Ep. 178: Adventurous Eating

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On today’s episode, I’m chatting all about how to support adventurous eating in kids with the vivacious Catherine McCord of Weelicious!  We give you simple and practical tips on how to encourage variety from an early age, you won’t want to miss this episode.


Fed and Fit podcast graphic, episode 178 Adventurous Eating with Cassy Joy

We’re back with our 178th episode of the Fed+Fit Podcast! Remember to check back every Monday for a new episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

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Episode 178 Links

  • To visit Weelicious click HERE
  • To learn more about One Potato Box click HERE
  • Connect with Catherine on Instagram HERE

Episode 178 Sponsors

Episode 178 Transcription

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Cassy Joy: Welcome back to another episode of the Fed and Fit podcast. My name is Cassy Joy Garcia. I am your host today, and always. {laughs} And I’m excited today because one of my online food blogging heroes is joining me. I’m just tickled to welcome Catherine McCord of Weelicious to the show today.

If you’re not familiar with her, she’s the cofounder of One Potato Box, and she’s also the brains behind Weelicious. Today, we’re going to be chatting about encouraging adventurous eating with the kiddos. Welcome to the show, Catherine!

Catherine McCord: Thank you for having me on. I’m thrilled.

Cassy Joy: Oh my goodness; I’m thrilled too! Thank you. Welcome to the show. I would love it if you would just kind of tell folks a little bit more about you. About your background. About your wonderful family. And what has really helped hone you into this passion project of encouraging adventurous eating.

Catherine McCord: So I started Weelicious, which was my first company, 11 years ago. And it was really based on the fact that I’d gone to culinary school, I knew how to make a gourmet meal working in restaurants, and catering companies. Then I had my son, Kenya, and I was like; I can make a 3-star meal, and I have no idea how to feed a baby or a kid. How to make them a great eater, and get them excited about food.

It really became just a blog of my journey, talking to other moms. Trying to understand some of their same struggles. And then as the audience grew, and I had another child, I moved into toddler food and family food. And this idea of one family, one meal. Because that really, to me, is the biggest struggle. As a parent; how do you get your kids to be excited about food? But also make it really easy for you.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. That makes a lot of sense. We just welcomed our first little one into the world. Graysen Joy was born in January this past year. And she’s just started eating. And oh, she’s so; it’s so darn sweet. But she’s just started dabbling in some foods. And I can kind of get a glimpse into that future of; because Austin and I. I had this moment of reality set in the other night. I served us up this meal that we were both really excited about; and I thought to myself; I don’t know that this meal would necessarily fly with a toddler. {laughs} So I need to really enjoy that I’ve got ultimately control and say over what shows up on the table. But I love the idea of trying to merge those two worlds together.

Catherine McCord: And that’s the most important part. I feel like we think; oh my god, my kid will never like this. But you’d be surprised. My baby; she’s 3. I still call her my baby, because she’s my third. And she loves jalapenos. She loves spicy foods. Not in a million years would you consider that kid food. But that’s just like; she being the third child, we were just like; sure, you want to try? You want to make you mouth on fire? And there she was, just loving it. So I think at every turn kids will surprise us.

Cassy Joy: I love that. And I watched her evolution with the smoothies you would feed her. And I constantly would be like; this is the darn cutest thing. I can’t wait to make Gray some smoothies.

Catherine McCord: Yay.

Cassy Joy: That’s so fun. So what are some of your basic tips about really encouraging adventurous eating? Let’s say if someone is listening and they have a toddler, or someone who maybe is in elementary school. And they really want to try to break the mold a little bit, and get the kids to experiment a little bit more. Do you have some basic things you think would be good to start with?

Catherine McCord: Yeah. It really is funny; whether you have a newborn, a toddler, or an older kid. The principles sort of are really the same. It’s getting kids to know what they’re eating. And know what the foods do for their bodies. Proteins, fruits, vegetables. Go to a farmer’s market, look at different foods. Let your child; you can pick anything you want. And for a kid, that’s like; I can pick anything want? That’s the most exciting thing in the world. Or even at the grocery.

Look up the food. Find out what the nutrients do in your body. And make it like; what should we; take it home, should we cook with it? Should we eat it raw? Because the more you can get a kid involved in knowing what their food is, where it comes from, the more they want to try it and be part of cooking and eating.

Cassy Joy: I love that. That’s a really great idea. Go grab a piece of fruit and we’ll make it happen. I imagine a lot of dragon fruits would wind up in a cart. {laughs} They look pretty neat.

Catherine McCord: Exactly. Oh my god, exactly. But it’s funny you said that, because my son, when he was in preschool, I used to send him with dragon fruit, and I would get these emails from moms being like; alright. There’s this purple thing in Kenya’s lunch. What is it? Because he wants it. It’s a cool way to get kids excited.

Cassy Joy: Oh, that’s so fun. And I know; tell me about smoothies. I know that’s something y’all do pretty regularly. That seems like a really great way to sneak in other great micronutrients.

Catherine McCord: Yeah, it really started by accident. My husband and I have always been into smoothies, and just really enjoyed them. But my son had been going through weeks, months really of just not feeling good. Headaches, nausea, and we couldn’t really figure out what was going on with him. And I was talking to doctors, and nutritionists, and just trying to find out. Was I doing something wrong?

It turned out, I decided one night, I read something about smoothies. And I was like; hmm. Let me try that. And I came up with a smoothie sheet, which was a list of fruits, and vegetables, and protein, and carbohydrates. And if you go on Weelicious, you can actually see it. And I gave it to him. And I was like; alright, we’re going to have a smoothie for breakfast tomorrow. You pick anything on this sheet that you want, and I’ll make it for you.

And within weeks of doing this, all of his symptoms were gone. And we realized that between; he is a vegetarian. He has been since he was 6 years old, by choice. And I realized that I was just giving him more bread and bread and cheese. And over time, just eating like that, in his little body he really wasn’t getting all the nutrients that he probably needed. And especially at the beginning of the day when we send our kids out the door and we’re giving them pancakes and cereal and sugar. What they really need are these nutrients to really fire their brains.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. That makes a lot of sense. That’s so inspiring. I’ll link up to all of these things in the show notes so folks can have a quick access to it.

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Cassy Joy: That is really fascinating. I would love, also, if you could share a little bit about thinking outside the lunch box. I know that there was a book you published in 2013, and you have been working with parenting magazine about your snack mom column. Correct me if I’m misquoting any of this. It just seems like; I can sit there. I don’t have any kids in school yet. And I will watch your videos of what goes in the lunchbox, just mesmerized. {laughs}

Catherine McCord: That’s sweet. It really was just like me wanting; I look at meal time all day, every day for kids, for parents. We should also be eating good nutritious food. And it just became this idea that I wanted; my kids are not with me at lunch. So I wanted to make sure that at least if I’m sending them with; again, the fruit, vegetable, protein, carbohydrate. Just having that balance. That they would end up eating a variety of foods.

I think kids are very different than adults, where we eat so much when we’re sad, or mad, or happy, or good day, or bad day. And kids really are just; they only get 20 minutes to eat. We want to get as many nutrients as possible in their bodies when they’re at school. So sending them with nutrient dense foods that are bite sized too. So even if they’re chatting with friends, just whatever they’re doing at school in that small amount of time that they have to eat their lunch, that it’s exciting and interesting and there is a lot of variety.

Cassy Joy: That makes a lot of sense. I love that. At home, do you tend to air on the side of trying to meal prep, or do you like to make things fresh? What’s your personal strategy in your kitchen for the week?

Catherine McCord: So, on Sunday’s I tend to try to do a little bit of meal prep. Whether that’s roasting vegetables, cooking chicken breasts in the air fryer. Making some rice of quinoa. And then we have One Potato three days during the week, which absolutely saves me. And then on the weekends, I can do a little bit more. Enjoy myself more with cooking. When it’s not nutso with work and kid’s schedules, and so on.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, take a little bit more time with a beautiful roast or something like that.

Catherine McCord: Exactly. But I do think the meal prep is really important for a lot of families, especially working parents. Because it’s the only way to actually get food on the table. Especially if you want to eat at home and make it healthy.

Cassy Joy: Absolutely. And this is a great segue; I would love if you would share a little bit about One Potato, with the listeners here.

Catherine McCord: Yeah. So One Potato is my organic family friendly meal company. And it really started from people being like; I have Weelicious cookbooks. I have Weelicious recipes. Just send me the food. I just want the recipes to my house. And it’s been a total gift. We’re in 8 states on the West Coast. All the food is organic, and you get two or three meals. You pick. And they take anywhere from 12 to 30 minutes. And they’re just made for families. So things that kids and adults want to eat. And you get to pick your meals every week.

So it’s another great way to get kids involved in picking the foods that they’re going to eat. And everything is really DIY. Because I find that DIY meals; you put everything out for chicken fajitas, or tacos, and let everyone build their own. Because it makes it; instead of, here’s a big plate of food. And kids are like; well, I don’t want that. So it just makes them, again, more active versus passive participants in the meal process.

Cassy Joy: That makes a lot of sense. That’s so exciting! I remember back; I don’t remember how long ago it was. When you were talking about One Potato. Correct me if I’m wrong, but did you launch it the same month your youngest was born? Is that right?

Catherine McCord: Yes. So, the day Gemma was born was the day we launched the first One Potato box. So it was a very; alpha-beta round where we were just really testing it. But I’m a mother of three. And One Potato saves me every week. I don’t know how I would get dinner on the table during the week if I didn’t have it.

Cassy Joy: I love that so much. Because when Grey was born; it was two weeks before she was born. I got to the end of my to-do list, which I never thought would happen, because she was almost 2 weeks late. But I remember calling up my publisher and just saying; I’m bored. Let’s work on another book! {laughing}

Catherine McCord: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: And you know, I feel like I won a tiger at the carnival at this stage in the game. She’s 9 months old, and we’re in the editing process. But I just find that really just inspiring. Your whole message about it. I remember you said it took a village, and it gave me a lot of courage to just jump in, lean on the team, and we can all see it through. It’s been so neat to watch you build your businesses.

Catherine McCord: Thank you for saying that. If you do anything from passion, then hopefully it will succeed.

Cassy Joy: Oh my goodness! Well Catherine this has been so wonderful. Is there anything else you would like to talk about today? Any new projects you’ve got? Not that you don’t already have your hands full, but anything on the back burner?

Catherine McCord: Yeah, I’m working on the Smoothie Project cookbook, which is going to be really exciting. I’m just putting all the principles of having a smoothie every morning for breakfast. And if anyone wants to sign up for One Potato, we can give your audience a specific code to do that. Or there’s a little discount code at OnePotato.com.

Cassy Joy: Oh, that’s so kind. Thank you so much. I’ll definitely connect with you and we’ll get that included onto the show notes along with links to everything else that you’ve got going on. I cannot thank you enough for coming on and sharing about encouraging adventurous eating with kiddos, about the smoothie project, about being just such an incredible, inspiring working mom, and about One Potato. Thank you again.

Catherine McCord: Thank you. I’m so happy to be with you today.

Cassy Joy: Likewise. And everybody else, as always, you can find a full transcript over at www.FedandFit.com. Along with all of those links, in case you’re driving and you didn’t have a chance to jot anything down. Catherine, thank you again. I really appreciate it. And everybody else; we’ll be back again next week.

Meet the Author
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Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
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