The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Creator, Crunch a Color, an award winning healthy eating game

Author: The 52 New Foods Challenge (2014)

Contributor at The Huffington Post and “Edible,” a James Beard Award winning magazine

Husband: Anthony

Kids: Catherine, 10; James, 8


Guest Bio

How to Make Healthy Food a Fun Adventure for the Whole Family! MAKE IT A GAME

Jennifer’s daughter, Catherine, was a good eater as a baby.  The problem started when Catherine turned 3. “As she inched towards kindergarten her palate was narrowing,” says Jennifer. “That created a large amount of stress; it’s not good for anyone, but finicky eating is something all kids experience in different degrees.”  Jennifer tried forcing her daughter to eat.  “Force does not create a welcome environment,” she says.  Jennifer’s husband, Anthony, always made a game out of everything in the house.  One day in 2013, she watched him make a game out of getting dressed for school to see who could get ready the fastest.   This inspired Catherine to make a game out of eating vegetables (the Lees call them “colors” because that evokes fun and playfulness).   The simple concept of their dinnertime game started by earning a card with points every time the kids ate a color.

Soon family members and friends were asking Jennifer for a copy of the game but parents weren’t giving the game back. “That game literally went from cards at our table to marketed nationwide through the Pottery Barn Kids in three months!” she says.  Jamie Oliver, host of Food Revolution, calls Jennifer, “A mom and genius creator helping kids eat fresh food!” Jennifer calls Crunch a Color the starting block for eating healthy.  “It teaches kids what a balanced plate looks like,” says Jennifer.  Once her kids mastered Crunch a Color, Jennifer wanted to develop a new challenge.  “There’s a card in the game for getting bonus points for eating a new food,” she says.  “That sparked The 52 New Foods Challenge.” 


There’s a card in the Crunch a Color game that rewards extra bonus points to a player for trying a new food.  This sparked a new challenge for the Lee family to experiment with 52 new foods in a year.  For many parents, this can be overwhelming if the challenge is not broken down into manageable parts.  “We didn’t worry about eating for the whole year,” says Jennifer.  “Focus on trying one season’s worth of foods.”  Jennifer recommends 13 weeks – a baker’s dozen.  “Take it week by week, one season at a time.”

Put kids in charge.  They should go through the book and pick out the color (vegetable), head to the grocery store or farmer’s market to buy it and cook it in the kitchen.  “This is what’s so important,” says Jennifer.  “When you give kids control and the tools they need to succeed, that is what changes everything.”  The Lee household is not without eating challenges.  Leeks are one color that keeps showing up at the table.  The first time they tried leeks, Jennifer broke her own rules: she decided to make Leek Soup and didn’t engage anyone in the process. She overblended it and it looked like glue.  “I was so tired, I made them eat it.  I forced the issue,” says Jennifer.  Needless to say, the Leeks Soup was not a favorite and they are still working on liking leeks.  The Core Values that are part of The 52 New Foods Challenge include: 1.  Make It a Game; 2. Eat Your Colors; 3. Cook Together; 4. Buy in Season; 5. Grow It; 6. Let Kids Lead; 7. Keep Trying.  For the holidays, Jennifer says her kids picked a color for the holiday menu, named the recipe, cooked and served it on the holiday table.

Jennifer will show us:         

1.  Mini Fritatta, page 178-179
2.  Baked Apple Chips, page 104
3.  Brussel Sprout Chips, page 77

Enjoy a sampling of delicious recipes from Jennifer's new book, The 52 New Foods Challenge:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Chips

Catherine's love of the crispy, almost burnt leaves of Roasted Brussels Sprouts was our inspiration for Brussels Sprouts Chips- a riff on Kale Chips. This recipe takes some patience to prep, but the result is well worth it. We especially love these chips paired with Anthony's Famous Short Ribs (page 285).

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Using your fingers, peel away the leaves from the sprouts.
3. Place the leaves on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the oil and salt and toss to combine.
4. Bake for 10 minutes, then toss the leaves in the pan. Reduce the heat to 250°F and bake for 15 minutes more, or until the leaves are crispy and almost burnt. Let your kids watch closely to figure out the best timing for your oven.

Tip: The easiest way to peel the leaves is to cut off the ends, turn the sprouts over and gently pry the leaves away starting at the stem. Keep trimming off the ends as you go to make it easier to peel off the layers. This takes patience (and time) but it's a fun activity for your kids. As you get closer to the center, the leaves will become too tight to peel, so simply save the small pieces for sautéing or roasting.

Buy in season: The best time to enjoy Brussels sprouts is during their short season in the late fall, around the holidays. To pick the perfect bunch, look for small, tight heads with no yellow or brown leaves. Seek them out, on the stalk, at your local market.

Apple Chips

These crunchy chips make a great lunchbox snack. They take a while to bake, but they are worth it. Keep a big batch of these chips in a glass jar in your pantry to make them easy for you and your kids to grab when hunger strikes!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 90 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients :
4 large Granny Smith apples

1. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray lightly with olive oil (or line them with a Silpat mat, no oil required).
2. Leaving the skin on, slice the apples crosswise into thin layers, about ¼ inch thick. Remove the seeds.
3. Divide the slices evenly between the baking sheets and bake for 60 minutes. Flip the apples, then bake for 30 minutes more, or until the slices are light brown and crispy. Thicker slices will be a little chewier. For extra-crispy chips, leave the apples in the oven 15 minutes more. Timing will depend on the moisture content in your apples.
4. Let the chips cool completely, then store in your pantry in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Bitty Bites

The favorite snack food in our house is one that my daughter, Catherine, named Bitty Bites. A no-bake cookie made with sunflower butter, it's great as a lunchbox snack, after-school bite, or post-game energy recharger. Bonus: It's easy and fun for your kids to make. You don't need to be exact with the measurements, which means you can give lots of creative freedom to your kids.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Wait time: 15 minutes
Makes about 24 cookies

Ingredients :
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
(not the quick-cooking kind)
½ cup whole wheat all-purpose flour
½ cup sunflower butter
½ cup honey
¼ cup dark chocolate chips or
dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins
¾ cup shredded unsweetened Coconut

1. In a food processor, pulse the oats until finely ground, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the flour, sunflower butter, honey, and chocolate chips to the oats. Pulse again until the mixture comes together into a large ball, about 2 minutes more.
3. Using a tablespoon, place a small amount of dough in your hands and roll it into a ball the size of a large marble. Roll each cookie in the shredded coconut. At this point, your kids can shape the cookies however they like. My kids usually leave them as bite-size marbles, or press them in the center with their thumb and add a piece of dried fruit for decoration.
4. Refrigerate the cookies for 15 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Reprinted from The 52 New Foods Challenge by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2014, Jennifer Tyler Lee

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