blog » September 5, 2016 by Donna John

Cook Outside the Box With Chef Gigi! (Watch Her Make Mac & Cheese!) by Donna John

7 years ago
Cook Outside the Box With Chef Gigi! (Watch Her Make Mac & Cheese!)

Everywhere we turn we're being bombarded with messages about the dangers of processed food. This week at our #30SecondMom Twitter chat, 30Second Mom contributor Chef Gigi Gaggero shared with us how we, as busy parents, can actually "cook outside the box" and make healthier alternatives to traditional processed food in very little time.

Q: Why you should avoid feeding your family processed foods?

Many of today’s foods on grocery shelves are marketed to save time. These foods contain ingredients that are not healthy. They can be especially unhealthy for children, elderly and those with compromised immune systems. If you look at ingredients label for processed, packaged foods, chances are that you won’t recognize many of the ingredients. When whole foods are stripped down to make cooking time faster they need to replace what they took out. Manufacturers do that with chemicals, preservatives, stabilizers, artificial flavoring, food dyes and fake fats.

For example, “artificial flavor” is a proprietary blend. Manufacturers don’t have to disclose exactly what it means. It’s usually a combination of chemicals that contain the same molecular structure as the food it was meant to emulate. Processed foods also contain chemicals to prevent them from rotting, to give a certain flavor and a certain texture. Food manufacturers spend massive amounts of resources making their foods as “rewarding” as possible to the brain. This leads to overconsumption and can also lead to all kinds of health-related issues.

Q: How can we be our families advocate and keep them safe from chemicals in our food sources?

  • Cook with organic whole foods when you can. 
  • Meal prep twice a week to make those in-between days easier to manage. Example: Boil three days worth of pasta. Drain and oil it so it won’t stick together. Divide into three and place it in cold storage. When ready, pull it out and toss with sauce or butter and veggies, garlic, spices, pesto, for a quick meal.
  • Read labels! It’s not easy reading labels at first, but it will get easier. 
  • Shop the outer aisles of the store for least-processed foods. 
  • It helps to vow to “cook outside the box” and keep your family free from processed food additives!

Learn how to make Chef Gigi’s secret family recipe macaroni & cheese!

Be sure to follow @ChefGigi, visit her website, GigiGaggero.comlike her on Facebook and check out her 30Second Mom page! See the full recipe for Chef Gigi's macaroni and cheese here!

I'll be there! Gonna be amazing!
Meredith Schneider
Woohooo! Can't wait for tonight! Need lots of ideas to feed my litter of 4 that range from freshman in high school to kindergarten! I'll bring the wine! LOL! ;) See you all later! xoxo <3
Chef Gigi
Looking forward to seeing you there! Nomnomnomnom
Elisa Schmitz
W00T! Can't wait to chat with you, Chef Gigi Gaggero! xoxo
Im looking forward to tonight. I love to try new healthy dishes that are fun for the kids. Im blessed with kids that will try anything i make for them and i def take advantage of that! See ya tonight for some great tips new ideas and lots of fun
Chef Gigi
Yay! Can't wait to see you there!
Rosina McAlpine
Chef Gigi and Elisa.
Best wishes on the chat tonight. I know it will be FABULOUS! I wish I could be there but its mid-day here in Australia and I'm presenting a Lunch n Learn seminar for parents at ABC. My hugs and best wishes to you both and all of the participants and I'll check out and share your great ideas once they're posted on 30secondmom site
Rosina ... your Aussie 30 second...mum! LOL
Chef Gigi
We will miss you!!! Oxoxox
Toni B
Looks like a great chat tonight! Yeah, Chef Gigi Gaggero !
Sue Rodgers
How many times can I rsvp? Ha! #30SecondMom
Donna John
What a great chat, Chef Gigi Gaggero! I cannot wait to make your mac and cheese, and you've made me more aware of what's in my food. It was great seeing so many new and familiar faces tonight! Mei Marcie Holly Budde Toni B lorri langmaid Lorri Langmaid Kelli Schulte MomOfTwins Nicole DeAvilla Sue Rodgers Samantha Kemp-Jackson Holly Love CosmoFrank Meredith Schneider
Chef Gigi
Thank you everyone for showing mad love ! I had so much fun preparing this Twitter cooking demo for you ! And Thank you to everyone at #30SecondMom for giving me this outreach opportunity!

Just remember - I'm only a tweet away if you need me !
Chef Gigi
Donna John I guess I should post the recipe . Giggle
Chef Gigi
Donna John Did we ever post this recipe? Lol
Donna John
Of course! There are two links to it in the body of this blog and it's the first tip on the right at the top. food: A Chef's Secret-Ingredient Macaroni & Cheese Recipe (Ready in Less Than 30 Minutes)

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