Jennie Garth's latest on-camera project is less drama and more how-to as she stars in Hidden Valley's Garden Party webisodes.
Good girl Kelly Taylor on Beverly Hills, 90210 is all grown up (just like us!) and a mother to three girls. So who better to show us the way when it comes to feeding our kids and getting them to love their veggies?
I asked Jennie for tips, lots of tips, when it comes to healthy family dining. Of course, I would have been remiss if I didn't quiz "Kelly" on the modern version of 90210 -- The Hills.
After you check out Jennie's interview, tell me your favorite family meal tip in comments and you'll be entered to win the following prize pack:
Two lucky CafeMom members who reply to this post with a comment by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, June 5, 2010, will be chosen at random to receive a prize pack including an assortment of Hidden Valley products: 12 bottles of their new Farmhouse Originals dressings in addition to a bottle of Hidden Valley Original Ranch, Hidden Valley Original Ranch Light, and a few packets of Hidden Valley seasoning/dips mix.
A $500 American Express Gift Card you can use to buy veggies (or other yummy things) to go along with your Hidden Valley dressings!
Prize pack is valued at $555.
You can win only one prize pack no matter how many times you comment.*
Tell me about the Hidden Valley Veggie Campaign.
I teamed up with Hidden Valley for the Garden Party webisodes that are all about educating kids and parents on how to incorporate more vegetables into their kids’ diets. Because a lot of kids aren’t getting enough vegetables -- I know mine aren’t.
How did you get involved?
Any work I do now has to come from an organic place and this really felt important. As parents, it’s such a challenge to not only raise our children, but to make sure they’re eating properly and sleeping enough. There is so much on our plate and this is an opportunity to educate other parents and learn a lot myself. I was able to go out and interview farmers and learn so much, and I brought home a lot of the ideas. It changed things in my own home.
Do you see this as part of the organic food revolution?
We did a lot of talking about organic and why to buy local and how to go to a farmers' market. There’s so much cancer in the US now and there’s got to be a reason. Let’s give ourselves a fighting chance by eating organic and eating fresh vegetables. That’s heading in the right direction.
I have a 4-year-old and a 1-year old. Can you give me some strategies to get them to eat veggies?
It’s hard. You have to set it up early. I feed my kids vegetables and they eat them. If they don’t, they’re going to be hungry. But I learned the hard way.
With my first child, I catered to her every whim. It was much harder to get her to eat whatever we were eating for dinner. But now I make one meal and it has a protein and a carb and a vegetable and there’s no getting around it. My kids accept that. I tell them about balance and about eating healthy. They want to be healthy, and they want to run and play. Still, I will trick my kids. I will do the Sneaky Chef.
But when they come home from school, I put out a plate of carrots and I’ll give them ranch dressing. I will tell them they can dip it in chocolate or whatever they want to dip it in. When I put out a plate of vegetables after school, I don’t even have to tell them to eat it. They’re hungry and they want to eat something crunchy. If you give it to them as a snack food, they see it as a snack rather than a vegetable.
It sounds like you start at the grocery store. If you don’t bring it home, they don’t have it.
My cart is full of produce.
Do your kids go shopping with you? How do you distract them from the Oreos?
Not usually. I do it while they’re at school. You try to go when they're at school, because that’s the hard part -- distracting them.
Do you always have family meals?
Yeah, of course. We eat dinner together every night. My oldest is almost 13 so she is still under our roof and we check in with her every night. It’s just what we do.
Do you think it’s harder to have a family meal with a 13-year-old or a 3-year-old?
I think the 3-year-old, because your 13-year-old is doing homework and being still -- not on the go and so demanding. My 3-year-old wants to be held while I’m cooking. That’s fun for them, harder for me.
I’ve found having a family meal together with little ones can devolve into chaos. Is there a certain age when you think they’re old enough to sit and have the same dinner?
I put my little girl on the counter and give her one of those plastic lettuce knives and let her chop up the mushrooms or tomatoes. She can cut that, but it won’t cut her. She loves to be a part of the preparation.
As a mother, planning ahead and getting your head wrapped around what you’re going to make before dinner time will make it less chaotic.
As the star of 90210, and a mom to a teenager in Southern California, I have to ask you: What’s more real, the original Beverly Hills, 90210 or The Hills?
I’ve never watched The Hills. I can’t bring myself to do that. I have kids! I want to say that 90210 is, because ... why shouldn’t I?
For some reason The Hills feels more like fiction than 90210 did in the '90s.
We tried to keep it real -- stuff that kids were really going through. While the stuff was kind of shocking for that time, it was still what was happening out there.
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