Getting kids to eat takes creativity, patience and, sometimes, a bit of luck. 52 Moms Talk Food is my exploration of how inspiring moms make it happen.
A popular deejay in Southern CA, Hilary is one busy mom. I’m so excited to share Hilary’s tips and tricks for feeding her 7-year-old daughter.
Q: You are BUSY! What are your tricks for getting good food on the table?
Hilary: Cooking from scratch is one of my favorite things to do, but it was also one of the first things to go when I became a mom. And once I went back to work? Forget about it. I let go of the guilt early on and became one with my local Trader Joe’s and Sprouts Farmer’s Market.
I’m fortunate that my daughter eats a variety of healthy foods, but variety is key. For lunches, we do baby carrots, sugar snap peas or cucumber and whatever fruit is in season and a sandwich or dinner leftovers. And, her hot lunch program at school rocks: whole grain breads and pasta, hormone-free local meats, local organic produce. As for dinners, we eat a lot of lean ground turkey tacos or burgers, rice pasta with marinara, veggie lasagna. We snack on brown rice cakes with honey and sunflower seed butter, frozen bananas, frozen acai bowls. And, I nixed the juice early on… she drinks a lot of water and sparkling water. Not every day is perfect, but—for the most part—I feel good about what we eat.
Q: What is your food philosophy?
Hilary: We try to aim for balance, and we talk a lot about food as fuel and how it gives us energy. Treats are “once in a while” foods. If my daughter refuses something, it’s usually a new (or newly prepared) food. So, we do a “thank you bite” to just try it… she’s usually game for one bite. We never force anything, but we do set limits.
My daughter has a life-threatening allergy to cashews and pistachios, which adds an entirely more complex (and scary!) dimension to eating. We keep her epi-pens near her at all times, no matter where she is. We have to read all food labels and be really careful about cross-contamination. She eats at the nut-free table at her school and summer camps. And, we’ll continue to educate her, her friends and their families (and ourselves!) about tree nut allergies all the time.
Q: With a dream job, lots of work commitments and an active kid, how do you find balance to stay sane (and healthy)?
Hilary: I don’t think I have found balance! I’m still chasing it. I do food shopping on Saturday mornings before the supermarkets get busy so we are set food-wise for the week. Sometimes we’ll hit the farmer’s market on Sunday morning. We used to have an awesome organic garden with broccoli, tomatoes and strawberries before we moved. One of our favorite activities is to walk to school with the dog. It’s about an hour round-trip, so we try to do that 3-4 times a week during the school season and walk the dog at a nearby canyon on the weekends. And, we try to get to the beach as much as possible, which is always good exercise—and fun!
Wanna’ see Hilary in action? Check out Hilary’s pics and Tweets at www.twitter.com/hilahil.
MY TAKE-AWAY: Not only is Hilary rockin’ at getting nutritious food on the table, but she’s helping her daughter develop healthy eating habits. She offers nourishing foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, but doesn’t sweat the occasional treat. She’s fortunate that her daughter’s school system offers such healthy foods, which helps when she’s pinched for time. While navigating cashew and pistachio allergies can be challenging, Hilary is doing a great job empowering her daughter to be healthy and learn how to eat safely.