Sam, Kelli, and Adam:
Lean, Mean Eating Machines

The Evers Family of Portland, Oregon

The Evers Family

The Evers family: Scott and Connie
with Adam, Sam and Kelli.

Of course Sam, Kelli, and Adam Evers eat well—their mom's a child nutritionist! But that doesn't mean meals are all tofu and tabbouleh! Convenience foods, snacks, and even nightly desserts get a mom-and-dad seal of approval in the Evers household, where each kid helps prepare the daily meals (some more enthusiastically than others!)

As a working mom, Connie Evers knows the challenges today's families face in feeding their kids balanced meals. A Registered Dietitian, Connie works from home as a child nutrition consultant and is the author of Teaching Nutrition to Kids, a book and activity guide for teachers. She consults with parents personally, in lectures, and formerly ran an email newsletter and website, As a high school teacher, her husband Scott also sees what other kids eat everyday, and he's pleased to see that their own kids enjoy a healthy diet.


Kelli rolls out the dough to
make pizza from scratch (yum!).


How the Evers Kids Feel About Cooking

When kids get old enough, they can be a terrific help in the kitchen, provided that their parents have given them proper kitchen training. "Officially, all the children take turns being my 'cook helper.' They each have one night per week that they are assigned to assist me or Scott. Other than that, the boys often pitch in just because they really enjoy it." Connie describes how each kid feels about cooking:

  • Sam, age 8: "It's fun!" He loves to make smoothies in the blender and homemade muffins.
  • Adam, age 6: "You get to make the stuff you like." Adam most enjoys making cookies, especially low-fat ginger cookies. He also makes his own sandwiches at lunch time and loves to look at the Food Guide Pyramid on the refrigerator to make sure his meal has something from every food group. He is a very adventurous little eater who will try almost anything!
  • Kelli, age 12: "I hate it but I have to do it. I know I need to cook for myself." Kelli is also the most picky eater of the three. She is very particular about how her food is prepared, even down to the exact doneness of her toasted bagel! Because Kelli is so busy with school and competitive skating, I think cooking is more a chore than a joy right now. Because it doesn't interest her, she sometimes gets careless in the kitchen. Pasta drained down the drain, exploding eggs, dropped dishes, burned toast and boiled-over ramen characterize her cooking adventures! I have noticed that she is improving, partly because her brothers tease her so much about her cooking!

A Nutritionist's View of Today's Family Challenges


Sam examines the pepper
progress in the family garden.

"Parents today are busy and tired, and cooking and eating seem so incidental in the scheme of their lives," replies Connie Evers. "Before, when families were structured differently, the whole idea of dinner took up more thought, planning and time (not that I necessarily want to go back to that family structure though!) The evening meal showcased the mother's 'work' for that day and there was more pride involved. I really don't advocate that we change back to that era. I personally would do very poorly following that traditional domestic model!

"Instead, we need to provide recipes, education, support, and products that promote a return to the family table, only with a millennium-twist to it. Most families want tasty, nutritious food that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. I like the emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients that can be simply and easily prepared.

Adam & Sam

Chefs Adam and Sam Evers focus
intently on whipping up a smoothie.

"Unfortunately, fast foods and empty-calorie convenience foods seem to be filling the time gap of busy Americans. The result is an increase in both childhood and adult obesity. At the same time, eating disorders are on the increase, especially among younger children.

"I really feel that chaotic family eating is partially to blame for these trends. Instead of children learning about 'normal' eating around the family table, they are learning to grab-n-go whatever they want, whenever they want it. Often, there may not be an adult around to supervise so children may fill up on low-nutrient snack foods in the afternoon in front of the television and then have little interest in eating healthful foods at the evening meal."

Here's a quick tip: Check out the Food Plate on the USDA site: Food Plate

And check out "Chapter 4: Making Meals Delicious and Nutritious"—it puts information on nutrition for kids into common-sense language that's easily digestible!


Back to the main Families page.


Copyright © 1999, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

Sarah: Soon to Be Six
The Doonan Family of Fort Worth, Texas

Jordan: "King of the World"
The Talamon and Bates Family of Los Angeles, California

Sam, Kelli, and Adam: Lean, Mean Eating Machines
The Evers Family of Portland, Oregon

Michael, Sarah, Thomas, and Rachel: More Than a Mouthful
The Stouffer Family of Rochester, Michigan

Catherine and Victoria: Pizza Rules!
The Rodriguez and Rudd Family of Miami, Florida

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Table of Contents

Part I: Cooking Together:
The Wisdom of 400 Families

Part II: Putting the Meal Together—Together!

Part III: Cooking 101:
A Handbook for Parents
& Young Chefs

Part IV: Recipes

Part V: Tips In Tens