’ to indulge. Holidays, Birthdays, Game-nights, Weddings, Reunions, Picnics, Fairs & Festivals, Civic & Social functions, Family Night, Date Night. Is there a month or even week of the year where we won’t find a ready excuse to party if we want to?

On top of that there are all those other opportunities to indulge that come up, just about everyday it sometimes seems. I’m talking the sudden appearance of a New York Cheesecake in your life and the thought that, “I can’t even remember the last time I had a slice of that.” “I haven’t walked into this restaurant for 8 months… or 8 years.” “Ooo look… a Maple Cream Egg I haven’t had one of those since last Easter.” And on and On… It’s just too, too much…

It’s a big problem and you can quote me…

We can’t indulge occasionally if we indulge at every occasion.

It’s hard to give up all those wonderfully rich foods that are a part of our lives or forgo every opportunity we have to indulge. It’s a real challenge to find satisfying alternatives.

Keep these posts coming because I know I need all the help I can get.

Sampling historic gourmet fare would be fun, especially given the extraordinary day… But it might be nice too if event coordinators start considering calories when they put together their menus. More often than not at least...

Even for someone who’s not inundated with similar civic and social functions, as the Obamas will obviously be over the next four years, these kinds of meals come up often enough to be a potential problem for any of us. Instead of the usual choice between Steak or Fish, it would be nice to have an honestly healthy choice. Vegetarian isn’t necessarily a safe option either because chefs are notoriously skilled at loading calories into anything. Even the winter vegetables were probably swimming in butter.
Sounds like a fabulous gourmet meal for a once-in-a lifetime occasion! Report
If I were just sworn in as the next president, I would be celebrating with my favorite high calorie foods as well. I'm not sure why it's such a big deal. I highly doubt that he eats like this everday. Report
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