Why Padma Lakshmi Is 'Strict' About What Her Daughter, 10, Eats: 'I'll Look Over Her Plate'
"We try to keep our diet 50 percent fruits and vegetables," Padma Lakshmi tells Parents magazine in the October issue
Padma Lakshmi knows a thing or two about keeping a balanced diet — and she's passing her healthy habits down to her daughter.
"There are a lot of things I'm not strict about, like bedtime, but I've always been pretty strict about what she eats," says Lakshmi, 50. "I believe you set a child's eating patterns by the time they're 4 or 5, and the best way to get a child to eat healthily is to eat well yourself."
The mother of one tells Parents that she and Krishna "try to keep our diet 50 percent fruits and vegetables, and Krishna knows that I'll look over her plate" — but they allow splurges, too.
"Mainly, I stress balance," Lakshmi explains. "Last night we had takeout pizza, and Krishna finished it off with Häagen-Dazs, so for the next couple of days we'll have to be healthier."
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At 10 years old, Krishna may still be young, but she's already following in her foodie mom's footsteps in learning how to prepare some staple meals.
"The other day she FaceTimed me to ask, 'Mom, how hot does oil have to be to fry chicken?' I was like, 'What? That's too dangerous!’ But she was adamant about doing it, so I walked her through the steps," Lakshmi recalls.
Krishna "had prepared the egg wash, the breadcrumbs and the flour, and had the paper towels and tongs all ready. She had even salted the breading," says the proud mom.
"When I asked her how she knew how to do it, she said, 'Mom, I've been watching you for years!' " Lakshmi adds.
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The preteen's culinary skills extend to lending her mom a helping hand when she's under the weather, too. "The other day I wasn't feeling well," Lakshmi shares. "And all by herself, Krishna made a dish of couscous, vegetables and Sriracha butter that was exactly what I wanted to eat."
But that doesn't mean Krishna won't take advantage of free food she doesn't have to worry about preparing herself — like when visiting Mom at work.
"Krishna is very comfortable on the [Top Chef] set," Lakshmi says. "She has her own crew pass and zips around on her scooter. But her favorite thing is to raid craft services when I'm not looking."
"I try to get the caterers to rearrange the food so that she can't reach the sugary cereals all the time," she quips.