Watching her words! Padma Lakshmi is intentional about instilling a positive body image in her 11-year-old daughter, Krishna.
“I have a tween girl now, and it’s very important how we talk about our bodies,” the Top Chef host, 50, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting her latest book, Tomatoes for Neela. “It’s fine to say among your girlfriends, ‘Oh, I’m feeling fat in my jeans.’ But be careful what you say [in front of children].”
The Taste the Nation With Padma Lakshmi star has swapped that sentence with: “My jeans are not fitting me properly.”
The Love, Loss and What We Ate author added that “all bodies are not built to look the same,” saying, “We want to be careful with the language we use on social media, on billboards, all media. We just want to be mindful of our little girl and just make sure we’re speaking appropriately and not exaggerating because it’s a very dangerous landscape for young women. I feel this acutely. Body image is a really, really big deal. Young girls and teenage girls and boys have so much pressure that we didn’t have when we were kids.”
The India native, who shares Krishna with her ex Adam Dell, told Us that this mindset inspired her to be vocal over the years about an arm scar she has from a car accident.
While raising the preteen, Lakshmi has created a brave eater. Lakshmi shared her secret to not having a picky child, telling Us that she started early.
“You figure out if they like that food or that ingredient one at a time to see if they’re allergic to it,” the Easy Exotic author explained. “Then you add things. With Krishna’s diet, I was very, very strict in the sense that I was very methodical and didn’t waver from that. I didn’t give her any animal products before the age of 1.”
The chef, instead, began feeding Krishna a “little bit of mash of rice and lentils” before introducing yogurt and eggs, followed by mild fish. At 2, the toddler tried chicken, and she had red meat the following year.
“I’m not saying giving certain things earlier is wrong. This is just what worked for us,” the Emmy winner said. “I’m sure her dad, when she was with him at his house, snuck some beef in there before, but I didn’t know about it.”
Krishna established eating “patterns” by age 5 and only started saying no to certain foods after attending preschool and seeing other kids doing the same.
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Lakshmi’s picture book, Tomatoes for Neela, was released on Tuesday, August 31.
With reporting by Mandie DeCamp