Not just anyone would brave climbing onto a billboard in the middle of NYC’s Times Square in the pouring rain just to spread the word about healthy snacks! But then again, Padma Lakshmi isn’t just anyone — she’s a successful cookbook author, host of Top Chef, and most importantly, a mother to her 1-year-old daughter Krishna. Padma chatted with OK! about her current project, working with Frito Lays Flavor kitchen to promote their all-natural line of snacks, and how important good food is to her as a mom.
During some bad weather this week, Padma greeted consumers and fans from the Flavor Kitchen in Times Square, a replica of the one in at Frito Lays headquarters in Texas, to show off all the natural ingredients in their foods.
“The reason that I got involved is because they launched the initiative recently which we’re very committed to and that’s making sure that half of their whole product portfolio is made with all natural ingredients,” Padma explains. “That means no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors or preservatives, no MSG, no transfats as well.” Padma isn’t just talking about food, she practices what she preaches!
“The brands that I eat the most are SunChips, Lays, Tostitos because I love chips and salsa. All those brands are all natural or will be all natural by the end of the year. Many of them are already on the market and always were all natural. Like Lays Barbeque Potato Chips for example which I love, I was worried that the taste wasn’t going to be the same. It turns out there was nothing artificial in them,” Padma tells OK!.
Beyond just trying to help America eat better, Padma is pleased with Frito Lays for taking action in other ways, as well, to influence overall health.
“They’ve also made a great donation to my charity, The Endometriosis Foundation of America, so they’re not only concerned with what we’re putting in our bodies, but the overall health of women’s bodies too and that was important to me.”
Food is important to Padma and her family, as she says she never fed her daughter any kind of commercial baby food — she eats what her mom eats!
“She never ate store-brought baby food. She ate mushy food. She ate homemade baby food, but her food, I ate too,” reveals Padma. “We eat the same thing so obviously she isn’t eating spicy food. I make one dish for all of us, and often that’s with very simple food it’s basically an Indian die — lentils and rice, vegetables, black eyed peas, it’s a lot of fruit and cucumber.”
“I think the more you get children involved in food, the more likely they are to eat well and I believe in moderation and variety in food and in all things really,” adds Padma.
And for moms who might be skeptical about chips in general, Padma knows the real deal — “Not all chips are created equal, they’re not. And I would encourage them to do is to look on the back of the pack and read the ingredients and judge for themselves. I’m not here to tell all mothers what to do. I can only highlight what information I know. I’m not some guru who is going to try to be an expert on motherhood because that’s not the right platform for me to speak from.”