"I'd rather have my kids growing up with a love of trying new foods ... than fighting with them over every bite that goes into their mouths," Daphne Oz says

By Yvonne Juris
July 31, 2017 04:15 PM
Credit: Leslie Kirchhoff

Daphne Oz doesn’t want her children to be afraid of risk taking — when it comes to food.

In her recent interview with Maisonette, the mother of two revealed that she wants her children to be open to trying new foods and flavors — without fighting with them every night at the dinner table.

“We could feel guilty about basically every parenting choice we make, but I’m not sure that makes anything better,” The Chew co-host says.

“I’d rather have my kids growing up with a love of trying new foods, being unafraid of new textures and flavors, than fighting with them over every bite that goes into their mouths or forcing myself to get into the kitchen when I really just want to order pizza. They only get to be kids once.”

Credit: Leslie Kirchhoff

As the “oldest daughter of the oldest daughter of the oldest daughter,” Oz says she was always in the kitchen with her own mother and grandmother.

“Cooking together is how we bonded and anyone who knows me knows nothing makes me happier than gathering loved ones around a table,” she explains. “I have always been totally fascinated by food. This has made my life a bit complicated at times; I grew up the overweight child in the healthiest of families. Though I had to learn to curb my enthusiasm and lose the weight healthfully, I did so in a way that allowed me to keep my love of food – nothing off limits, no taboos.”

Now that Oz is a mom to son Jovan Jr., 19 months, and daughter Philomena Bijou, 3 — and expecting her third child, a girl, with John Jovanovic this winter — she finds herself once again in the kitchen surrounded by family.

“There are a couple of tricks that have worked really well for me when it comes to getting my kids to eat well. The first is that it all comes down to texture,” she says. “My kids are little and I feel like they get lazy when it comes to big bites, so I mince everything I know is going to be a challenge for them into tiny bits.”

Credit: Leslie Kirchhoff

But one of the greatest gifts — or pieces of parental advice! — Oz, 31, got from her grandmother was to avoid a “battle of egos” with children. However, the mom-to-be does try to stick to a few rules when it comes to taste testing.

“Don’t make your kids resist you more than the food. Especially when it comes to picky eating, I force my kids to at least try every food when it shows up on their plate. Don’t be afraid to make them taste things they ‘hate’ each time you make it – it can take kids 10 to 20 times to develop a taste for something,” she explains.

“Beyond that, I don’t make them eat anything. It’s okay for them to feel some freedom to get to know their own likes and dislikes, and it’s also okay for you to say, ‘This is what the family is eating,’ and not feel compelled to make a whole new meal for one picky eater.”

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In addition to teaching her kids healthy habits, Oz is also proud to show them the benefits of having a working mom.

“I think it’s so important for us to remember that being moms doesn’t mean we stop being women. We’re still allowed to love the things we used to love and be the people we used to be, even though all our priorities are shifted now. We are version 2.0 of ourselves,” Oz says.

“For me, being able to have a career and do what I love makes me happy and fulfilled in ways that I can bring home and share with my family. I try not to have exclusive lives; I let each role feed the others. This is the real juggling act of motherhood: how to meet the needs of everyone who relies on you and take care of yourself, too. The happiest kids have happy parents to show them how it’s done.”