Sunday, July 8, 2012

Meal Makeover Moms Interview

The Meal Makeover Moms are two dietitians, Janice Newell Bissex and Liz Weiss. They are two moms who are helping other families change their eating to healthy and nutritious fare.

Meal Makeover Moms have a weekly podcast as well as a mom's club you can join for free. You can also view many cooking videos Liz and Janice have put together. In their current book, The Moms’ Guide to Meal Makeovers you will learn their 5 step meal makeover plan to change your families eating.

They are a delightful pair who I enjoy listening to on their weekly podcast. They have shared some great healthy eating tips and ideas on getting started in this interview.

Thanks so much for the interview Janice and Liz!

You use canola oil to replace butter often in your recipes. Do you have other substitutes you might recommend for healthier cooking?
Yes! We typically replace half the white flour in a recipe with whole wheat flour, and sometimes add a little bit of ground flaxseed, wheat germ, or finely ground nuts for even more nutrients and fiber.

We use low-fat dairy and lean cuts of meat (such as 90% lean ground beef— or higher, loin and sirloin cuts, and flank steak) to keep saturated fat in check. We also tend to use kosher salt (Diamond Crystal kosher salt has half the sodium of regular table salt) and omega-3 eggs. We never throw away the egg yolks, since that’s where much of the good nutrition in an egg is found (things like lutein, choline, and vitamin D).

Do you have a favorite or a family favorite recipe you've made over?
Our makeover of spaghetti and meatballs is really delicious. We use lean ground turkey breast in place of ground beef, and add grated carrot, oats, ground flax seed, seasonings, Parmesan cheese, and egg into the meatball mixture.

We serve these meatballs with sauce over whole wheat blend pasta. One serving has 8g of fiber and 60% Vitamin A, but more importantly this meal is a big hit with families!

Can you share your process of creating new recipes?
When we go into the kitchen to create a recipe nutrition is always top of mind (after all, we’re dietitians!), but taste is our number one priority. As moms ourselves we realize that no matter how super-nutritious a meal may be, unless it appeals to kids in a big way, they just won’t eat it.

We look at recipes and see how we can tweak them to be healthier, tastier, and easier to prepare for busy families. Then, the fun begins with a panel of taste testers – family, friends, and neighbors – who taste the recipe and offer feedback. We tweak and retest until the recipe is well liked by the majority of kid testers.

Some healthy eating tips seem far fetched or hard to follow with kids. You have down to earth easy ideas to help moms in the kitchen. What is one way (I know there are a lot of ways) moms can implement healthy eating in their family diet? We suggest that moms make small changes that are not overwhelming (and have a big impact on nutrition). Improving eating habits one week at a time seems to work best. For example: Add one extra fruit or vegetable serving each day for the first week. Then in week two, serve one high-fiber grain food per day. Week three might involve cutting back on consumption of sugary beverages, like soda and juice ‘drinks’. By taking it slow, moms can make realistic changes that they can sustain for the long term.

You have available a great cookbook. Any thoughts on when your next cookbook will be out or a clue as to what will be included in your next cookbook.
Our first book, The Moms’ Guide to Meal Makeovers was released in 2004. The next book, No Whine with Dinner, was released in October 2010. It contains 150 healthy, kid-tested recipes as well as 50 moms’ secrets for getting picky eaters to try new foods. These tips are creative and sure to help moms who are frustrated trying to get their kids to eat a wholesome diet.

Every recipe in the book has been tested and approved by moms and, more importantly, kids across the country. Their feedback is included in the book along with photos of the testers and the recipe they tested.

We are confident that this cookbook will be the go-to resource for busy parents who are committed to feeding their families a healthy diet. More information can be found at 

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