While many moms are forced to find creative ways to encourage their toddlers to eat their veggies, actress Tia Mowry-Hardrict is thrilled she doesn’t have to. In fact, son Cree, almost 3, actually requests them — to the surprise of all.
“Recently at one of our favorite restaurants in L.A., I ordered spinach for [him] and there was a mother staring us down, looking at [us] to see if he was really going to eat it!” she says with a laugh.
“But he loves it! He loves spinach, broccoli, quinoa … and he loved pureed organic carrots when he was a baby. It’s all about instilling healthy habits now, so when he gets older, he’ll continue.”
But healthy eating hasn’t always been a part of Mowry-Hardrict’s life. Shortly after tying the knot with actor husband Cory Hardrict in April 2008, the actress, 35, knew she wanted to start a family. However, after an endometriosis diagnosis that resulted in two surgeries, she wasn’t sure it could happen.
Courtesy Tia Mowry-Hardrict
“My gynecologist at the time knew I wanted children, and she said, ‘You know Tia, if you don’t want a third surgery, you will have to change your diet.”
Determined to be healthier — and to avoid a third surgery — she met with a nutritionist who advised the Instant Mom star to include more organic options and to avoid processed foods. Soon after, she found herself pregnant.
“From then on, I knew the power of food,” shares the actress, who scoured the internet for information about how additives, steroids, gluten and processed sugar can affect the body. “I knew how food can be medicine. That’s when my whole journey began with eating organically and extremely healthy.”
After welcoming Cree in June 2011, Mowry-Hardrict remained passionate about healthy eating. But the busy working mom simply didn’t have the time to puree and prepare nutritious, organic foods herself.
Courtesy Tia Mowry-Hardrict
So she ordered regularly, building her son’s penchant for lentils, quinoa, butternut squash and a variety of fruits. “All of the ingredients are real food and don’t include any additives,” she says.
Today, the Mowry-Hardrict family continue to embrace healthy eating together. When dining out, they often check out menus online to vet eateries.
And when all else fails, or options are limited, they turn to their son’s favorite food: Japanese. (Cree loves miso soup and brown rice).
“My mom and dad will look at me and my husband, and they’re like ‘I feel so sorry for this child! He’s not eating fish sticks and pizza!’ I’m like, ‘We try to give it to him, but he doesn’t wanna eat it!’” she says, laughing.
“I’m not one of those parents who says he can never have a cookie, but I’m all about balance. I’m trying to instill in him healthy choices.”