Better Nutrition - - TRENDWATCH -

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.

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