Photography by Shelby Morell for Enrich Magazine

Chopped; healthy family eating habits

A family that cooks together eats together and, with today’s busy lifestyles, not a lot of families are able to do this on a regular basis. This is why the Eccles have made healthy family eating habits using food an integral part of their lifestyle. As they design their vacations and outings around food, they are now designing their kitchen with elements experienced while dining out.

In the premier issue of Enrich Magazine, nutritionist and personal trainer Tom Connerty was featured in our Run Free article. Tom did double duty, crossing over to visit the Eccles family during their photo shoot for Family Fare, also in the premier issue. He met with foodies Shieva, Nalini and their children, Julian and Serena, to continue this shared point of view.

IMG_3050Everyone says they are making healthier choices, but they don’t buy fruits and vegetables at a convenience outlet. No one buys an apple or an orange as a snack. They are still grabbing the quick bite …” as Tom shares his observations on how kids at school cafeterias or recreation centre snack bars will always buy junk vs. the good stuff. “We have to change that. I don’t see enough of a change to see a difference yet.” With the large youth population of Bramptonians, these life skills should be taught from a young age in order to help make this change.

“Preparation is the most important part of eating,” reiterates Tom, as chopped vegetables make eating easier when it comes to snack time. It is amazing how one can stand in front of a full refrigerator and declare, “There’s nothing to eat!” It’s that lack of convenience that’s evident in our personal grocery cooler.

We can easily adopt the strategies of retail into our own homes and adopt healthy family eating habits, by applying a little effort.



As we learned in How we met the foodies in the premier issue of Enrich, Tom shared what he does: “On Sunday or Monday, after I’ve done my produce shopping, I turn the stereo on, go in the kitchen, pour a glass of red wine and start cutting. That’s what I do with all the vegetables and fruit that usually would just sit in the crisper. Once chopped, I transfer them to glass containers. This way, when I want to make omelets, or an energy drink, my core ingredients are ready to go.”

IMG_3003This is an easy and essential healthy family eating habit to teach children from a young age. Most parents won’t equip their children with knives, fearing them dangerous. The opposite is true; giving a child a butter knife to do the work is not only unsafe, but it makes the task impossible, thus teaching the child to reach for snacks and foods that don’t require utensils.

Ever notice how fast food establishments don’t require using utensils? Healthy eating begins with relearning how to eat, with proper tools, and that starts with a knife.

There are two questions your knife should answer positively. Will it cut easily, and does it feel good? For both 13-year-old Julian and 9-year-old Selena, a chef knife is too big and a paring knife too small for their task of cutting vegetables. Japanese influenced santoku blades are both comfortable and balanced, and Enrich Magazine’s friends at Henckels Canada suggested the 5.5” Zwilling Twin Santoku blade is an ideal steel knife with better grip and more controlled chopping for their smaller hands.



Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but there can never be enough hands in the kitchen when it comes to prep. Adopting Tom’s weekly task, sans classical music and a glass of wine, the Eccles could gather as a family, using His, Hers and Theirs cutting boards, prep bowls and knives to chop all the vegetables the family would need for the week, while taking turns making music selections.

Not only does it save time during the week with preparing a healthy meal, it also teaches Julian and Selena the skill to cut vegetables and fruits with great ease and adopt healthy family eating habits that will remain with them for all their lives. And it definitely solves the “There’s nothing to eat” statement from occurring in front of your fridge – forever!