Model-Turned-Mother And Blogger Helps Families Develop Healthier Eating Habits
Catherine McCord comes across as a proud and happy mother of Kenya and Chloe, and a beautiful blonde woman who has had modeling experience around the world in the past. But she has something else to be proud of as well. Young mothers turn to McCord's wildly popular blog and brand Weelicious for tips on how to feed their toddlers, pack their kids' lunches for school and prepare family meals that are 'Fast, Fresh and Easy'.
The mother and blogger has also published two books that have become phenomenal successes. McCord's 2013 book, Weelicious Lunches: Think Outside The Box with More Than 160 Happier Meals is a follow up to her 2012 book Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh and Easy Recipes. Both books are highly rated on Amazon.com with praises from Parents Magazine and celebrity moms like Jennifer Garner and Heidi Klum.
McCord's recipe books are largely about getting kids to eat healthy. But she does not do this in the traditional way that most parents would expect, in other words, hiding veggies in otherwise kid-friendly foods to make sure they get the nutrients they need but don't want.
Instead, McCord offers recipes for lunchboxes and the family meals that are delicious, healthy and loved by kids and adults alike. She also places emphasis on getting kids involved in the kitchen while you make their lunchboxes and family meals. This simple activity, she says, can help change the way that kids perceive food altogether.
Getting The Kids To Eat Healthy
McCord has a very interesting approach to getting kids to eat all the fruits and vegetables that they abhor. Growing up in Louisville, KY, she was taught from an early age by her parents and grandparents about the impact of food on our health. Her education took the form of early introduction to composting, gardening and canning. The young McCord was taken shopping at farmer's markets and spent time with her family at u-pick farms.
Such a close association with the origins of food can, according to McCord, automatically establish good eating habits in kids as they grow older. That means no more desperate sneaking in of vegetables into kids' meals. In fact, that is one thing McCord never does for her kids.
Instead, she encourages parents to “include kids in the cooking process”. This means exposing them to food as soon as it comes out of the ground. She encourages parents to take kids along to farmer's markets for hands-on experience when meal planning. Kids should be given small tasks in the kitchen so that they can participate in healthy cooking. The direct participation will, says McCord, encourage kids to ask questions and get excited about the food they'll be eating. They will automatically begin to develop good eating habits as they grow.
This kitchen education for kids lies at the heart of what Weelicious is trying to do. McCord's Weelicious YouTube channel offers a video a week (usually posted on Fridays) in which Catherine cooks and has fun in the kitchen along with one of her two kids. She hopes it will become an inspiration for other new parents to do the same.
One Family One Meal
McCord also believes in the concept of a single, balanced meal for the whole family. Most parents have busy schedules today that leave them little time to cook separate meals for each member of the family, according to their different preferences.
Banana Bites - Weelicious
Sample Lunchbox Recipe
Here's an sample lunchbox recipe for Sushi Sandwiches that kids and adults alike will love, from the Weelicious YouTube channel.
Not the traditional sushi that most people will expect, this is a simple recipe that needs sandwich bread (wholewheat for more wholesomeness can be chosen) and your choice of spread that can include cream cheese, fruit preserves, pesto etc. A slice of bread is rolled out with a rolling pin until it's quite thin. McCord suggests getting the kids to do the rolling as a fun muscle exercise early in the morning.
Then the slice is spread with the cream cheese and preserves (or your choice of spread). Next, the slice is tightly rolled in lengthwise, like you would roll a sushi roll. Finally, the roll is cut into little disks, just as sushi is cut. Repeat the same with another slice of bread for one serving. These sushi sandwiches are easy to eat with fingers and delicious to boot.
The Origins Of Weelicious
Weelicious began with the birth of McCord's son in 2007. The new mother would spend hours searching for resources on how to give her toddler a healthy diet and continue to do so as he grew. At the same time, she was looking for appealing meals that would be easy for her son to appreciate and less stressful for her to feed.
McCord's upbringing had given her a love for food, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables that reminded her of her grandmother's yard planted with oranges and berries. She fondly remembers shucking peas with her grandfather as a child and wanted to bring that experience to her children as well.
McCord's search for resources came up empty. That is how Weelicious was born, supported further by her experience of The Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. Other mothers would often take advice from her and all of her inputs and innovations slowly built up into Weelicious. As her daughter was born and her kids grew, she began to innovate fast, easy and healthy school lunchboxes, and her book Weelicious Lunches was written, with additional ideas for lunches to those already on the Weelicious blog.
Weelicious Healthy Recipe Books
Weelicious (and McCord's first book from 2012) focuses on easy, quick and nutritious meals that the whole family can enjoy. Ranging from toddler favorites like Sweet Potato and Coconut Puree, Veggie Nuggets and Cookies that teething babies and the whole family will love to Shrimp Tacos and Chocolate Velvet Beet Cupcakes, the recipes McCord offers are not only suitable for child and adult palates, but wholesome as well.
McCord also suggests that contrary to our beliefs of strict veggie inclusions that our kids dislike, it's a good idea to give them some choice in what they eat. Allowing them to think that they have more control over what they eat will keep them and parents happy.
© 2014 Juana Aman