These statistics weigh heavily on the minds of husband and wife Sean and Jennifer Kagy, both of whom are full-time chefs. Jennifer is a corporate chef for Matson Money as well as a private holistic health and nutrition coach/chef, and Sean is the executive chef for the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State. Both have recently become managing partners of Tavern on the Hill in Mount Adams, and if that didn’t keep them busy enough, they’re the parents of two very active teenagers, Christian, 15, and Alexandra, 12.
The Kagys take an active role in making sure that their children are eating a wholesome, well-balanced diet, visiting farmers markets and purchasing fresh foods without additives. They follow a mostly plant-based diet, and thanks to a recent Mother’s Day gift of a Breville juicer from Alexandra, their fridge is stocked with glass jars filled with jewel-toned fruit and veggie juices.
“I love it when we visit the farmers markets and everyone is digging into the bags, eating things before we even get home, especially the vegetables and Blue Oven bread,” Jennifer says.
Outside of shopping together, the Kagys get their kids invested in what they eat by bringing them into the kitchen to help prepare their own meals.
“We’ve brought them into the kitchen since they were old enough to stand on a stool and stir and chop,” Jennifer says. “Cooking teaches valuable life skills, so they’re not buying every meal out or buying frozen dinners. They learn math skills as well. We put a heavy emphasis on the healthy side — like how to make food taste really good so you don’t need all of the extra sugar and fat, all the stuff that’s not good for you.”
Getting the kids involved isn’t difficult at all. “I like it. It’s fun,” Alexandra says.
“A lot of times the kids just jump in,” Jennifer adds. “We eat at home six days a week. We pack school lunches every day.
They just jump in wherever they’re needed. Christian will make pancakes, eggs, even homemade french-fries from a recipe he got from YouTube.”
The Kagys’ healthy eating strategy isn’t limited to the younger generation. Even the grown-ups need help once in a while.
“We’re trying to get Sean to eat more vegetables,” Jennifer says.
This grilled cauliflower recipe is a family favorite and perfect for summer. Kids can help whisk and brush.Grilled Chipotle Lime Cauliflower Steaks
- 2 large cauliflower heads
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 limes, zested and juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges, to serve
Another easy, kid-friendly recipe Jennifer recommends are Sriracha deviled eggs.
Siracha Deviled Eggs
- 12 hard-cooked eggs
- 1/3 cup Sriracha Mayo (recipe follows)
- 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
For the Sriracha Mayo:
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste
Instructions: Split the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the egg yolks. Using a fork, break up the yolks in a mixing bowl. Stir in the Sriracha Mayo, mustard, salt, and pepper, blending well. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe the yolk mixture back into the egg whites. Top with the chives. Serve or cover and refrigerate immediately.