As a mom of two, Catherine McCord struggled to find delicious, nutritious, simple recipes to prepare for her family. In 2007, she used her culinary degree and life experience to found Weelicious. Over the years, Weelicious has come to address needs of the entire family and has grown to serve a large community of active users.
McCord is the author of two family-friendly cookbooks and a frequent contributor to a variety of national print and TV media. In 2015, she founded One Potato, a home meal delivery kit featuring organic recipes for families. Some of the featured recipes are favorites among Weelicious users, while others are new, with the goal of appealing to everyone in the family – both adults and kids.
Catherine’s newest cookbook, The Smoothie Project, debuted on December 17. It’s a “smoothie bible” packed with easy, delicious recipes for the whole family. Including tips from nutritionists, McCord also includes information on how to eat based on your age and details the health benefits of key smoothie ingredients.
We spoke with Catherine about family meals, how to approach picky eaters and how to get the whole family involved in meal preparation.
Why is it important for children to be involved in cooking and preparing food?
The more children become active (versus passive) participants in growing, picking, choosing or cooking food, the more excited they are to eat it.
Why is Monday a good day to cook and eat meals together?
Mondays are the beginning of the week, so cooking and eating together sets the tone for the rest of the week. When you’re connecting over food, it becomes a memorable experience you want to do over and over again.
What is your approach to picky eaters to make sure they are eating nutritious meals?
I start by avoiding the word “picky” at all costs. Once you label your child as “picky,” they will consider themselves to be “picky” and be less interested in food and generally think less of themselves too. Instead, create a piece of paper or white board with the 10 nutritious foods your child does enjoy and make sure your child knows that this is a great thing. Work on adding to the list a little at a time, so your child feels empowered by their growth.
How do you involve your kids in meal planning and cooking at home?
I take my kids to the farmers market on the weekend, let them pick some of the foods we will eat and make a game out of what we can do or cook with the food during the week. I give my kids small tasks in the kitchen so they feel excited about being part of the cooking process.
What are some tips you have for busy families looking to prepare more meals at home?
Pick one or two meals a week to make together. It can be any meal of the day, not just dinner. Keep the menus simple. You can start by going through cookbooks with your family and put post it notes on pages that look easy and delicious.
Try the Weelicious recipe for Polenta Lasagna for your next Kids Cook Monday Family Dinner Night!