One of my favorite parts of my job as an entertainment journalist is verifying whether or not celebrities are actually as cool and nice in real life as they appear to be on TV. So I am very pleased to report that Tia Mowry-Hardrict might actually be even nicer in person than she seems on her various shows. Speaking to Romper, Mowry-Hardrict gave me plenty of mom tips for parents (or spouses) of picky eaters and anybody who struggles to find the time to cook tasty and healthy meals for their family.
One thing that is immediately clear upon talking to Mowry-Hardrict is that she's determined to establish healthy habits in her kids whether that's through good example or subterfuge. In one example, Mowry-Hardrict wasn't precisely trying to teach her son, Cree, meditation, but he picked it up anyway. She tells me that "if they're good" she and her husband Cory Hardrict meditate together for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 in the evening. And while she and Hardrict usually like to meditate lying down, Cree, who is 7, walked in on them and immediately adopted a cross-legged yogi pose in order to meditate alongside his parents. She laughs, imitating his posture.
Another way Mowry-Hardrict tries to promote Cree's health is through, well, lies. One of Mowry-Hardrict's go-to recipes for her family is spaghetti and meatballs, which she calls a classic American dinner. But instead of ground beef and breadcrumbs she uses ground turkey and oats — then she takes it one step further. "I also put, like, spinach in the meatballs and then he eats them and he never knows," she says and I swear to God there is a devious twinkle in this woman's eye. She also says she likes to make smoothies with spinach and avocado alongside fruit for her son and she says he never even realizes he's getting his daily recommended serving of vegetables.
Another sneaky move? Mowry-Hardrict has spoken a lot about Cree's peanut allergy. But she never wanted him to feel left out or different because he's the only kid who can't eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich like everybody else. Her solution is sunflower butter — a tasty alternative to peanut butter that's not almond butter (because almond butter is not tasty and I think we should talk about that more).
Now, if you're struggling to even find the time to cook, much less squeeze in some creative ways to make unhealthy food healthy, Mowry-Hardrict (who by the way recently just gave birth to her second child, NBD) is firmly on the meal prep train. "I do all my meal prep on Sundays," she says. "So you can make your pasta sauce on the weekend and the turkey meatballs take just a few minutes." Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that I love meal prep — this is a trend that might actually change your life, as in, for good. As for things the lifestyle guru always has in her kitchen, she tells me good herbs and spices (she likes McCormick) are everything when it comes to flavoring healthy food. Duly noted.
Now, I'm not going to tell you all that I'm not still going to enjoy some delicious all-beef meatballs from time to time, but if Tia tells me they're good I am definitely going to give this whole healthy-eating-take-care-of-your-body thing a try with those turkey meatballs. I might even trick myself and add some spinach.
After a very frustrating first birth experience, this Deaf mother wanted a change. Will the help of two Deaf doulas give the quality communication and birth experience this mom wants and deserves? Watch Episode Four of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below, and visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes.