After writing more than 21 cookbooks and contributing to numerous national publications, mom-of-two Sally Sampson decided to dedicate her skills to the fight against childhood obesity. In 2010, ChopChop: The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families was born. The quarterly delivers lively food fundamentals for kids (and adults!) to doctors’ offices, schools, and homes across the country. Now, the clever cooking guide is available in book form. ChopChop: The Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Familyfeatures more than 100 recipes to get your kids in the kitchen. And if these fun ideas don’t inspire your little ones, Sampson has a few tips that just might do the trick.
ChopChop is dedicated to teaching children cooking skills and healthy eating habits. Why is this mission important to you?
Before I created ChopChop, I was writing cookbooks but didn’t feel that was enough. I knew I could do more than write recipes; I wanted to make a difference. Teaching nutrition and cooking to a child helps her understand that there’s a difference between an apple, apple juice, and apple-flavored products. Then she can make better food choices, and that results in better health. Plus, cooking is such a wonderful way to bond with your kids! I just think it’s the greatest, most important thing.
How did you come up with the name “ChopChop?”
You know, it’s the funniest thing: we spent days and days listing different names and none of them felt right. Then one day I just said, “ChopChop.”And it stuck.
I have to ask—what were the duds?
One of them was “Picnic,” another was “Nosh.” And there were a million versions with “Kids Cooking.” When I look at them now, they really just don’t fit.
How can kids get their hands on a copy?
Subscribe! Or find copies in your pediatrician’s office, hospital, or school. If your school doesn’t have issues available, you can visit our website or call us to set up a classroom subscription. Some schools have even gathered sponsors and created custom editions!
The magazine received the James Beard Foundation Publication of the Year Award for 2013. What was that like?
Reviewers have credited the cookbook with teaching their own children math and measurements, science and chemistry through cooking, and nutrition. What other benefits are there to cooking as a family?
It’s such a great way to connect with your child as a parent. In some ways, that’s the most important thing about cooking. It’s creative, fun, and uniting. Food is also a really good way to understand other cultures. When I was growing up, we didn’t eat hummus or salsa. Through cooking together, new foods and tastes feel more familiar.
At what age should parents start bringing kids into the kitchen?
Immediately—it’s never too early! If you have an infant, bring her into the kitchen in her high chair and tell her what you’re feeding her. Say, “I’m cooking carrots. Carrots are orange.” Start a monologue with your baby. As she gets older, continue your monologue but start to ask questions. Ask, “How many cherry tomatoes are there?” And have her toss them into a salad.
Then as your child grows, gauge her ability. She will be interested in being part of it. Children want to be a success in the adult world and being in the kitchen is a great way to do that—just be sure to let her take the next steps and progress.
It might be hard at first for parents to get their kids in the kitchen—what do you suggest?
Start very small. Tell your child you need his help. Just say, “We’re having pasta tonight, can you pick out the shape?” Then give them more choices: “Let’s plan out your meals for school lunch.” To make it easier (and healthier) for my kids, I made a chart of acceptable options and they chose which lunches to have on which days. Tiny things like that can get kids very excited about participating.
How did you encourage your children to eat a variety of foods?
This was my point of view on dinner: I never made two meals and I never made them try anything. I never said, “You have to taste it.” Instead, I told my kids that if they didn’t like what I made, they could have cereal (non-sugared Cheerios), cottage cheese, or yogurt. If there isn’t an amazing alternative your children will eat dinner. Otherwise, if you make it appealing not to eat what you make – by offering chicken nuggets for example – why would they eat it?
As for picky eaters, don’t make it a big deal. Just keep putting other foods on the table that they might say they don’t like. Avoid defining your child as a picky eater and don’t give her pickiness a lot of attention.
The cookbook proves that you don’t need to be a “foodie” in order to cook well and healthfully. Instead, it presents cooking as a fun life skill that everyone should know and enjoy. Was this part of your goal?
Yes, of course. It’s really simple and easy to cook and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or esoteric. We need to help the generation of non-cooks raising non-cooks and get them into the kitchen. I’ve even had retirees and college students send letters, thanking us for helping them become better cooks.
So which recipes are best for kids when cooking for the first time?
Smoothies—they’re so adaptable: If a recipe calls for an apple, you could replace with a pear. If you can’t have milk, you can use soy milk. It’s also really fun to watch the blender—it’s like it’s exploding!
Sandwiches are also great to make with any age kids. Our Rainbow Sandwich recipe challenges them to fill their bread with as many colors as possible. For this, I suggest putting out a spread of cabbage, tomatoes, colored cheeses, and other options. It shows kids that a sandwich doesn’t have to be ham, mustard, and cheese.
What are your favorite family recipes?
Vegetable chili. You can make it spicy or not, and you can serve up little bowls of onions, avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, and yogurt to personalize it. It’s a great way to get kids to try new things. And they love putting together our other adult-like “Make It Your Way” meals.
And about the term “kid-friendly:” Why don’t you use it?
I don’t think there’s kid food and adult food. We don’t have anything in the magazine or book that’s not appropriate for an adult. I highly discourage having a two-meal dinner. Food is food. And you shouldn’t have anything in the house you don’t want your child to eat!
What else should readers should know?
If you’re trying to change the eating habits of your family, take really small steps. If you eat out five times a week, and you can cook one meal a week at home, that’s a good step. Really big changes really fast don’t work. Take baby steps. It’s okay.
Whether your kids have been in school for weeks or just started this past Tuesday, there’s no denying that summer is over. Though this time of year can be exciting for kids with their new notebooks, backpacks, and blue jeans, it can also be extremely stressful. In fact, a 2010 study by the American Psychological Association found that when parents are stressed (possibly from buying all those jeans, backpacks, and notebooks) tweens and teens are emotionally impacted. On top of that, the change from relaxed summer schedules to an activity filled fall may make it more difficult for kids to get enough sleep and feel stressed, both of which can affect their health.
Today, our health director Kara Corridan is teaming up with CBS News medical contributor Dr. Holly Phillips for a Google + Hangout. Join them today at 12 p.m. E.T.to learn about how to keep your kids healthy as they get back to hitting the books this fall.
Both in the U.S. and the U.K., Annabel Karmel is the number-one name for moms who want to make their own baby food. The mother of three has written more than a dozen books about feeding babies and toddlers; her iPhone app is also a hit. Now she’s offering advice and delicious recipes for pregnant moms with her new book Eating for Two.
What inspired you to dive into nutrition, meal planning, and baby food?
About three months after my first child was born, I felt very uneasy—she didn’t look right to me. We took her to the hospital and were there for five days and nights. They believed something was wrong with her brain. On the last night, she died. I can’t even explain what that feels like. She was my first child.
I knew that having another child was the only thing that could bring me back to life, and so my son Nicholas is the reason I wrote my first book. I was quite adamant that he should eat well. I tried books on baby purees and they were all very bland. I tried commercial products and he wouldn’t eat them. I only got him to eat well with my own with herbs, garlic, and fresh food.
I was giving my recipes to all the mums around and they told me I should write a book.
So you did!
I spoke with many, many allergy specialists, nutritionists, and research bodies. It took me two and half years before my first book came out in 1991, The Healthy Baby Meal Planner. I thought that would be the only book I wrote, but so far I’ve written about one book each year on a range of topics: weekly meal planning, feeding fussy eaters, creating family meals, transitioning from puree to solid food, and cooking with your child.
What are good first foods?
I don’t believe in baby cereal. I like vegetables and fruit, preferably sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash. Simply steam it to preserve the nutrients, or bake it, which will caramelize it. Then mix it with your baby’s usual milk. Apple and pear are also great choices because they are slightly sweet, similar to breast milk. Then start branching out and introduce mashed papaya, peaches, banana, and avocado.
When making purees, stick to a single ingredient and keep it as close to liquid as possible. Babies are used to breast milk, and you need to mimic that consistency to start. Then work up to mixing a fruit and a vegetable together and creating thicker purees. Try introducing your little one to broccoli and spinach by mixing them with root vegetables.
What if my child is picky and won’t eat a lumpy sweet potato puree?
Stick with it! In the first year, you must introduce to as many foods as possible. Withholding certain foods has nothing to do with developing an allergy or not, but rather it can make children quite fussy. It’s really about trying to train kids to like good food. It’s hard to transition from commercial, processed food to homemade family food. Start them on fresh family food and you shouldn’t have much of a problem.
What are the best first finger foods?
Steamed veggies and soft fruits like peaches, broccoli, pears. I also love serving fingers of toast with real cheese, mini meatballs, and sautéed grated onion and apple.
How can moms be sure their babies and toddlers are getting the nutrition they need?
Follow my books and meal planner—it takes all the worry out of it. Once you’re past the simple foods, bring in eggs, fish, chicken, and other meat. I like putting things like dried apricot into beef casserole or fresh fruit into a savory puree to get babies to like it.
Other key points to remember: variety and food groups. Serve fish or meat twice each week or add cheese to a veggie puree. Do not stick to smooth purees for too long. To avoid this, blend half and chop the other half or keep it lumpier.
Don’t be discouraged or frustrated when you’re baby becomes independent, experiments with food, and then makes a mess. Mums need to accept that and take a deep breath.
Sometimes introducing the same food over and over doesn’t work for me. So I make something else. Is this the right thing to do?
It’s actually important for the child to feel hungry. Otherwise he will carry on and on and get fussy with food whenever he doesn’t feel like eating something. Give him no attention for not eating. It’s a hard thing to do, but focus on the good and not the bad. We’re all guilty of going to the cupboard and trying to appease our children, afraid they will be hungry. But when they’re hungry, that’s the time they will eat something different. Otherwise their diet won’t be varied and that’s the worst thing.
What is the best way to store baby food?
I loved cooking for my children on the weekend and freezing purees in ice cube trays. You’re better off making it in bulk.
Can parents just blend up what they’re eating for dinner?
Yes! But be mindful that no salt or strong seasonings are added.
Do you have a favorite go-to recipe when you’re in a pinch?
My mini-meatballs. I bake them in the oven and then freeze the extra. I also love chicken balls and salmon balls—all are made with breadcrumbs, tomato, and spring onion.
Any tips for mom’s diet?
While pregnant, try not to gain too much weight. You don’t need any extra calories, not until the last three months anyway, because your body is great at using all of the calories and nutrients you already provide. Eating many small meals is best, and good snacks are sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
After your child is born, you must continue to eat well, especially when breast-feeding. You don’t think about storing up food in the freezer but it is such a help to plan ahead for when you’re back from the hospital. If you eat well and rest, you will feel so much better. And it will be nutritious for baby.
Interview has been condensed and edited.
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Considering their lack of anonymity with paparazzi lurking at every street corner, we salute celebrity moms who breastfeed their babies while out and about!
Although it’s still considered taboo in some circles, there’s no shame in nursing your baby in public… or on the cover of a magazine for that matter! And we’re so glad that celebrity moms such as Gwen Stefani, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kourtney Kardashianand Miranda Kerrare on board. And not to mention Salma Hayek‘s experience with wet nursing a starving infant in Africa!
Take a look through our pictures and read about 10 celebrity moms who have breastfed in public.
After making taking a dip in the pool with her kids, Kourtney was later seen breastfeeding her 12-month-old baby girl.
Kourtney has been outspoken about her love for breastfeeding. When her sister, Kim Kardashian, was pregnant, Kim recalled a conversation she had with Kourtney about the possibility of wet nursing.
“She said to me, ‘One sister should babysit all the kids, so I can go out or vice-versa, and whichever sister is babysitting should just breastfeed all the kids that are there,’” Kim shared.
While Kim was “disgusted” by the idea, she went on to ask Kourtney, “Does that not freak you out?”
Kourtney responded with, “No, it doesn’t,” adding, ”That’s what they did back in the day.”
Rockstar mama Gwen Stefani shared a tender moment with her youngest son, then 3-month-old Zuma, on a park bench in Los Angeles, Calif. A few months later, the mom-of-two talked about how Zuma self-weaned during No Doubt’s reunion tour.
“I didn’t want him to [quit],” Gwen said. “It felt like a total rejection. It was really hormonal, and trying to stop in the middle of tour was insane.”
When her daughter Ramona was 7-months-old, Maggie Gyllenhaal was caught by the paparazzi breastfeeding in a New York City park. At the time, the internet was abuzz with controversy over the intimate shots. Some said the paparazzi were too intrusive, while others felt that Maggie didn’t seem fazed at all – regardless of who saw her – as she breastfed her baby in public.
The Academy Award-nominated actress has commented about the pressures of breastfeeding and raising a newborn.
“I’m not a leave-them-in-their-crib-to-cry kind of girl. Fundamentally, I didn’t find that worked. Everyone’s got their own thing, you know? You can’t tell another person when it’s right to stop breastfeeding, or how to put your kid to sleep. Every child is different.”
Modern Family star Julie Bowen made an appearance on Lopez Tonight in 2010, where she shared a picture and talked to George Lopez about nursing her then 1-year-old twin boys, John and Gus.
“It’s like two little liposuction machines on you,” she said. “They suck the fat out of you. They call it the ‘double football hold.’ You hold one here, and here [gesturing to her breasts], like two footballs… They’re doing God’s work right there, helping me return to my birth weight.”
Julie later commented on her feelings about the pressures of breastfeeding.
“I’m a big live and let live-r,” Julie said. “Seriously [do it], if it works for you, if it’s easy. If it wasn’t easy, I wouldn’t have done it. Some people can’t do it physically…so don’t do it.”
Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr and her handsome hubby Orlando Bloom welcomed their first child in January 2011. The model mom tweeted a gorgeous photo of her and baby Flynn, then 3 months. “Another day in the office,” the new mom wrote, sharing a photo of herself in full hair and make-up at a photo shoot breastfeeding her adorable babe.
Having returned to work just a couple of months after giving birth, Miranda said her quick post-baby weight loss is thanks in part to breastfeeding.
“I think if you really eating the right foods, putting the nutrition into your body and doing yoga and breastfeeding; those things have helped me get back into shape. I remember I was on the elliptical machine when I was pregnant with Flynn.”
The Australian beauty added,
“I intend to breastfeed for as long as I can,” she said. “My breast milk will give our little Flynn the nutrition he needs for his continued healthy development and to all mums out there I am sure you will make the right choice for you and your baby.”
Just hours after giving birth to Flynn, Miranda shared a precious picture breastfeeding her newborn. In response to the photo, she said,
“The photo was one of the first photos Orlando took. We both loved it and we wanted to share it. The pleasant surprise was that it also had the added benefit of promoting breastfeeding which to me is the most natural thing in the world and I love it.”
W magazine’s November 2008 issue celebrated art — namely Brad Pitt’s photographs of his gorgeous family. His black-and-white shot of Angelina Jolie feeding one of their then 3-month-old twins [Knox or Vivienne] with the baby’s tiny fingers graced the cover of W. The serene, natural and relaxed shot only reaffirmed Angelina’s breathtaking beauty.
Angie opened up about breastfeeding during a very emotional time of her life.
“I had lost my mum, I’d had a baby and I’d been breastfeeding and I was in a very emotional place as a woman. I knew instinctually and talked to Brad about it, that if I could find something that would get me physical again it would be like therapy, because everything was making me cry.”
On a goodwill trip to Sierra Leone in 2009, Salma Hayek famously breastfed a week-old infant whose mother was too malnourished to produce milk herself. The actress recalled the wet nurse experience.
“The baby was perfectly healthy, but the mother didn’t have milk. He was very hungry. I was weaning Valentina [then 2-years-old], but I still had a lot of milk that I was pumping, so I breast-fed the baby,” she says, her voice dropping. “You should have seen his eyes. When he felt the nourishment, he immediately stopped crying.”
Salma says she was hoping to raise awareness that Sierra Leone has the highest infant mortality rate in the world. She went on to say, “I actually think my baby would be very proud to share her milk. And when she grows up I’m going to make sure she continues to be a generous, caring person.”
Years later, Salma continues to answer questions about acting as a wet nurse.
If you have milk, you have milk, and if they’re hungry, they’re hungry,” she said. “I think it’s a beautiful thing, because motherhood is a very strong place for women to connect and understand each other.”
Keely Shaye Smith
James Bond star Pierce Brosnan and his wife, former journalist Keely Shaye Smith, famously graced the December 1997 issue of REDBOOK with their then 11-month-old son Dylan. Then a fairy revolutionary cover, editor in chief Kate White explained that the magazine produced two covers – one being “more traditional” – for the first time in its history because they didn’t want “to force the image on anyone.”
Meanwhile, some convenience-store-chain owners said that if customers complained, they reserved the right to move the cover behind the counter along with risqué men’s magazines like Playboy and Penthouse.
Xena: Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless shared an intimate shot with her then 3-month-old son Judah to promote World Breastfeeding Week in 2002, which featured her quote, “Breastfeeding — My best role ever.”
Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik, who also holds a PhD in neuroscience, shared an image breastfeeding her 3-year-old son Fred on a New York City subway last year. The attachment parenting advocate wrote a thoughtful piece to accompany the intimate shot.
I have written about my now 3-year-old son Fred, and his nursing rhythms before,” Mayim wrote. “To recap: Fred nursed for a solid 12 months with no supplements, no solid foods, and not even a sip of water. He got the hang of eating solids around 18 months, but continued to nurse all day (with bottles of pumped breastmilk when I was at work), and on demand all night. A typical night involved no less than four wake-ups and sometimes six (every 2 hours on the clock for 12 hours of bed time was not unusual). This went on for almost 3 years.”
CelebrityBabyScoop.com is one of the most popular blogs on the topic and the foremost provider of everything celebrity-baby, featuring baby fashion, baby names, baby trends and up-to-the-minute celebrity baby gossip and pics. Get all the latest news, updates, and photos about Hollywood’s most beloved celebrity moms, dads and their babies. Who’s the latest Tinseltown baby? Who’s due next and who just announced a pregnancy? It’s all on CelebrityBabyScoop.com.
Summertime and the living is easy…unless you have a house full of children on summer vacation, that is. Ply them away from the PlayStation with these outdoor sports toys, currently up to half off on our e-retail site, Shop Parents:
NCIS: Los Angeles star Chris O’Donnell has joined with The ConAgra Foods Foundation’s Hunger-Free Summer program to raise awareness for kids who depend on free or reduced lunch meals during the school year. Now in its fourth year, the initiative has delivered over 2.5 million meals and snacks to children struggling with hunger over the summer. The goal is to reach at least 25 percent more children in need during the summer than before, over the course of five years.
We spoke with O’Donnell about the program, his career, and what it’s like to raise five children.
How do you manage raising so many kids? Do you ever have peace and quiet? On a normal day, peace and quiet doesn’t begin until the last one goes to sleep, which gets later and later as they get older. My wife Caroline and I do try to find time for just the two of us, run out for a glass of wine or a quick dinner. The noise feels like the new normal at this point. If it gets too quiet, that usually means trouble.
What’s the best part of having a big family?
In terms of our children, we try to encourage each of them to explore their individual interests since they are each so unique. It is fun watching them as they dabble in all types of sports and extracurricular activities.
You took time off from your acting career to focus on your family. Was that a scary decision to make?
I had a couple moments early in my career where it was more about re-examining my life. I started young and had a lot of success out of the gate. I would go movie, to movie, to movie, and would never see the people I worked with again. I was really getting burnt out on a personal, emotional level. And that’s just not who I am. The road I wanted to go down was to be married and have a family.
Did raising kids ever get easier for you? By the time you were on the fifth baby, did you feel like you had a handle on things?
I think going from two to three kids was the most difficult, but it does get easier. The older kids start to behave and help out, and we are more experienced as well. We don’t stress out over small things that may have freaked us out in our first couple years as parents.
What’s your best advice for busy parents out there?
From my perspective, it’s important for parents to set a good example for their kids, and impart on them that they should think about and help others.
Why is the Hunger-Free Summer Program particularly important to you?
I was shocked to learn that one in five children in the U.S. faces food insecurity—and that the situation only becomes more worrisome during the summer months. It can be an invisible issue, so as a father of five, I want to do something to help.
Want to help O’Donnell and the Hunger-Free Summer initiative? Check out www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com and watch O’Donnell’s message below. For every video viewed and shared, ConAgra will donate one meal to Feeding America, the country’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.
Service Allows Bully Reporting By Text
Students are getting a new weapon to fight back against bullies: their cell phones. (via Huffington Post)
Bicycle helmet laws linked to fewer child deaths
U.S. states that require children and teenagers to wear helmets report fewer deaths involving bicycles and cars, according to a new study. (via Fox News)
Sugary drink consumption down among U.S. kids
More evidence that Americans are heeding calls to cut back on sugary drinks appears in a report from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (via Yahoo News)
Early Brain Responses to Words Predict Developmental Outcomes in Children With Autism
The pattern of brain responses to words in 2-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder predicted the youngsters’ linguistic, cognitive and adaptive skills at ages 4 and 6, according to a new study. (via Science Daily)
ADHD medications not tied to drug, alcohol abuse
Taking Ritalin and other drugs for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) doesn’t affect a child’s chances of trying or abusing alcohol and drugs later in life, a new review suggests. (via Reuters)
With physical activity as a proven brain booster, the Institute of Medicine is recommending that schools provide opportunities for at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day for students.
Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind law in 2001, 44 percent of school administrators report slashing big chunks of time from physical education, arts, and recess in order to boost classroom time for reading and math. Mandatory PE classes can help lower our nation’s childhood obesity rates, increase brain power, and add a healthy dose of fun to our kids’ school day, experts say.