Cauliflower popcorn. Confetti orzo salad. Eggnog smoothie. With recipes such as these, ChopChop magazine hopes that parents will find it easier to entice children to participate in creating healthful meals that do not sacrifice taste. Launched in 2010 with a mission to help kids adopt healthy eating habits, ChopChop is a quarterly food magazine that targets children between the ages of 5 and 12.
The creative recipes, colorful photographs and other appealing elements that make up this magazine belie ChopChop founder and President Sally Sampson’s greater goal to fight obesity in kids. Sampson, a published cookbook author, began the magazine when she realized that she wanted to utilize her talents for a greater cause. “I have always been interested in healthy eating, and it was very clear that I could use my cookbook skills to address obesity by modifying recipes,” she says.
Despite its target audience of elementary age kids, ChopChop will appeal to older audiences as well. From smoothies to soups to dinners and desserts, the recipes accommodate varied tastes and sometimes incorporate international cuisines. Sampson is quick to point out that the magazine’s focus is on natural ingredients and it stays away from recipes that call for processed ingredients. “It’s easy to get kids to make cookies, but not as easy to get them to prepare salads. We are trying to inspire along those lines and motivate children to prepare healthy food.”
Nearly two years since its introduction, ChopChop’s circulation has grown from the initial 150,000 copies to over 500,000 in print. Endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, ChopChop has also received recognition from some prominent names including the White House, where the magazine was able to interview the chefs for its Fall 2011 issue. Sampson is also excited about ChopChop’s new collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Mass in Motion initiative which will enable families to receive a ChopChop recipe every month through its newsletter.
“I think that what makes it work is that we don’t demonize food. We don’t say don’t eat cheeseburgers. It’s all about moderation, learning about what’s in your ingredients, having fun and getting in the kitchen and cooking,” says Sampson. Subscriptions to ChopChop are available through the magazines’s website. The nonprofit magazine is also distributed through pediatrician’s offices, schools and Whole Foods Market stores.
Sally Sampson is a featured speaker on the panel “A Family Affair: Getting Your Children to Live a Healthy Lifestyle” at Be Healthy Boston on January 28. Attendees to the lifestyle event can watch her discuss ChopChop magazine and share ideas to inspire families to cook and eat together.