Rachael Ray's Family Meal Makeovers
The TV chef and cookbook author shares her philosophy about eating, cooking, and instilling healthy eating habits in kids.
“Aside from teaching my siblings and me how to enjoy good food, my mother also taught us that food is this wonderful communicator. It can bring generations together—and you can have a ‘rich lifestyle’ if you spend time with each other at the end of the day. It’s not just about feeding your stomach, it’s about feeding your soul.”
Eat all you want. “If you eat well, you can eat more. I cook almost everything in olive oil. I also eat lots of vegetables and a little lean protein with everything, so I don’t feel bad when I sit down with a big bowl of pasta.”
Fill up your pantry. “I keep every kind of tomato on hand: fire-roasted, crushed, Italian imported. And stock in a box is the greatest thing; it can make fast-cooking things taste like they’ve been simmering all day. I always have veggie, chicken, and beef stocks.”
Use picky-eater-strategy No. 1. “Picky eaters don’t just happen—you create them because you don’t expose them to [a variety of] foods. Make a deal with your kids: Have them try one new food a week. Then, at the grocery store let them choose anything that doesn’t come in a box. It becomes an adventure.”
When all else fails... “Lie to them. When kids ask what’s in a dish, make them laugh: Just say, ‘boogers and eyeballs.’”
Make mac 'n’ cheese that’s good for kids. “My new book, Yum-o! The Family Cookbook, will get your whole family eating differently. There’s mac ‘n’ cheese, but it calls for whole-wheat macaroni and sauce made from stock and milk.”
By Frances Largeman-Roth
Do-good dinners: All proceeds from Rachael’s new book—Yum-o! The Family Cookbook—benefit Yum-o!, a nonprofit organization the celeb chef founded to eradicate hunger in the United States and empower families to develop healthy eating habits.