Learn how your favorite stars find balance between healthy meals and kid-friendly foods.
Regardless of celebrity status, all parents fight the same battle: making sure their kiddos eat healthy food as much as possible. And while some kids turn out to be budding foodies with sophisticated palettes, most little ones are your run-of-the-mill picky eaters — no matter how famous their parents are.
So how do celebrity parents tackle the fruit-and-vegetable battle with their kids? Here are the healthy eating tricks of your favorite famous families:
1. Hilary Duff
The “Younger” actress and single mom to 5-year-old Luca told People, “He loves olives in his lunchbox! It’s so bizarre. But then he won’t touch his turkey sandwich. I’m like, ‘You are your mother’s child, you love salty things!'”
Luca not only inherited his mother’s good looks, but also her appetite; however, she’s not as big of a picky eater as her son.
“All of a sudden he’ll go through a stage where he won’t want to touch spinach, so he is picky but adventurous,” Duff said. “He’s picky, but he would crush that cheese plate! There’s this cheese shop [in Beverly Hills] he loves to go to because they give him salami and prosciutto and weird cheeses, and he houses it!”
2. Alicia Silverstone
The “Clueless” actress swears by a vegan diet, and keeps her son, Bear, on a similar meal plan.
When he was still a newborn, she wrote in her book, The Kind Life, “Bear was grown on vegan food, and we’ll continue nourishing him with a healthy diet… He’ll be eating an organic, plant-based diet. I intend to take great care of his precious, new baby body, so I’m committed to giving him nothing but the purest and most healthy food possible. We want to keep his immune system strong, so that he’ll be super healthy – which is just one of the many reasons he’ll eat vegan.”
True to her word, Silverstone now packs the 5-year-old’s lunches with tofu, carrots, grapes, and a cheese, arugula, and tomato sandwich. Talk about a vegan’s dream!
3. Rochelle Humes
Her latest idea, as shared on her Instagram story, involved compartmentalizing each dish into small plates, following a maze path. Being British, she included “fish and chips” on the lunch menu, of course. Three-year-old Alaia then journeyed from a small fish portion to a few french fries, a veggie blend, more fish, more veggies, and so on, until she reached a “Finished!” sign, that revealed a handful of jelly beans for dessert.
We love Humes’ creativity — and so did Alaia!
4. Kourtney Kardashian
The oldest Kardashian sibling keeps all three of her little ones on a strict gluten- and dairy-free diet, as she revealed on her website.
“For lunch, we usually have carrots and celery with hummus and a gluten-free rice tortilla with sliced turkey meat or turkey dogs — no bun,” she wrote. “Dinner consists of steamed vegetables, rice or gluten-free pasta and a protein of chicken, turkey or fish.”
Leave it to Kourtney to run such a tight ship.
5. Neil Patrick Harris
NPH and his husband David Burtka are definitely foodies, as evident from the star’s Instagram feed. That means when it’s time to feed their 5-year-old twins Harper and Gideon, meals are anything but boring. Burtka’s food-filled ‘gram showcases all the kids’ favorite dishes, whipped up by both Dads and the twins.
And the family of four doesn’t skimp on presentation: Whether it’s a smiley face or Pac-Man characters, cute plating seems to be a staple of the Harris-Burtka family’s kid-friendly meals.
6. Jillian Michaels
The fitness trainer told Us Weekly that her daughter, Lukensia, is quite the avid snacker, so Michaels makes sure her girl only eats healthy ones. Lukensia’s favorite? Fruit. Michaels will toss in a fresh peach or tangerine from their backyard orchard or a baggie of apple slices.
Also in Lukensia’s lunch box are different combinations of organic seaweed snacks, snap pea crisps, watermelon, grass-feed meatballs with tomato sauce, sushi avocado rolls from Whole Foods, edamame snack packs, Paul Newman organic cookies, organic Justin’s peanut butter cups, and Popchips. (Jillian, make an extra lunch for us? Thanks.)
The final touch: “We’ll always leave her notes on a napkin,” Michaels said. “Normally I’ll draw a picture because that’s easier than having her decode a three- or four-letter word. Or I’ll leave a little kiss mark with some lip gloss.” Aww!
7. Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen
It’s no secret that a pro-football player and supermodel need to keep their diets in line. And while the couple has become famous for their super strict grocery list, their personal chef, Allen Campbell, told The Boston Globe that their clan eats the same.
“Ninty percent of the time, they all eat the same thing. I cook for the kids, but Gisele makes Benny’s lunch to take to school. She packs that herself,” Campbell said.
Bundchen revealed that the family of four sticks to a plant-based meal plan because of its positive impact on the environment. “We all love it,” she told People. “It’s not only good for our health and makes us feel good, but it is also good for the planet!”
Their kids may have more sophisticated palettes than most of us, though: “Yesterday I made veggie sushi for the kids. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. It’s brown rice, avocado, carrot, and cucumber,” Campbell said. “The kids like [it] maki-style, so the rice is on the outside. And I do it with a ponzu sauce, which is uzu and tamari. [I use] tamari because we stick to gluten-free for everything.”
“For snacks, I make fruit rolls from bananas, pineapple, and spirulina. Spirulina is an algae. It’s a super fruit. I dehydrate it,” Campbell said. “I dehydrate a lot of things. I have three dehydrators in their kitchen. I also make raw granola and raw chocolate chip cookies.”
How do we score an invite to snack time?
8. Tia Mowry
The “Sister, Sister” star’s 5-year-old son Cree follows the same clean eating and dairy-free plan she used to beat her unhealthy teen eating habits. Based on her Instagram posts, Mowry’s two main men (Cree and husband Cory Hardrict) can’t get enough of her clean, delicious meals.
9. Reese Witherspoon
The Draper James creator certainly knows a thing or two about cute home decor and accessories, so it’s no surprise that 4-year-old Tennessee’s lunch box would be adorable, too. It doesn’t stop at the outside, though. The actress and mom-of-three decorates all of her toddler’s sandwiches, pizzas, waffles, and quiche slices with fruit and veggie smiley faces.
How could Tennessee not be a happy child when his food smilies back at him?
10. Jennifer Lopez
J.Lo attributes her famous bod to a vegan diet, and it’s worked so well at keeping her healthy and happy that she’s been raising her 9-year-old twins, Max and Emme, the same way.
“When I started [eating vegan], I got the whole household on board,” she told Extra. “They won’t love everything right away, when you go from regular milk to almond milk or rice milk, it’s a big change, but little by little they get into it.”
However, J.Lo (just like every mom) sometimes has to battle her kids’ pleas for junk food.
“I came in from my first two appointments and I had to start getting ready for this and when I left, [my kids] were eating hot dogs and I was like okay, I’m going to let that go,” she told E! News. “And then I got back and they suggested tacos for dinner and I said no! We’re going to do chicken breasts. We’re going to make a cobb salad. You can have a little bread and butter but come on, let’s be serious here. Just because I’m working today doesn’t mean it’s like taco, pizza, hot dogs day. It was crazy.”
And that’s how a busy mom handles that.
11. Rachel Bilson
“The O.C.” alum is an avid cook (as evidenced by her Instagram) and often bakes with her “mini-me,” aka 2-year-old daughter, Briar Rose. Bilson is teaching her little girl early that you are never too young for yummy, healthy food by making homemade matching meals for Mom, Dad, and daughter. Sounds good to us!
12. Jimmy Kimmel
This year’s Academy Awards host not only makes homemade pizza for the whole family for dinner, but his 2-year-old daughter, Jane, gets a specialty breakfast: “Finding Dory” pancakes. Talk about a lucky kid!
13. Jessica Alba
Alba’s 8-year-old daughter, Honor Warren, likes it spicy. The super-svelte mom told Delish that her daughter requests Cholula on everything: tacos, breakfast, roasted chicken. The actress shared that Honor knows exactly what types of food she likes, which also include Cream of Wheat, pancakes, fried salami that her dad Cash Warren makes, and hot chocolate topped with plenty of whipped cream.
Other favorites for Honor and her 5-year-old sis Haven?
“Carrot and avocado salad topped with homemade dressing — a blend of lime juice, coconut water, olive oil, salt and pepper,” Alba said. “They go bananas for it. They’ll chow on that, even if they have their favorite pasta or hamburgers, or whatever with it, they’ll eat that first. I don’t even have to ask them to eat their veg.” Lucky Alba!
14. Vanessa and Nick Lachey
What’s in son Camden’s Superman lunch box? According to Mom’s Instagram, he’ll eat half a banana, some raisins, grape tomatoes, and a sandwich. But it’s not any ole sandwich — Vanessa uses seasonal cookie cutters to create fun shapes for his meal. (Sounds like a lunch the Man of Steel himself would approve of!)
Another battle we can relate to: how to get the kids with a sweet tooth to eat their fruits and veggies. “I used to have to hide berries in his [Camden’s] yogurt to get him to eat them, but then I taught him how to stick raspberries on his fingertips — this is the best way to get kids to eat them — and now he’s hooked,” Vanessa told Delish in 2015.
15. Tiffani Thiessen
The daughter of “Saved By The Bell” alum likes to eat healthy just like her mom. “Really, it’s about leading by example and growing our own stuff,” Thiessen told Cooking Light. “My daughter will pull kale right off the planter boxes and eat it. Last year, we grew pumpkins and squash. She’s interested in cooking with me and loves watching me make risotto.”
Six-year-old Harper loves eating carrots and hummus, Thiessen told Us Weekly. So, for school lunches, the actress tries to find unique and creative ways to get her daughter to eat healthy and tasty meals. And, between oatmeal energy bites, corn dog muffins, and avocado brownies, boy does she succeed!
16. Sarah Jessica Parker
The “Sex and the City” actress and her husband Matthew Broderick cook with plenty of veggies handpicked from their backyard garden. And, as noted on her Instagram feed, the meals are always a hit with the whole fam. (Pasta and veggies do well with their brood.)
To complete their meals, 7-year-old daughter Tabitha keeps the famous family of five hydrated with her “expert juicing” skills, her mom boasts.
17. Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard’s household primarily cooks under one rule of thumb: leveraging seasonal, colorful eating. (Well, this rainbow grilled cheese certainly qualifies as colorful!)
“We want to eat things that are yummy,” Bell told Hollywood Reporter, “and when things are in season they’re yummier. So we usually buy what’s in season because it tastes better.”
She tells the mag how the family of four often goes on picnics in the park and, to prepare, Bell will pack mung beans with rice, fresh fruit, and crunchy dehydrated pea snacks for her two kiddos.
Their daughters, Lincoln and Delta, aren’t allowed to have sugar, so instead Mom and Dad will blend frozen banana and coconut milk for a sweet treat or make the girls smoothies. “We do a lot of smoothies,” Bell said. “The kids end up feeling like they’re milkshakes, but I can throw in a big handful of spinach when they don’t want to eat salad.” Smart idea to sneak in more veggies!
18. Alyson Hannigan
The “How I Met Your Mother” alum told Us Weekly what goes into her daughter, Satyana’s, lunch box is rather normal…but with a small twist: Hannigan makes every option into different shapes — which her kiddos go nuts for.
“Saty’s class finished a bird study, so I made her a banana and almond butter sandwich shaped like an owl. I cut the bread with cookie cutters,” Hannigan said.
Also part of her food crafts: Slicing strawberries and other fruits and veggies into hearts, flowers, and animal shapes. “We went to the Japan Center Malls in San Francisco, and I found these vegetable cutters that can make your carrots into 3-D bunnies,” Hannigan said. “You just slot the pieces together. That blew both my kids’ minds!”
Understandable — what kid wouldn’t pleased when they opened their lunch box to this?
19. Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prince Jr.
Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar strives to use fresh ingredients when cooking for the family. “You want them to eat like you eat,” Gellar told New York Daily News, in reference to her two kids. “They don’t have to finish the biggest meal ever. I am all for sweets and treats as long as they are homemade.”
She recently told Good Housekeeping that her little ones, Charlotte and Rocky, “go crazy for” cauliflower popcorn. (Sounds delish!)
Gellar is also a fan of decorating her kids’ food, including like bears and stars, and will even use cookie cutters to make sandwiches look cute. Cue the “aww.”
20. Alison Sweeney
Sweeney told New York Daily News how she focuses on making healthy, on-the-go snacks for her kids to pack in their lunch boxes. “I make healthy breakfast bars for them to take to school,” she said. “They have oatmeal, nuts, dried blueberries.”
For lunch, Sweeney’s kids get Pirate’s Booty or pretzel snacks, “but the deal is you also have to eat your carrots or apples if you eat the treat,” she said. We like her thinking!
21. Matthew McConaughey
Alright, alright, alright, what are the eating habits like in the McConaughey household?
The actor’s wife, Camila Alves, told Us Weekly that she tries to keep both meals at home and what son Levi takes to school consistent, so his lunch will often be a variation of what the family eats for dinner.
“We do a lot of rice and beans, but Levi’s favorite is pasta with meat sauce,” Alves said. She revealed her secret to make such a classic dish playful for the kids: “World Market has really fun-shaped pasta — everything from animals to spaceships — that I love.”
Young Levi’s lunch gets packed in a bento box, so there’s a place for everything. (Smart thinking!) “I’ll put the pasta on one side and then steamed edamame, carrots, and broccoli on the other,” Alves said. Other goodies inside include a mix of fruits, Goldfish crackers, and dried seaweed.
A variation on dinner isn’t their only lunchtime staple. All the McConaughey kiddos like a classic turkey and cheese sandwich as well, but Mom makes it fun by cutting them in fun shapes (we’re sensing a theme here of #momsecrets).
22. David and Victoria Beckham
The former soccer star and former Spice Girl duo know how important it is to eat healthy, a lesson they try to instill in their four kids.
David told the Telegraph that he and Victoria are strict on making sure their kids always eat their fruits and vegetables. “As a dad, I know how hard it is to get kids to eat the right things,” Beckham said. “I also know as a [soccer player], how important it is to eat the right things to perform well.”
Like with pancakes? A fruit smiling face is the perfect way to get their morning helping of fruit in. And placing it on their eldest’s face just goes to show how fun Posh and Becks are.
23. Shiri Appleby
The “UnReal” actress’ household is no strangers to delicious food — her husband, Jon Shook, is a chef, after all. However, for their two young children, the parents tend to keep it simple with meals like tacos and meatloaf, Hollywood Reporter writes. Appleby said, “We’re not very fancy at home. Peanut butter and jelly, pasta.”
Another staple for the family of four? Growing fresh veggies from their backyard garden. The actress said, “It’s really fun, especially with a kid. Over the summer we grew tomatoes and her friends came over to pick and eat them. It’s a great way to make food — especially vegetables — fun for little kids.” Great idea!
24. Kristin Cavallari
Kristin Cavallari has previously told People how important eating organic food — such as wild-caught fish and grass-fed beef — is in her household since her husband, NFL player Jay Cutler, has Type 1 diabetes. This all-natural diet is what keeps her three little ones eating healthy, too.
Luckily, her kiddos are far from picky eaters: “They eat sushi, they eat seafood, the only thing they don’t like is scallops,” Cavallari told Us Weekly. “We’re lucky because I know how difficult it is for a lot of parents to get anything new down their kids’ throats. I’m very fortunate that mine eat healthy.”
25. Melissa Joan Hart
When it comes to getting lunches packed for her three boys, the former child star has her system down pat, as she revealed to SheKnows. “I set some things aside for lunch so that the lunch boxes are a little bit easier, because that always seems to be the thing I put off until last. So if I have that done the night before, it’s easier.”
But sometimes, it can be difficult to get your kids to want to eat the healthy food on their plates. She continued, “I challenge the baby, like, ‘How would a dinosaur eat this?’ If I challenge him to be a dinosaur, that makes it more fun. Whatever it takes to get kids to eat, just do it!”
26. Chris Hemsworth
The ‘Thor’ actor and his wife, Elsa Pataky, both post adorable pictures of their three little ones constantly, including what the wee ones like to eat. When Mom packs lunch, though, she often struggles with the same dilemmas as most of us — how to keep it healthy but interesting so no one gets bored.
We like what we see here, though: In the blue lunch box are strawberries, kiwi, cheese, and a scoop of peanut butter. And in the pink container, cherries, nuts, and pasta. We wonder which is 4-year-old India’s favorite to take to school?
27. Jessica Capshaw
The “Greys Anatomy” actress and mom of four puts heavy emphasis on the importance of her kiddos to eat organic and healthy. The fam even has a backyard garden for veggies and a chicken coop at home, perfect for fresh egg breakfasts!
When Mom heads to the set of the hit ABC drama early in the morning, Dad, who is Honest Company founder Christopher Gavigan, will pack the three school lunches in a bento box with fruits, veggies, a few nuts, a sandwich, and a little treat. Looks good!
28. Tori Spelling
Not only does the former “Beverly Hills, 90210” actress make yummy treats for her family, but Spelling has passed that trait on to daughter Stella who’s becoming quite the young chef, her mom boasts on social media.
Spelling wrote on her blog that as a busy mom of five, making school lunches can be overwhelming and boring when you pack the same things everyday. Her trick? “I am always scouring Pinterest looking for new ways to get creative with lunch for my babes!”
Now, off to use some of that inspiration in packing our kids’ (or just our own?) lunches!
This piece was originally written for Dr. Oz The Good Life.