I’m so excited to share today’s interview with you. I met Amy, co-author of the cookbook What A Good Eater! through my MOPS group in Colorado. She is an inspiration when it comes to raising healthy kids who love and appreciate good food.
What I love most is how she and her co-author, Alessandra, provide easy ways to expose kids to different flavors and textures from a young age. I know don’t about you, but I can use all the inspiration I can get in this department! Let’s dive in…
- Hi Amy! First off, will you please tell us a little about yourself?
Sure! My name is Amy Godiwalla and I recently moved to Denver, Colorado with my husband Shaun and our two little boys, Landon and Armin. I have a huge passion for food, and when I’m not feeding little mouths or inventing new recipes, I enjoy hiking, snowboarding, traveling, wine tasting, sipping hot chocolate at ski resorts, and cooking.
I grew up in Houston in a Parsi (Persian-Indian) family. My grandmother was a renowned Indian caterer who lived with us and cooked delicious, fresh meals for our family on a daily basis. To say we were lucky is an understatement!
Prior to writing What a Good Eater! I held various sales and marketing positions at Fortune 500 companies. After 14 successful years in corporate America, I proudly accepted a new promotion: full-time caregiver to my two sons, Landon and Armin!
- What inspired you to write this cookbook?
I’ve seen how common picky eating can be with children, so when I was pregnant with my first son, I began researching how to minimize picky eating habits with kids. I discovered that the topic fascinated me!
Many things inspired us to write this book, but one event in particular got the ball rolling: when my son Landon was 8-months-old, I invited Alessandra, my friend who is an author, to come over for a play date with her daughter Penelope. During the play date, I fed Landon a homemade butternut squash with rosemary and sage puree. Ali was amazed to learn that you could add herbs and spices to baby food! About a week later, she approached me and asked if I would like to co-author a baby food cookbook that incorporates the use of herbs and spices. Our project blossomed from there!
- Tell us a little bit about how and why you chose the recipes in this book.
The recipes in our cookbook are the recipes we feed our families over and over again. We tried to incorporate a variety of different types of foods, colors, textures, flavors, and herbs and spices in our recipes because we believe doing so encourages openness and minimizes picky eating habits in children.
- Have your kids always enjoyed healthy food or has it been a challenge for you like it is for so many?
I love this question! I whole-heartedly believe children can be taught to be healthy, well-rounded eaters. I believe teaching kids to eat well is significantly easier if you do it while they are young – like babies, or even in the womb! It requires patience and perseverance, but it pays off forever!
Our kids go through different feeding issues, just like most. Some examples include fickleness while teething or sick, selectivity with protein, and initially rejecting a food due to texture. Kids will go through eating phases—it’s completely normal. I strongly believe that raising a good eater is more about what the parent does when faced with these challenges.
We don’t pretend to have perfectly good eaters 100% of the time, but on the whole, we can both confidently say that thanks to the recipes and advice we share in our book, our kids are very good eaters. They enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods, flavors, textures, and approach new foods with a welcoming attitude!
- What do you hope that readers will learn from your book?
The goal of our cookbook is to help parents raise their children to be healthy, well-rounded eaters. We give them the recipes and tips to do so.
We hope our readers learn that exposing their kids to a variety of different foods, flavors, and textures early on will help encourage openness, minimize picky eating habits, and help set the stage—and table—for positive future eating habits that last a lifetime!
- What’s your go-to healthy snack for your kiddos?
If we are eating the snack at home, some of my favorites are fresh fruit (apples, clementines, plums, etc.), cottage cheese, or plain yogurt. In an effort to diversify their palates, I try and make it a point to expose my kids to less common fruits and vegetables too, such as papaya, mango, kiwi, watermelon, apricots, prunes, olives, etc.
If we are taking the snack to go, I’ll put one of the following in a snack cup: unsalted nuts, whole wheat crackers, blueberries, unsalted pretzels, grapes, raisins, homemade trail mix, dried cranberries, diced bell pepper, cheese, cucumber slices, or diced cherry tomatoes.
- What’s your best tip to make cooking healthy for kiddos easier and less stressful?
First, alleviate your workload by cooking ONE meal the entire family can enjoy. We discourage serving one meal to the adults and a different meal to the kids. After all, who wants to cook twice?! A few examples of delicious, family friendly meals that kids love from our cookbook include Iron Chicken Dance, Mini Basil Meatloaves, English Muffin Pizzas, and Chicken Tikka Masala.
Second, cook in bulk and refrigerate/freeze leftovers for busy evenings when you are short on time. We are cookbook authors, each with two very young children of our own, and even WE can’t pull off cooking fresh, homemade meals for our families every night! We understand that parents are busy and overextended; therefore many of our recipes purposely yield large quantities so that parents can freeze leftovers and enjoy a healthy meal, even on a busy weeknight!
- Many of our readers are on a budget. Do you have any tips for cooking healthy without spending a fortune on groceries?
Purchase whole foods, and we don’t mean the store! Whole foods are natural, unprocessed foods like fresh broccoli, carrots, apples, black beans, etc. These types of foods are much less expensive than frozen, prepared foods like fish sticks, chicken nuggets, frozen lasagnas, etc.
If you are like me and can’t afford to purchase every single item organic, purchase what you can organic if you are able. Meat, dairy, and the dirty dozen are most important to me (in that order).
I find that meat can be very expensive, so once in a while I’ll do a meal with lentils, beans, or eggs as the main protein. Examples from our cookbook include Chana Masala, Basil and Kale Frittata, and Warm Lentils with Cumin and Coriander. Also, chicken thighs are less expensive than chicken breast, and in our experience, children eat them better because they are juicier, so it’s a win-win!
- Anything else you’d like us to know?
What a Good Eater! cookbook includes:
- Beautiful photographs for every single recipe
- Sample food menus and feeding schedules by age
- An abundance of family-friendly meals (because who really wants to cook twice?!)
- 70% of recipes ready in about 30 minutes or less
- Parent guide to frequently asked feeding questions and tips to minimize picky eating
- Healthy toddler snack ideas to both eat at home and take “to go”
- Recipes tested by numerous babies, toddlers, and parents around the United States
- How can we connect with you further?
You can check out our cookbook on Amazon, subscribe to our newsletter and once a month we’ll send you free recipes and tips on feeding your family, or visit our website. You can also follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter!
Thank you so much for sharing your time & expertise, Amy!
And before I let you go, I have to share this fun little video from Amy and Alessandra. This snack has become a favorite in our house!