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Cooking with Her kids
How does cooking with your daughter Rain inspire creativity?
She is such a great little sous chef. It’s fun for me to have a partner in the kitchen. We’ll do, let’s say, a Taco Tuesday, or we’ll play chef, and we pretend like her dad and her little brother are coming to her restaurant. She’ll put on her little apron that matches mine and she’s got a miniature knife. She’s 10 years old, and she has incredible skills from chopping to sautéing. She has an amazing palate as well, and I think that’s from exposing her to different types of cuisine.
What types of nutrient-rich fare do you prepare and eat together?
My husband is French, so we eat a lot of fennel. Rain and I make a beautiful fennel apple salad with celery, lemon, and olive oil. I’ll do lots of shredded carrots, and I’ll put sunflower seeds in there with a nice vinaigrette dressing. I definitely like to eat seasonal foods. For summer, we’ll grill fish or roast chicken or do a salad with blackened salmon on top. I think if you understand food, and you are not afraid to try to prepare certain meals and to start with something that’s less challenging, you really can figure out a healthier way of feeding your family. Keep it colorful, keep it simple.
Any tips on getting kids to eat healthy snacks?
I try to play a game with my kids to eat the colors of the rainbow. “Did you eat anything purple besides grapes? Have you ever tried an eggplant? What shades of green did you find?” They sort of understand that value and that energy. I think that lesson is important because they know they’re going to grab a colorful piece of fruit. I have a snack jar for my kids that’s not full of junk. I say, “Make sure you grab a piece of fruit and stick it in your lunch and then grab something that’s a little bit more fun so there’s a balance.” My refrigerator is full of fresh food with to-go options. And hard-boiled eggs are fun for school—and easy!
How do you use food to stay fit and connect with your sense of well-being?
I avoid all the packaged stuff and refined sugars and bad fats—but I promise you I eat. I eat olive oil. I eat avocados. I drink wine. On Sunday nights I’ll make pasta and enjoy it with no guilt, and then I’ll get back on my program. I’m always telling people to give yourself a little bit of a cheat day. I write a lot on Modern Mom about designing a way of eating that you enjoy and that works for your body. Design something you can sustain, then give yourself a break once a week. Get it out of your system. Do something active. We’re so stuck on these extreme diets—but I believe it’s easier to just develop a lifestyle of health and wellness all year long.
When Brooke Burke-Charvet calls health and fitness “a huge part of my life,” she means it. The former Dancing with the Stars winner incorporated her Booty Burn workout into a winning sales pitch on Celebrity Apprentice, netting her charity, Operation Smile, $50,000. And she’s continued to shine a light on stories of triumph as host of Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Hidden Heroes.
But the brunette beauty, 45, draws much of her energy by sharing her passion in her Malibu-based fitness studio and kitchen. “I’ve been teaching my Booty Burn fitness class for five years, and I love it,” she says. “It’s so fulfilling, and it’s such a great group of women and such a gift to be able to inspire people. The fitness part is valuable, but the spiritual and the health part is so much more important than just vanity.”
The mom of four also approaches meal-making with purpose—often with the help of her children, especially daughter Rain. “I don’t have an education in the kitchen, but I’m sort of taught and powered by a family of six,” she says. “So even if you’re a home chef, you can’t be afraid to try new things.”
Burke-Charvet also has a podcast, The Brooke Burke Show, which she describes as “an unvarnished continuation” of her 2012 book by the same title. “I’m covering everything from health, wellness, and fitness to inspirational people, love, family, and relationships. It’s very uncensored and I want to stay humorous at times, because I think we have to laugh a lot along the way. And it’s kind of how I dance through the chaos of my life.”
Burke-Charvet recently launched a fitness app, Brooke Burke Body (BBBody), which is available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon. The app allows fans to work out together with Brooke anytime. From her backyard to the beach, BBBody features renowned trainers and workouts done with Burke-Charvet.