Zooey Deschanel's Awesome Parenting Hack to Get Her Kids to Love Broccoli

Zooey Deschanel is raising her two kids — Elsie Otter, 3, and Charlie Wolf, 15 months — to flip out (in a good way) over wholesome food. Her clever parenting hack? A family garden.

Deschanel and her husband, Jacob Pechenik, are a healthy food team — and their passion for feeding their family well started in her pregnancies. “He kept asking what I was eating,” Deschanel told Us. “He was extremely curious about how we could optimize the baby’s health by investing time into and researching what the best foods were to eat.”

"Optimize the baby’s health"? Well, Pechenik is a chemical engineer, so we give him a pass on his odd phrasing. We get what you mean, Jacob.

Deschanel and Pechenik became fascinated by the connection between food and family. “It wasn’t like we were eating unhealthy and then we just cleaned up our act,” Deschanel explained. “We ultimately landed on what was healthiest for us and the planet.” 

What they "landed on" was simple but pretty genius: a garden to show Elsie and Charlie where food really comes from (especially those green veggies that are so hard to coax kids to eat). “When we started keeping a garden, our daughter became more interested,” Deschanel said. “She sees broccoli growing and we say, ‘You can eat this!’” Slay, Deschanel!

The family also experiments with all kinds of spices. OK, probably no dried ghost peppers (yet), but still. “It’s a wonderful way of changing their minds about things they’re not ordinarily attracted to… If you put lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt on anything, it’s going to taste delicious,” Deschanel enthused.

Deschanel and Pechenik go light on the sweets too. But Deschanel admits it’s "hard with birthday parties… We try to be reasonable."

And clever. Instead of cupcakes, Deschanel whips up batches of zucchini muffins with Elsie. “She puts the little cupcake liners in the tins. It’s easy for her and she feels like she’s a part of it. It’s always fun!"

Deschanel and her hubby have become such foodies, they launched the ATTN series Your Food’s Roots

We love Deschanel’s commitment to teaching her kids (and everyone else) about wholesome, sustainable food. And tell us why we didn’t think of a family garden.

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