Healthy Snacks for Children with Rebecca Marder (cont.)

Moderator: I feel like a short order cook. Each child gets a separate meal..Do you have any advice?

Marder: That's a discipline thing, almost a personal, philosophical decision. I have the same thing at my house, and we've tried where we have, "This is dinner. You eat what I cook and we all eat together." If they go away from the table hungry, night after night, they'll learn to eat what you serve. But it's not easy. The kids will test the parents, and throw tantrums, and how hungry they are. And then the guilt sets in. Any mother resonates with the guilt the kids throw out. Or find something when you're cooking, that there's something there for everybody, like if you're making macaroni and cheese and broccoli. Maybe one kid likes the salad, and the other likes the mac and cheese. We've slowly worked on this, and gotten her to pretty much... I'd say she eats about 80% better than she was. She's always been like this, but it grew more intense since she was in her pre-teens. She's 10 now, so it was a little more difficult.

Moderator: Both you and your husband are well-known chefs here in the Los Angeles area, so who cooks at night at home?

Marder: My husband is a much better cook; he's more of a chef. He's more of a much better cook, and when he's here, he cooks, and I'm the prep cook. He's mostly busy at the restaurant at night, and he cooks and comes home. But he has Sunday and Monday night, so Sunday night is family dinner. Monday night, sometimes we cook or go out for food.

Moderator: It must be great food if he's cooking.

Marder: It's divine. Not only that, but we grow our own produce, and we have a really good garden, so again, it's about getting the kids involved, so they pick the fruits and vegetables.

Moderator: Tell us about that. You live here in Los Angeles, and are cramped for space. How do you grow a garden?

Marder: What we did was we have a little ravine on our property, and we just did the railroad ties and tied it down, and utilized every space. Some friends of mine have a very small corner on their property, and we're helping them set up a garden. All of us have room for a garden, even if we have to do it in pots.

Moderator: Any tips on what's easiest to grow that you're able to use a lot in your home, everyday?

Marder: Tomatoes are a must, and herbs. Rosemary, basil, thyme -- all the herbs, I get a lot of use out of those. If you can only grow one thing, I'd say tomatoes.

Moderator: Garden-grown tomatoes are so much tastier than store bought ones...

Marder: They're so good; there's nothing like fresh picked fruits and vegetables.

Moderator: Back to children, as we run out of time, have you any other advice regarding snacks and meals that are healthy to feed our children?

Marder: Children really like pasta, so I try to be creative. One of my kids loves top ramen noodles, so when I boil the water, I put a little broccoli in it, and we just have this rule, that they have to eat their vegetables. So I'll make them eat their broccoli first before their food. I try to capitalize on any opportunity I can to get those vegetables in. I have 4 children, so they're all different.

Moderator: For the working moms, do you have any suggestions of meals or snacks that they can take with them to work that are nutritious and healthy?

Marder: I always have a bag of almonds, or pecans, or some sort of nuts in my bag, because I like to have a little snack throughout the day. I think it's good for our blood sugar, and we need a lot of protein in small amounts through the day.

Moderator: Most people are concerned about the fat content of nuts. What are your thoughts on that?

Marder: I read something somewhere that said that when you eat nuts, they metabolize really well, and aren't as fattening as people think. I eat them all the time. I live on them. I eat sunflower seeds on my yogurt, and I'm not overweight. I'm not talking about salted peanuts. I'm talking about almonds. The snacks I suggest are leftovers. Chicken and rice -- I'll throw them together with vegetables. Or salads. Sandwiches with leftovers. I'm not really a big person on what to do for work, because I do eat in the kitchen at the restaurant. I only know about feeding the kids during the day.

Moderator: And you have an unfair advantage over us, with access to excellent take-out. (laughs) Thank you so much for joining us today. We and the listeners have enjoyed this. Will you come back sometime?

Marder: Absolutely. And we need to remember to take good care of the children, and feed them right!

Moderator: Thanks for joining us, and stay hard!!

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