10-Day Smart Tips Countdown: How Not to Let Kids Upend your Best Eating Intentions
Monday, December 24, 2012 at 5:10PM
Allison Adato in andrea reusing, cat cora, eating with kids, smart tip

If it were up to my son, we would eat pasta most nights. I love pasta as much as he does -- probably as much as anyone-- but having it multiple times a week doesn't really fit into the way I want to eat anymore. Chefs who are parents have figured out a lot of ways to get the whole family onto the same food page: Serving the food they want to eat themselves, but making everything appealing to their children. Cooking with Muppets also helps, if you can arrange that. Image via Disney.

Iron Chef star Cat Cora is a mom of four young ones. She is a big fan of simply grilled meats, fish and vegetables and found that the act of presenting food on a stick got her kids' interest. "They love it," she told me. "We'll do a salmon skewer and romesco sauce, or lamb with mint-yogurt sauce and pita bread."

Who says kid food has to be bland? Romesco, a blend of nuts, garlic, olive oil and peppers, is an appealing shade of pink and delicious -- it need not be too spicy for young palates. Her family-friendly recipe for lettuce cup halibut gyros appears in Smart Chefs.

And as I encourage myself to eat more vegetables, I try to get my son to do the same. Another chef-mom Andrea Reusing, of Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., tipped me off to this trick: Put the vegetables out first, when they (and you) are hungriest -- during the cooking if necessary. After that, she says, "they can go to town on whatever they want."


Tomorrow: An excerpt from Smart Chefs featuring a Top Chef judge's family Christmas dinner.

Until then, happy holidays to all!


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