COOKING WITH HER KIDS
How does cooking with your daughter Rain inspire creativity?
She is such a great little sous chef. It’s fun for me to have a partner in the kitchen. We’ll do, let’s say, a Taco Tuesday, or we’ll play chef, and we pretend like her dad and her little brother are coming to her restaurant. She’ll put on her little apron that matches mine and she’s got a miniature knife. She’s 10 years old, and she has incredible skills from chopping to sautéing. She has an amazing palate as well, and I think that’s from exposing her to different types of cuisine.
What types of nutrientrich fare do you prepare and eat together?
My husband is French, so we eat a lot of fennel. Rain and I make a beautiful fennel apple salad with celery, lemon, and olive oil. I’ll do lots of shredded carrots, and I’ll put sunflower seeds in there with a nice vinaigrette dressing. I definitely like to eat seasonal foods. For summer, we’ll grill fish or roast chicken or do a salad with blackened salmon on top. I think if you understand food, and you are not afraid to try to prepare certain meals and to start with something that’s less challenging, you really can figure out a healthier way of feeding your family. Keep it colorful, keep it simple.
Any tips on getting kids to eat healthy snacks?
I try to play a game with my kids to eat the colors of the rainbow. “Did you eat anything purple besides grapes? Have you ever tried an eggplant? What shades of green did you find?” They sort of understand that value and that energy. I think that lesson is important because they know they’re going to grab a colorful piece of fruit. I have a snack jar for my kids that’s not full of junk. I say, “Make sure you grab a piece of fruit and stick it in your lunch and then grab something that’s a little bit more fun so there’s a balance.” My refrigerator is full of fresh food with to- go options. And hard- boiled eggs are fun for school— and easy!
How do you use food to stay fit and connect with your sense of well- being?
I avoid all the packaged stuff and refined sugars and bad fats— but I promise you I eat. I eat olive oil. I eat avocados. I drink wine. On Sunday nights I’ll make pasta and enjoy it with no guilt, and then I’ll get back on my program. I’m always telling people to give yourself a little bit of a cheat day. I write a lot on Modern Mom about designing a way of eating that you enjoy and that works for your body. Design something you can sustain, then give yourself a break once a week. Get it out of your system. Do something active. We’re so stuck on these extreme diets— but I believe it’s easier to just develop a lifestyle of health and wellness all year long.