Meet The 2 Singapore Moms That Want To Inspire Moms Across Asia With Their Healthy Kids Party Food + Healthy Lunchbox Cookbooks
Many moms living in Asia can attest to the fact that it isn’t always easy to find recipes in the kitchen that are adapted to our modern lifestyles. Online searches and cookbook shelves for healthy recipes tend to be either too reliant on ingredients that are hard to find/expensive in Asia, or if one turns to more regional flavours for inspiration, they often lack the healthy twist that have become the mainstay of modern home cooking.
Two Singapore-based expat mothers with a passion for feeding their families wholesome meals felt there was a real need for simple, nutritious and delicious recipes that were adapted to life in Asia. Together, they have the perfect recipe synergy needed for a children’s cookbook: motherhood, a background in gastronomy and training in healthy eating. Their mission is to make healthy eating for kids accessible, easy and convenient, especially when it comes to school lunches and children’s birthday parties, situations where being healthy has traditionally been a struggle what with school cafeterias’s low budgets and kids’ love of sugary foods. Enter Nutritious and Delicious Kids Party Food and The Rosy Cheeked Kids: Nutritious And Delicious Lunch Boxes, the ideal solution for busy parents!
Both Luboff and Reiter understand what it means to be a full-time involved mom (they each have two kids) and balance that with a demanding career. When she is not sharing her gorgeously-photographed meals and forays into ktichenware pottery on her popular blog Chili & Clay (one of Green Queen’s personal favourites), Cordon Bleu-trained professional chef Luboff is a well-known food stylist and recipe developer. Karin Graubard-Reiter is a medical nutritionist, certified fitness instructor and lifestyle coach- she travels all around the region teaching cooking classes, giving nutrition talks, hosting supermarket shopping visits- all of this while maintaining her Nutritious & Delicious blog.
Their multitude of skills came in handy when putting together the books. The uber-accomplished moms did absolutely everything themselves, from recipe development, to food styling, to photography to writing/editing to layout design. Talk about talented! Below we talk to them about what’s in their pantry at all times, what their kids won’t eat and what their favorite Asian flavours are!
What made you write this book? And why an e-book rather than a print book?
CL: I’ve always felt that I had so many ideas waiting to be shared with like-minded people. Meeting Karin and joining our passions for nutrition, food photography and styling was what gave me the confidence to make my dream reality. Our main approach when producing an e-book was the flexibility of a fast, worldwide reach.
KGR: Having kids myself, venturing out to kids parties, inviting kids to my home or sending my kids to play dates have opened my eyes to how important educating parents and children alike about healthy food is. I would like to see the healthy, environmentally-responsible trend become mainstream and my job (together with Clara) through these books is to show people that serving healthy food can be delicious and very easy. An e-book saves on space and saves the trees, two things I am passionate about.
What is your food philosophy summed up?
CL: Fresh, tasty, simple and balanced.
KGR: Fresh, local, organic where possible, simple, easy and made with love.
What are the most successful recipes/meals your kids? What are the biggest misses?
CL: My kids love roasted cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, or vegetables and egg fritters. They are also obsessed with frozen banana and berries smoothies (at home we call it healthy ice cream). They are not big fans of curries and meat patties.
KGR: My kids love veggie soups, Israeli salad, home made avocado/mango/chia sushi, fresh grilled fish, tahini, homemade ice lollies using fruit smoothies & raspberry vanilla home-brewed kombuch. They don’t like spicy foods much. Overall though, I am lucky that they are very easy eaters and will pretty much try anything you give them!
Do you eat the same food as your kids?
CL: Yes, except I add chili on my food and they don’t.
KGR: Yes, 100%!
What do you always have in stock in your pantry?
CL: Extra virgin olive oil, nuts, dried fruits, seeds, coconut milk and rice.
KGR: Nut butters, dried fruits, raw nuts and seeds, good quality extra virgin oil, oats, tamari, lentils and legumes, a variety of gluten-free flours (my daughter and myself are celiac), quinoa pasta, whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat, millet and spices.
What are your favorite Asian ingredients?
CL: Thai basil, kaffir lime leaves, kai lan and lemongrass.
KGR: Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, ginger and turmeric.
How did you start cooking?
CL: I graduated as a Le Cordon Bleu chef in Australia in 2003, then worked in Sydney as a chef for a couple of years, until I started working as a recipe developer for Donna Hay magazine. Since 2008, I have been working as a food stylist and recipe developer for magazines and cookbooks in Australia and Singapore.
KGR: I started cooking when I moved out of my parents house at the age of 21. I knew nothing at all. I had fabulous inspiration at home (from my mum, mother-in-law and even my husband, all of whom are great cooks). I became passionate about cooking when I started to learn about nutrition.
What are your favourite indulgence foods?
CL: Hot chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream.
KGR: Raw vegan chocolate- I am a chocoholic.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about healthy eating?
CL: The fact that healthy eating is boring! Adding fresh flavors such as lemon zest, fresh herbs, chilies and spices is the secret to transforming any boring meal into one packed with flavor.
KGR: That is it hard, expensive and time consuming. I always tell parents that making a smoothie takes the same amount of time as pouring cereal into a bowl.
Many people think of being healthy as expensive, especially in Asia. What are your thoughts?
CL: Buying local Asian fruits and vegetables from local wet markets is the answer. There is such a great variety of exotic produce available, and that’s always been my excuse to try something new. My kids love tropical mangosteen, snake fruit and rose apples, which we never came across when living in Australia.
KGR: I agree it can be a little more expensive. Using the clean 15 and dirty dozen list will help you save on organic produce. Cutting back on your coffeeshop drink/ store-bought lunch will save you a fortune, savings which you could put towards the weekly grocery. It’s also important to understand that you can pay with your pocket or pay with your health- it’s up to you to decide what’s more important.
Don’t forget to download your copy of Nutritious and Delicious Kids Party Food (USD 11.99) and The Rosy-Cheeked Kids: Nutritious And Delicious Lunch Boxes (USD 9.99).