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What's for Dinner Mom?

The dinner dilemma: healthy or fast? Do you have to choose one over the other?

As parents, we all strive to serve up a healthy meal whenever the family finds the time to gather around the table.

For some, dinner is sacred time, when stories are shared as well as highlights of the day. 

And then there are those of us who, due to practices, games, and schedules beyond our control are forced to serve some meals on the run.

The conundrum for all remains the same - getting a meal on the table that meets two requirements:

1. It’s healthy a.k.a. not laden with fat and sodium;

2. AND the kids will eat it!

Wars have been waged about sneaking healthy ingredients into dishes or pureeing veggies from birth so it’s all kids know vs. flat-out telling them, “This pepper is healthy. You will eat it!”

I am not here to fight either side of the battle. But I do feel the pain when I take the time to make a nice meal and it gets pooh-poohed by 2/5 of the kids!

But how do I feel good about dinner when I am serving up boxed mac-'n'-cheese or chicken nuggets again? Aha! I met the solution just last week!

Introducing The Meal Makeover Moms at www.mealmakeovermoms.com!

The friendly duo of Janice Bissex and Liz Weiss made their way to Hooray for Books last Thursday.

Maybe it was the combination of teaching kids to read with a side of cooking that intrigued them to come interview me and record a podcast.

Maybe I reached out to them because, as a mom of five who has already dished up a million meals, but likely has a billion more to go, I was on the hunt for a better way!

Janice and Liz are seasoned (pun intended) moms to four kids. They are all about giving recipes bogged down with sodium, high fat content and more, a makeover!

Hey, if we can learn to slim down, dress better and find a spouse with a makeover, a new meal should be a cinch right?

They came, they interviewed, and they observed a class.  

Our theme was farms/gardens. In usual HFB fashion, we served up a heaping cup of humor.

Dressed in my fruit hat (no, not fruitcake) I explained that we were making zucchini bread but I wasn’t sure what a zucchini looked like.

My large grocery bag was stuffed, but the kids helped me as I unpacked a green lime, green pepper, green ginger ale, a green rolling pin and more silly items in my quest to find the elusive zucchini!

After a funny story we washed hands, donned aprons and twelve 4 to 5 year olds helped whip up some delicious zucchini bread before the MMM departed for their headquarters in Melrose.

These two have written two cookbooks, the latest one being No Whine with Dinner. 

The books are filled with delicious recipes that parents can make somewhat effortlessly and kids will actually eat without complaint!

I was impressed with the small changes they made that yielded big results. Skip white flour and go with wheat flour for baking. Or dial down your cream cheese to the low-fat kind.

That was just the tip of the iceberg. I can guarantee we will be adapting many of our baked treats at Hooray for Books to Janice and Liz's recommendations.

Janice and Liz are registered dietitians who knew there must be a better way.

They are on a crusade to help parents fight obesity and help kids learn about simple meal prep and the rewards of healthy eating.

Their podcast listeners hail from across the USA and they have quite a following on Facebook  and Twitter, with giveaways galore!

Both have travelled the world learning from experts and attending seminars so I am all for tapping into their expertise! 

I also like how they always list the before and after so you can really see what is being changed in the recipe for the better!

 “We loved visiting Hooray for Books and meeting you," Janice said. "What a truly unique concept you have created; enticing children to read with a memorable, yet edible side of cooking.

"We will let you know when our podcast interview/blog post goes live," she continued. "Thanks again for a great visit and a delicious lunch!”

The Meal Makeover Moms left me with 10 copies of their cookbook. The books normally sell for $25 plus shipping but I have them at HFB for just $20 each. Please email me if you’d like to order a copy and live in the MetroWest area! If you become a fan of MMM and Hooray for Books and post a comment on the HFB Facebook page why YOU need this cookbook by Monday, June 6,  one lucky winner will get the book FREE!  Happy summer cooking one and all!

Mary Murphy is the mom of five kids ages 18-6, owner of Hooray for Books in Hopkinton and wife of Selectman Brian Herr. For more funny stories and smart tips from a busy mom check out her blog

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