Do you hear that? It’s the sound of millions of parents, internally screaming in frustration after the dinner they struggled over is unceremoniously dumped on the floor by the youngest, yet most vicious of food critics: children.
Now more than ever, families are cooking at home. Experiencing both the joy and the terror of being quarantined with kids, caregivers are faced with a daily struggle of not only trying to scrounge up three meals a day, but multiple snacks. In a time of pandemic, where stock is low and lines are long, the ability to run out and grab family favorites is now just wishful thinking. Creating interesting, wholesome and nutritious entrees was already a struggle, but now it seems a Sisyphean task.
Enter Catherine McCord, ready and willing to help you push that metaphorical boulder up the hill to victory in the form of L.A.-based, organic meal kit delivery service, One Potato. In this week’s edition of the L.A. Weekly podcast, Publisher Brian Calle and Food Editor Michele Stueven dial in with Catherine to learn the secret of healthy, happy eating for both the young and old.
Catherine is a former model turned entrepreneur that has built a healthy-living empire: authoring three books, founding healthy-eating destination Weelicious.com and launching organic family friendly food delivery service One Potato. From the Victoria’s Secret runway to the family kitchen, this week’s guest shares how her experience as a model helped her to find healthy eating habits. A skill she now uses today to keep her children, and thousands of others, well-nourished.
“One Potato and Weelicious really spotlight trying to bring families together to cook healthy, organic and easy meals,” explains Catherine, describing the recipes she provides. “Nothing is too difficult, it’s just about getting food on the table – things for adults and kids.”
Getting healthy food on the table has become a hot topic recently, due not only to the effects of the pandemic, but also the fears surrounding wellness and its effect on the immune system.
“Building up your immunity is all about making sure you are getting the vitamins, minerals, and essential foods that your body really needs,” Catherine tells our hosts. “People need a lot of Vitamin C. Right now there’s early studies on the effects of Vitamin C and COVID-19.”
Catherine is well-acquainted with the notion that good nutrition can protect against illness. When her son, Kenya, was born, he experienced chronic health issues due to a very sensitive stomach. While she had a culinary background – educated at the prestigious Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in New York – she had no idea how to cook for her child in a nourishing way that was appropriate for his needs. Reaching out to her support network of fellow parents for help, she found many were similarly stumped. Determined to find a solution, she began tinkering with healing smoothies. In doing so, she not only cured her son, but discovered a true calling to help other families eat well. And thus, Weelicious came to life.
“Parents just sort of give up,” says Catherine, expressing the frustration she and others feel trying to feed sensitive or picky children. At the end of the day, sometimes you just do what you need to in order to stop the complaining and get them fed. But, that doesn’t mean the food your serve can’t be wholesome.
“I think so much of why I started Weelicious was about bringing families together at the dinner table,” shares Catherine. “Yes, it’s about the food, but even more importantly it’s about the conversation and the togetherness.” Believing that we’ve lost that sense of commitment to family dinners as a society, she’s working hard to bring back family time at meals.
By putting an end to “special meals” for each kid, and involving them in preparing and cooking, Catherine found that her children happily ate a broader variety of foods.
“So much of it is training our pallet to love fruits and vegetables as much as we love fruits and sugars,” she shares, when pressed for how she managed to accomplish such a feat.
“Sugar is a drug, it’s addictive,” Catherine teaches. “It’s all about balance – have the chocolate cake but also have a salad or smoothie that’s filled with the foods we should be eating.”
While Weelicious had created a community and a platform for healthy eating tips and tricks, One Potato was established as the go-to meal kit for families.
“We’re bringing you homemade food that feels simple and easy so that families have more time to spend with each other and less time in the kitchen struggling with what to make for dinner,” says Catherine. “It’s all about eating together, showing your kids how much you enjoy cooking and eating a variety of foods, and finding fun ways to reinvent foods, such as cauliflower and kale”
“One Potato is a very unique company in that we send meals for two adults and one to four kids. Its priced per child, and everything from start to finish is homemade,” she explains. Delivered weekly, each box features semi-chopped and prepared ingredients along with explicit and easy-to-follow instructions. Taking only 12 to 30 minutes to prepare, the kits are designed to encourage kids to participate in the process of making a meal. One Potato plans are based on family size, how often customers would like to cook (2 or 3 meals), and any dietary restrictions they may have (there are gluten-free and nut-free options).
“We tell kids everything they’re going to do in their life, so food becomes the one thing they have control over,” explains our guest.
Michele agrees, knowing from experience that “if you force anything on them they aren’t going to like it.” You need to encourage a “just try it” philosophy to instill a sense of healthy eating.
With everyone’s budgets affected by the pandemic, Catherine doesn’t want families to sacrifice quality food and quality time. L.A. Weekly readers can use code LAWEEKLY30 for 30% off your first One Potato box and smoothies.
“We love L.A.,” expresses Catherine. “We love everything you guys do, we are grateful and want to give back.”
Tune in to this week’s podcast to learn more about these two incredible companies, as well as how one mom of three managed to change her picky eaters into adventurous chefs.