When I first stumbled upon Weelicious.com, I could barely contain my excitement. I immediately forwarded it to about 30 people. Today’s Expert Interview is with Catherine McCord, the mastermind behind this fabulous website. If you have small children (or big ones, for that matter), you NEED to check it out. Teaching our children healthy eating habits is not only a gift that will affect the rest of their lives, it is our job as parents. However, it’s not always easy, is it? On Weelicious.com, you will find healthy, simple, and creative recipes to make for your kids, as well as a wealth of information on organic eating, feeding guides, kid-friendly restaurants, and more!
L: What inspired to you start Weelicious.com?
C: When I had my son Kenya, I wanted information and interesting recipes to make for him, but there was so little information on the internet. Weelicious started as baby food information, tips, recipes, videos and more, but it has grown into toddler, big kids and family food as we have evolved.
L: Buying all fresh, organic produce can get expensive. Do you have any tips for getting the best prices on produce?
C: Shop around! I’m incredibly frugal, but I also want what’s best for my family. Over the years, I’ve developed a relationship with farmers at our market so I get the freshest, least expensive produce possible. If I’m not buying organic, I try to shop at Costco, Trader Joes and Wholefoods because they have such high turnover, so fruits and veggies aren’t sitting around for days and weeks losing their nutritional value and taste.
L: A lot of moms are hesitant to try making baby food because they think they don’t have the time. How time-consuming is it? What are some simple purees that families can try out to see if making baby food is for them? What kitchen equipment is necessary?
C: Believe me I get it! I have very little time too these days. All of the baby food recipes on weelicious are created to be fast.
Here’s all you need: fresh food, a mini prep food processor ($29.99), a spatula, knife and some food storage containers. You should be able to make 2-4 recipes in under an hour. I would start with fruits and vegetables that are in season. As soon as your baby tries a food and you know there are no allergies then you can start mixing with other foods. It’s really fun!
L: Do you have any tips for parents with extremely picky eaters? Is it possible to turn them into adventurous eaters?
C: Get kids involved in the process from day one. We’ve always taken Kenya to the farmers market. The vendors will let kids taste their goods for free most of the time. We basically give Kenya free breakfast at the market every Sunday from all of the healthy samples. Also cooking with kids is important. Letting them have a sense of control about how and what they eat is essential. Just because you think you have a picky eater doesn’t mean you have to give them pasta with butter for every meal.
L: From reading your blog, it is obvious that your son, Kenya, is not afraid to try new foods! How did you foster his taste for healthy, nutritious foods? Does he ever get junk food? Are there are food that he absolutely won’t eat?
C: We’ve never pushed foods on Kenya. I present him with healthy options and he either likes or dislikes something. It also has a lot to do with age. Kids tastes change depending on flavor and texture. There are foods he wasn’t interested in when he was 18 months old that he devours not like raw onions (not my favorite, but he loves them!)
As for Kenya getting junk food, that depends on what you consider “junk”. There’s no cheetos or McDonald’s in his world, but he can eat birthday cake at parties and we take him to our local grocery for a cookie of his choice once a week and we get ice cream every Saturday morning as a family. I’m a huge believer in moderation. Deprivation is never a good thing for kids because then they will want it more.
L:What is your favorite meal to make for the whole family?
C: Breakfast! We all get in on the act, even my husband. He rarely cooks, but his omelettes are amazing. It becomes a real family affair.
L: Now that summer is here, do you have any suggestions for healthy alternatives to the traditional BBQ fare?
C: We’re not really big meat eaters, so our BBQ usually consists of grilled salmon, grilled corn rolled in parmesan, veggies from our garden, salad with lots of colors, tastes and textures and maybe grilled peaches with a yogurt honey sauce and chopped pistachios.
L: What is the best way to cook vegetables to maintain their nutritional value?
C: I love roasting vegetables or steaming them. Our families favorite veggie dish in carrots, red bell peppers, onions, butternut squash or whatever else is in season, marinaded in maple syrup, olive oil and sea salt, cooked in a 400 degree oven for an hour. It’s heaven! I beg people not to boil vegetables. It leaches them of their nutrients. Even corn on the cob. Steam or grill it!
L: I know that personally, I try to cook in bulk so that I can freeze the extra food for another meal. Do you have any suggestions for healthy meals that freeze well?
C: We just made shells filled with ground turkey and cheese and I froze a pan full of it for another night. Lasagne and soups freeze beautifully and of course baby food. Next month I going to start freezing baby food purees for my daughter Chloe who starts eating purees in 2 months. I’m so excited!
We hope you enjoyed the interview with Catherine.
Have a great week, everyone! Be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you thought of Weelicious.com!