Jenny Mollen‘s new cookbook Dictator Lunches will change the way you think about your kid’s food!
The idea was conceived a few years ago when Jenny found herself “bored” preparing lunch for her son who just started preschool. “I wanted to entertain myself so I got creative,” Jenny — who shares Sid, 8, and Lazlo, 4, with husband Jason Biggs — tells In Touch. “At the time, we didn’t really have much in the way of bento box materials but I did have — as every mom does — a Benadryl syringe so I started using that to pipe yogurt inside the raspberries that I would put in his lunch to send as mini parfaits.”
Adds Jenny, “I always just believed the more we dumb down food for kids the more dumb food they consume, I don’t want to underestimate a child’s palette just because they’re a child and I don’t think you have to.”
She says it wasn’t long before she “went all in” on lunch ideas — much to the teacher’s dismay, who would send home notes, Jenny says, saying “ma’am, can you please stop sending steamed bao buns with instructions on how to reheat them, send something simple and not so ornate.”
Jenny’s now teaming up with Egglife Foods to help parents pack a healthy lunch for school this fall. “I’m such a big believer in cutting down on the grain…and now, there is a way for me to send a healthy wrap to school that has five grams of protein, two egg whites, and comes in multiple flavors. If I want to go savory I can do an everything bagel flavor wrap with some cream cheese and some lox but if I want to do something sweet I can use the cinnamon flavor and do an almond butter raspberry jam situation and my kids are thrilled.”
Jenny jokes that her husband, American Pie actor Jason Biggs, grew up eating processed cheese and didn’t “know what romaine lettuce was until he was about 30 years old. Adding, “A lot of times I run into moms who say, ‘Well, it’s too late for me, they’re already eating Doritos and I’ve let them have soda and now I don’t know how to dial it back,'” she recalls. “I would say this is a battle worth fighting. You have to really double down on your belief system and say, ‘I’m sorry, it’s my house and this is what we’re having for dinner, you’re going to eat what I’m eating, and I’m not making a second meal for you.’ I got away with it because I really was hell-bent and stuck to my guns.”
Dictator Lunches is available for preorder and hits book stands on September 13.
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