Last week, I had discussed interviewing Jessica with her publisher, Harper Collins
. When I saw she was on the show yesterday, I was really worried that she might become too busy to share with me her experience with writing the book. Who can compete with a
successful interview on Oprah?
Lucky for me, Jessica is truly a class act and had emailed me the answers to all my questions this morning. I was so incredibly excited and I hope that you will enjoy this interview with her as much as I enjoyed asking all of my questions.
Question & Answers with Jessica Seinfeld
Pardon if I gush a bit, but I adore your new book! Is this something that you have wanted to do for a long time? What/who inspired you to create this book?
I wish I could say there was a thoughtful and grand plan behind this book! The truth is that it came from desperation. Hiding vegetables in my children’s food was the only way I could get through mealtimes without arguments and stress. My children were certainly the motivation – their refusal to eat vegetables was the problem that had to be solved – but my inspiration was my own mother and grandmother. They were both working mothers who managed to put home cooked meals on the table every night. They taught me how to cut corners, prepare efficient and healthy meals in under 20 minutes, which is now the model I replicate in my own home. Now it’s a way of life.
Has healthy eating always been important to you or was this a new lifestyle change since children?
I grew up with a very health conscious mother, who has shopped at farm stands and food co-ops since I can remember. Eating healthy foods has always been second nature to me – it’s how I was raised. But I’m also desperately concerned about what I read about child obesity and related diseases and illnesses in this country. I became determined not only to not take care of my own kids, but to try to be part of a broader solution to a growing problem.
What is your biggest challenge with getting your children to eat healthy? How did you overcome this challenge?
The biggest problem I face daily is the prevalence of junk food that seems to follow all kids everywhere they go. I have to be vigilant and firm, but it’s hard to compete sometimes. Even if you can manage to avoid fast food and get to the grocery store, many supermarkets try to rope you into buying foods that have no nutritional value.
There’s a few things I do to try to cope.
- I won’t bring home food I don’t want my children to eat – chips, candy, sugared drinks. It sounds obvious, but the habits I set at home tend to get followed by my kids when they’re at school or playing with friends.
- I bake healthy treats. I’m not anti-treats – in fact, I have a sweet-tooth. But there’s no reason why great tasting cookies and brownies can’t be laden with things that are good for kids.
- I try to be smarter than the supermarket marketing executives. I shop carefully, read labels, and look for whole grains and non-processed food.
- Puree, puree, puree.
As a mom who is on the go a lot, what are some of your suggestions for getting your kids to eat healthy when you are running from activity to activity?
I try to always keep my purse stocked with food that’s healthy and balanced and never get stuck with hungry kids and limited options. That’s when bad food decisions get made. Being a mobile health-food store has it’s down side, of course – the crushed-up oat bran pretzels and string cheese wrappers at the bottom of my purse don’t exactly make me so fabulous – but at least I know my kids are getting a good snack.
If you could pick one thing that you want moms to walk away with, from reading your book, what would it be?
What you feed your kids matters. Don’t give up on yourself or them. You can have peaceful, healthy and delicious meals, and you can also never say, “eat your vegetables” again. With an ounce of preparation and the will to change, anyone can do it.