Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

Barack Obama’s 3,000 Calorie Inaugural Lunch Menu

Monday’s inauguration of President Barack Obama will be filled with pomp, circumstance, and a jam-packed schedule of invite-only events where the president and Mrs. Obama are the guests of honor. And it all starts with the Inaugural Luncheon.

This year’s luncheon is a bit on the indulgent side, admittedly. We first checked out the menu with excitement, but as we read through the three courses our smiles quickly turned to frowns, not at the extravagance of the dishes but their sky-high calorie counts.

One full serving is more than 3,000 calories! Lobster in clam chowder sauce, grilled bison and a finish of rich apple pie with homemade ice cream take no time to zip past a single day’s calorie reserve.‘s Rachel Berman, RD, CSR, CDN – who compiled this year’s Inaugural Luncheon nutritional statistics – was a little shocked by the numbers, too, and felt that although it’s fine and even healthy to treat ourselves once in a while, the figures were a bit too to justify.

“It’s OK to indulge every once in awhile and if the Presidential Inauguration isn’t a special, celebratory occasion to do so, I don’t know what is,” she said. “However, in light of the first lady’s obesity initiatives and the fact that the menu was made public, it was definitely a missed opportunity for nutrition education, for example, to offer lightened-up recipe alternatives (even if just on the website).”

We couldn’t agree more. With all of the hard work Mrs. Obama has put behind championing healthier diets not only for kids but also adults, it was disappointing to see such heavy items on the menu, especially considering the event is so heavily reported on by the media and viewed by the American public.

See the three-course Inaugural Lunch menu and nutrition information for yourself, originally shared on the Senate’s official website.

First Course: Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder Sauce
Lobster Tails
New England Clam Chowder Sauce
Sauteed Spinach
Sweet Potato Hay

Per Serving: Calories 783, Fat 45.7g, Saturated Fat 16g, Cholesterol 247 mg, Sodium 1819 mg, Carbohydrates 55g, Dietary Fiber 7.5g, Sugar 14g, Protein 29g

Second Course: Hickory Grilled Bison with Red Potato Horseradish Cake and Wild Huckleberry Reduction
Butternut Squash Puree
Baby Golden Beets and Green Beans
Red Potato Horseradish Cake
Strawberry Preserve and Red Cabbage
Wild Huckleberry Reduction

Per Serving: Calories 1184, Fat 34.6g, Saturated Fat 16g, Cholesterol 177mg, Sodium 7445mg, Carbohydrates, 149g, Dietary Fiber 16.7, Sugar 97.2g, Protein 51g

Third Course: Hudson Valley Apple Pie with Sour Cream Ice Cream, Aged Cheese and Honey
Pie Dough
Cinnamon Crumble
Sour Cream Ice Cream
Maple Caramel Sauce
Artisan Cheeses

Per Serving: Calories 1060, Fat 64.4g, Saturated Fat 39g, Cholesterol 331mg, Sodium 488mg, Carbohydrates, 108.5g, Dietary Fiber 1.7g, Sugar 75g, Protein 14g

Total Nutritional Counts (not including wine pairing): Calories 3027, Fat 145 g, Saturated Fat 71g (49% of fat), Sodium 9752 mg, Total Carbs 312.5g, Sugar 186.2g (59% of carbs)

Wine Selections for each course:
Tierce Finger Lakes Dry Riesling 2010
Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuvée Champagne, California
Bedell Cellars Merlot 2009

If you’re planning to host an inaugural lunch or dinner of your own, you may want to substitute the riesling and merlot for more affordable options. Jamie Stratton, Kansas’ only Certified Wine Educator, of Jacob’s Liquor Exchange suggested replacing the Tierce Finger Lakes Riesling with Nine Hats Riesling 2011, which is a steal at $14.99. Stratton also suggested replacing the Bedell Cellars Merlot with Benziger Merlot 2010 for a more affordable price of just $17.99. The Korbel Natural is already a fairly reasonable selection at $19.99.

Tune in to check out all of the Inaugural events this Monday, January 21. The Constitution dictates that the formal swearing in take place at noon on January 20, which will be done in a private ceremony this Sunday. For the seventh time in US history, the official inauguration event will take place Monday, January 21.

We invite you to try a few more presidential recipes this Monday:

Red, White, and Blue Sangria

Obama’s Favorite Grilled Chicken Tacos

Barack Obama’s Chili

Red, White, and Blueberry Turkey Burgers

Molasses Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Herb Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing

image via

January 18th, 2013

> Leave Feedback

User Feedback

(Page 1 of 1, 12 total comments)


For those that use the reasoning "it's only once every four years", perhaps a similar menu, yes.
But considering "guests of honor" probably eat out a lot and go to a lot of important affairs, frequently, I doubt that extravagant meals are rare.
I believe that a wonderful meal could have been selected that wasn't quite so over-the-top.
Anyway, many Americans are eating meals, though not so extravagant, that are just as unhealthy.

posted Jun 17th, 2013 1:34 am


It's once every four years for heavens sake! Get over it!

posted Jan 25th, 2013 11:36 pm

Linda Burton

What's the big deal you people always make a mountain out of a small mole hill? Get over it!!! It is not like they eat like this daily. May God open your eyes to see the big picture; so you will stop finding something wrong with whatever the President and his family does.

posted Jan 23rd, 2013 3:09 pm


What a wonderful menu! Let them celebrate! Why does everything have to be a statement on childhood obesity?

posted Jan 22nd, 2013 4:12 pm


What a hypocritical woman that we have as first lady. She preaches anti-obesity on one side of her mouth and then on the other side she comes out with this gluttons delight menu for her husbands inauguration. Not to mention the cost to thetax payer for this presidetial feast. What an diot!!!!

posted Jan 22nd, 2013 12:29 am


Thats funny how the Obama's preach "Lets Move" and the importance of good nutrition then turn around and do this. Let me guess its school lunches fault.

posted Jan 21st, 2013 9:28 pm


As one who follows a very healthy diet nearly every day (including 30-40 minutes a day of hilly walking), I am sure I would enjoy every course if I was at this celebration (if not all of each course as American portions are about as out of control as our weight). It all sounds very yummy!

The number of calories in one celebration meal are immaterial in one's weight, as these occasions are very infrequent - in this case every 4 years.

So I find this 'review' sour grapes...better that Dana analyze for the fun of it and tell the readers that on this occasion, to just enjoy rather than take her preachy stance.

posted Jan 21st, 2013 7:35 pm


Michelle allowed this after all of her nutritional debuts!!!! One more folly on on the books. Gets more amusing everyday.

posted Jan 21st, 2013 5:58 pm


There are no portion sizes published here. MANY of these offerings may only be a few bites. I had a very elaborate dinner last night and the main course cod was about an ounce. We know portion size is key and should have been considered here. I am a dieitian and find these calories to be based on traditional serving sizes. There is no way a 1000 calorie dessert is being served.

posted Jan 21st, 2013 5:48 pm


Too much food for anyone, diabetic or not, obese or not. Two full meals and a heavy dessert in one sitting? Crazy and uncomfortable. Pamela FNP, CDE

posted Jan 21st, 2013 4:29 pm

D. Reynolds

So what???!!! Let the President eat what he wants for one day without judgement. Good grief! This is a historic day. You preach moderation, and this, to me, is a day to indulge. Tomorrow, they will most likely resume their normal, healthy habits.

posted Jan 21st, 2013 3:58 pm

Leigh Anne

First I will say that the calorie count (if correct) is appalling and disappointing.
BUT second, where did you find portion sizes to analyze these items? Were you privy to the actual recipes or were you using your best guess as to ingredients? A true nutrition analysis would require actual recipes (not just a menu) and ingredient lists as well as final dish portion sizes. Based on the article, it appears you had a menu, but not recipes, ingredients or specific portion sizes. Which could be misleading.

posted Jan 21st, 2013 3:29 pm


Leave Feedback

Skip the moderation queue by becoming a MyDIR member.

Already a member?

Need to sign up?
It’s free and only it takes a minute.
There are two ways to join:

Or, proceed without an account