The actress recently partnered with Raised Real, a meal delivery service for babies through preschoolers

By Kate Hogan
October 30, 2019 08:52 AM

When Nikki Reed‘s daughter started solids, the actress quickly realized she had a discerning eater on her hands.

“I was finding myself feeling deflated by the cooking process,” the 31-year-old tells PEOPLE. “Before she was born, I had this vision of cooking everything, giving her plenty of greens … then you quickly realize the greatest lesson, which is that your child is born exactly who they are and your job is just to help them navigate the world.”

Since coming to terms with Bodhi‘s palate — “She’d pick a tomato over a piece of cake any day,” the mom of one says — Reed, who along with husband Ian Somerhalder, strives to live a zero-waste lifestyle, has gotten more creative with her cooking. And in the process, she discovered Raised Real, an organic, clean meal delivery services for kids that ships pre-portioned, ready-to-steam portions to your door — including a just-launched line of Breakfast Oats — starting at $4.99 apiece.

Credit: Vivien Killilea/Getty

“I actually approached the company myself as a fan, consumer and mom,” Reed, an advisor to the brand, says. “We organically formed a partnership that ended up growing into something so much more. Now I’m involved in different aspects of the company, from marketing and product development to the everyday brainstorming of it all, to being an actual customer myself.”

Reed says she grew up with “an amazing mom who was just trying to make ends meet,” so her diet was a mix of home-cooked meals and fast food — “whatever we could make happen.”

With Bodhi, now 2, she’s focused on a more plant-based lifestyle and dedicated to eliminating food waste in her home, a commitment shared by Raised Real.

“Honestly I eat it as much as she does,” Reed adds. “I’m really busy, too! They do everything for you, adding nut butters and oils, chopping the fruits and nuts, those little added benefits. Kids love the color and flavor — it makes it as fun as nutritious.”

Though Bodhi’s feelings about the food can change by the day — “I love the chickpea/broccoli combo, but broccoli can sometimes be an interesting texture for Bodhi,” Reed says of one of the meals — Mom considers her daughter’s preferences “just par for the course. It’s the same kind of challenge any parent faces,” she adds.

Another challenge the actress recently faced was winding down her nursing journey with her daughter.

“I feel so lucky to have been able to do it for more than two years,” she says, adding that she’s “comfort nursing” here and there. “And I think it’s nice there’s such a good discussion and global movement around nursing right now — it’s important for women to celebrate their experiences as moms, their bodies, their struggles. And it provides space for people to talk about what happens when they can’t breastfeed, too. Moms need other moms to lean on.”

“But no one talks about postpartum weaning,” she adds of the feelings she’s been experiencing as Bodhi stops nursing. “I remember calling a girlfriend of mine and asking about it — she said it’s normal to feel weepy when you have hormones shifting in your body as your milk is drying up.”

“I said, ‘Thank God you told me that!’ ” Reed adds. “I didn’t know what was going on. But it’s important to have people to talk about that with, and the Internet has provided such a good community for people to share their stories and lean on each other in a way you couldn’t before social media. I feel grateful for that.”