Feeding our kids and introducing them to new and healthy foods can feel like a part-time job in and of itself. A new book from food stylist, photographer and private chef Aliza J. Sokolow, THIS IS WHAT I EAT: Fun Activities for Mindful Eating is full of activities, journal pages and other fun ideas that will help your kids become great eaters. We spoke to Aliza about her new book, which was inspired by her time working for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Plus, she shares her fresh and easy recipe for Israeli Salad that you’ll want to make on repeat.
Congratulations on this wonderful book. You’ve worked on traditional cookbooks before—how did working with Jamie Oliver push you towards working on a book for kids?
Working for Jamie was one of the first real jobs I ever had. It was two or three years into my career. Food Revolution allowed me, specifically, to work with kids who had health issues due to their diet. Some of the kids had Type 2 diabetes. We got to cook together, eat salads and prepare vegetables. And I saw how they loved it and felt better, and I knew it would be my mission to help young people be healthier.
I had worked the art department for TV shows and did some food styling before working for Jamie. After I finished working on that project, I had started a social media agency in the restaurant space. This was pre-Instagram. I was running social media for 20 restaurants on Facebook and Twitter, and then two years later I created Instagram accounts for all of these clients when that platform grew. And I would go to the farmers markets and displayed what these restaurants were using from local farmers.
What is your favorite project, or projects, from the book?
I used to love arts and crafts, and studied to be an architect, actually. So I love how interactive the book is, and I love going through all the colors and seeing kids color in those pages. I love the word search. And personally, the tips for things like growing avocados from pits or growing a tomato plant. I find that when kids grow something themselves, they’re more excited to try it. With avocado you put it in water and watch it grow and then plant it…you’ll be more excited about the end result.
So fun! Any other thoughts on raising great eaters and avoiding picky eaters?
I think letting the kids eat what the parents eat is honestly the best way to raise great eaters, especially if they have a hand in the process.
Great tips! What is one of your favorite recipes for kids?
My Israeli Salad but I make it California-style, adding some seasonal pomegranate seeds and other fruits and veggies. Details below:
1 orange bell pepper
1 handful of tomatoes
1/4c red onion
seeds of 1 pomegranate
1 bunch chopped parsley
juice of 1 lime
salt + pepper
1/4 c of olive oil