Daphne Oz Talks the Importance of Family Dinners and How to Prevent Picky Eating

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When it comes to dinnertime, Daphne Oz has little tolerance for fussiness.

“My grandmother taught me not to make dinner a battle of wills,” the mother of two tells Good Housekeeping in their October issue. “If you’re constantly fighting to get your kids to eat the thing you make, it becomes less about the food and more about them trying to resist you.”

The Chew co-host and daughter of TV’s Dr. Mehmet Oz has positive memories around her family’s dinner table, and hopes to recreate the same experience for her kids, Philomena, 2, and John Jr., 11 months, with husband John Jovanovic.

“My mother and grandmother were my original ‘happy cooks,’” says Oz referencing her upcoming cookbook The Happy Cook. “Their tables were the ones I felt happiest gathered around, and my parenting has really been formed by that.”

Daphne Oz in Good Housekeeping
Mike Garten
Mike Garten

One of her tactics is to maintain nightly family dinners. “My husband and I sit the kids down to dinner with the mentality of ‘This is what we’re all eating,’” she says. “I want to cook one meal for all of us and not feel like a short-order cook, so we show them by example what we want them to eat. Our kitchen is where the fun happens, where we all share the end of the day and where they start to feel like grown-ups.”With the kids off to bed, the kitchen in her New York City apartment is also the main attraction when she’s entertaining for family and friends like Food Network star Katie Lee or activist Lauren Bush Lauren.

“When I’m cooking, my playlist is full of Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones,” she says. “When
 guests start to arrive, I typically like to keep things upbeat but mellow: Hot Chip, Chet Faker, Françoise Hardy, Bob Marley.”

Daphne Oz in Good Housekeeping
Daphne Oz in Good Housekeeping

If her own music collection is feeling a little tired, Oz will rely on Spotify playlists like “Ibiza Chill” and “Café del Mar.”

“I call it ‘boat music’ because it’s relaxing but fun,” she says, “that’s the vibe a dinner party should have.”

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