Michael Strahan: How I Get My Kids to Eat Vegetables

04/27/2014 at 06:34 PM ET

Michael Strahan Sprinkles New York Michael Simon/Startraks

Michael Strahan may arguably be the busiest guy in showbiz.

Now that he has a new part-time gig on Good Morning America — in addition to his daily job as cohost on Live! with Kelly & Michael  you would think he would want countless cups of coffee to sustain his energy. But the truth is, he’d rather have a sugary sweet.

“I have the biggest sweet tooth! You name it, I will eat it,” Strahan told PEOPLE at Friday’s grand opening of the Sprinkles Ice Cream shop in New York.

“My all-time favorite is my mother’s butter cake. Every time I go home, my mom will already have the cake made because I love it so much. This makes my siblings mad because they think she favors me. I don’t care because she probably does!”

The former New York Giants football star is now sharing his mother’s butter cake by teaming up with Sprinkles to create his own ice cream flavor called “Mom and Michael’s Masterpiece Mix,” which tastes similar to his favorite sweet treat. Proceeds from sales of the ice cream will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

With such a big indulgence for desserts, are his 9-year-old twin daughters, Sophia and Isabella, allowed to eat as much sugar as Dad?

“They have to ask first. I don’t want them to go excessive, but I want them to enjoy themselves by having something sweet to eat,” he says. “I have the best memories as a kid eating ice cream.”

Strahan recalls that while growing up, he and his father would eat ice cream and watch TV together after dinner. “It was a family tradition that I had with my father,” he says. “It was nice.”

As he makes his own traditions with his kids, they are still expected to eat healthy. Fortunately for Strahan, his youngest children are not picky and love vegetables. The reason why? He leads by example.

“If your kids see what you eat, they will probably eat it too,” he says. “I’m not going to use the old-school policy of what my mother did and say to my kids, ‘Well, if you are hungry enough, you will eat what I put on the table!’ I think my kids have an understanding that if they see what their parents do, they should follow too.”

Another trick Strahan says is to introduce healthy habits early on. “They’ve grown up eating broccoli, green beans and carrots and a lot of fruits since they were babies,” he says. “So they are used to eating it. I’m really lucky that they are not kids who I have to fight with to eat healthy.”

— Paul Chi

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Showing 10 comments

isabell on

I hope his children look like their MOTHER

Danielle on

So I just want Isabelle to know that she’s kind of a snob for the making the comment she did an also say that I think Michael seems like a great guy and loving father…

guest on

Isabell, I hope your children, if you have any, don’t have your brains. What an unnecessary comment.

Susan on

Just guessing the kids mom gets the credit for the kids eating habits. I’m guessing he’s not around too much. Probably in bed at night before the kids!

ariel on

He sees his kids for about 10 minutes a day. He really doesn’t raise them at all.

Lilly on

Busy guy, I’m surprised he has time to eat at all!

Anonymous on

Isabell, your comment is so ridiculous.

Anonymous on

ariel- How do you know how often he sees his kids?

Anonymous on

I think Michael actually has more time with his kids (when he has them- he and their mother are divorced, so obviously they don’t live with him full-time) then most working parents do. I mean, he does TV shows (one of which is part-time) and they generally only take few hours to film. Quite a far cry from the 9-5 jobs most “regular” people have!

Guest on

Good for him to teach the kids eating habits at young age.