Jessica Seinfeld (yes, that's Jerry's Mrs.), mom of three -- Sascha, 6, Julian, 4, and Shepherd, 2 -- wanted mealtimes to be happy family events. But vegetables were getting in the way. Her kids refused to eat them. She begged, nagged, and pleaded. Then one evening, out of desperation, she stirred some pureed butternut squash she was making for the baby into the family's mac and cheese. It was the same color, and the kids never noticed they were eating a vegetable. "I realized then that I'd never have to say 'Eat your vegetables' again," says Seinfeld. Ever since, she's been mixing healthy vegetable purees -- foods the kids wouldn't touch otherwise -- into their fave dishes. And now she's written a cookbook so you can steal her sneaky tricks! We snagged her for some behind-the-scenes dish.
Q. How long can this sneakiness last?
My kids think that all brownies are made with spinach! If you cook this way long enough, they'll get used to the fact that veggies belong in their food.
Q. Who's your chef inspiration?
My mom and my grandmom. They both worked but somehow got home at 5:30 and made us a delicious home-cooked meal. This is a tradition I wanted to continue. I work, and my husband's been making movies for the past few years, so I use stuff out of the box all the time, but once a week I make and freeze different purees. Then, even during a busy week, I add them to everything to make meals yummier and more nutritious.
Q. Are your kids funny?
My children are hilarious! Do other people think they are? I have no idea.
Q. If your kids beg for junk, how do you handle it?
I don't deprive them because I don't want to make food an "issue." When I say "No" to a food, I explain why -- I just want them to have a healthy awareness of what they're eating. They do eat stuff like potato chips and Skittles. And we all love ice cream, but we don't finish the entire container. The idea I want them to come away with is everything is fine in moderation.
Q. How about all that Halloween candy?
I let them pick one piece a day. But the kids are still young, so they actually forget about the whole thing after a few days.
Q. You sound like a perfect mom! Do you ever have any bad parenting moments?
As we speak, my 2-year-old is watching Finding Nemo with his older brother and sister. I think that's pretty inappropriate, but otherwise I wouldn't be able to talk to you.
Copyright © 2007. Used with permission from the October 2007 issue of Parents magazine.