September is National Family Meals Awareness month. In honor of that, I chatted with actress, singer, author, mom, and chef Haylie Duff.
A lady that wears many hats, Haylie is passionate about food and making nutritious family meals. She currently has her own show, Haylie’s America on the Cooking Channel and runs the Real Girl’s Kitchen Blog.
Haylie teamed up with Eggland’s Best in support of their EB Better Family Meals Program. She was excited to tell us all about the program and what it’s like trying to raise kids to be good eaters.
Watch or read our interview with Haylie Duff below!
StarShine Magazine: I’m so excited to be talking to you about healthy meals.
Haylie Duff: Oh, good! Thank you. Me too.
SSM: I can’t imagine … as you being a mom, how hard it must be to get those nutrients in you and your kids.
Haylie: I mean, look. Every day, it’s a conscious effort to make the right decisions when it comes to healthy foods, and you know, we’re all just trying to do the best we can. You don’t have to strive for 100% of the time, but any effort towards it is better than no effort at all.
SSM: Yeah, definitely. What is your advice to moms of picky eaters on how to widen the variety of foods their kids will eat?
Haylie: Well, I am the mother of a picky eater currently. I have a one-year-old and a 4-year-old. My 4-year-old went from eating everything to eating absolutely nothing, so one of the things I actually love to make for her are deviled eggs. She’s very comfortable eating an egg. She’s very familiar with it. She loves to get in and help me make them. Like she takes the little piping bag and helps me do it. So I think getting your kids involved in the cooking process is a great way to get them excited about healthy foods and new foods too.
SSM: Awesome. Would you say that your kids are willing to try something or do you kind of have to sneak it in there?
Haylie: My one-year-old will try anything you put in front of her! But my 4-year-old is like, ‘is that a speck of green? What is this?’ She’s like, ‘No!’ She will not. So I make adapted versions of things for her … but I was given this advice when I first had a baby, and it was from a friend of mine … and she said, ‘Don’t make separate meals. Just make them a little version of what you’re eating, and it really helps them to like all types of food. So I tried to do that, but we seem to be in a hiccup phase with that right now. [laughs]
SSM: What are things you do in your recipes to boost nutrients?
Haylie: Well, a great way to boost nutrients is to use more nutritious ingredients. It’s one of the reasons I was so excited to work with Eggland’s Best because they really are the superior egg to ordinary eggs. They’ve got six times more vitamin D, 25% less saturated fat, double the B12, double the Omega-3s. So I can make my girls something simple like the spinach bake or the deviled eggs, but if I use an ingredient that’s a better choice than I’m upping their nutritional value.
SSM: Tell us more about what you’re doing with Eggland’s Best.
Haylie: I was excited to work with them on this campaign because it’s their Better Family Meals Program and they’re really focused on educating families about the importance of quality time and all of the benefits of that and about making nutritious meals for your families. Part of that is teaming up with Sur La Table and doing a Better For You cooking series, which I love going to Sur La Table. It’s one of my favorite stores to get lost in and do cooking classes at. So you can go to their website: https://www.surlatable.com/egglands-best/ and find out about tickets near you. The classes are all over the U.S. and [you can get] the recipes for these dishes as well.
SSM: Awesome. With the holidays coming up, how difficult is it for you to stay healthy and cooking?
Haylie: You know, it’s funny because I indulge during the holidays, but then I end up making the meal more times than not on Thanksgiving. So I have this weird thing with once I’ve made the meal, I’m so tired from making the meal I end up not eating as much. When I’m sitting around, and someone else is making it for me like my mom … I eat way worse than I would if I’ve made it myself. So my new trick is that I offer to make the Thanksgiving meal so I just don’t eat as bad as I normally would. But I also believe in balance. If you’re good for a couple of days, you can treat yourself and then try to get back on track after that. You know, that’s really how you can sustain a healthy lifestyle for a long time is just trying to … not be hard on yourself and do it in a balanced way.
SSM: Now September is Family Mealtime Awareness Month, so how important is that family mealtime to you and your family?
Haylie: I mean, it’s important. You see the benefit of sitting around a kitchen table with your kids. You see it almost instantly in them. They’re more talkative with you about what’s going on in their day and what’s going on at school. I think as a parent, what we all strive for is to get our kids talking to us and telling us about their lives. The best way that I’ve found to do that is to make them a meal they like to eat and sit at the kitchen table with them.
SSM: Very good advice. I agree it’s very important. What can we expect from your Real Girl’s Kitchen Blog and cooking show?
Haylie: I’m constantly posting new recipes and things like that so you can always just keep your eye out for any new dishes coming out and things like that.
Keep up with Haylie Duff!
Sandy Lo is an author, blogger, journalist, and digital strategist. Her personal story is inspiring. Sandy started StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees.