Kristen Bell's Kids Eat Mung Beans, No Sugar

kristen bell- talking about her anxiety/depression-Getty-H 2016
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The actress shares her favorite healthy summer cooking tips as she supports Thrive Market’s petition to allow the use of food stamps online to buy nutritious food.

Gwyneth Paltrow raised some awareness of the limitations of food stamps last year when she underwent her ill-fated #FoodBankNYCChallenge, and purchased the makings of a fresh Mexican fiesta with her $29. But now Kristen Bell, Shailene Woodley and Whitney Port are trying a new method for policy change.

The trio of starlets has teamed up with Thrive Market, an online startup selling affordable organic, non-GMO, vegan, raw, Paleo, gluten-free and non-toxic groceries online. They are lending their star power via a series of funny videos to promote a Thrive petition that launched in late June and to date has more than 100,000 signatures. (Other supporters include Arianna Huffington, Russell Simmons and Jillian Michaels.)

Bell, for one, was first made aware of Thrive Market through girlfriends who swear by it. Joining the movement was a no brainer for her. “This particular initiative just seemed so incredibly obvious to me,” she tells Pret-a-Reporter. “There are no negatives. I’m very grateful that I can buy organic food, healthy food for my family without looking at the price tag. I believe that should be an inherent right of every American.” In particular, she points out, those on food stamps should have better access to healthy food that will make them and their family feel better day to day, and prevent medical problems later in life.

The actress was fortunate to grow up aware of “having a colorful plate,” thanks to her nurse mom, who sparked an interest in what makes our bodies tick and eating a well-rounded, whole-food diet. Now she doesn’t eat meat (though she cooks humanely raised meat for her husband, Dax Shepard, and their two daughters from time to time), but says she sticks to no strict diet, beyond avoiding bland foods. Their rule: seasonal, colorful eating. “We want to eat things that are yummy,” she says, “and when things are in season they’re yummier. So we usually buy what’s in season selfishly because it tastes better.”

She also swaps out oils for ghee (which they also spread on toast, with a little sea salt) or coconut oil for low-heat oils like olive when cooking, since it maintains its digestible nutrients when heated; she bakes spaghetti squash in lieu of pasta, and prefers sprouted to dormant foods. One of her favorite ingredients at the moment: mung beans.

“We do picnics in the park and I’ve been really into cooking with mung beans — they’re so, so, so incredibly healthy for you, they have more protein than you can imagine.” She cooks them with rice for the kids, and also packs fresh fruits and crunchy dehydrated pea snacks, which she says are salty but still have some vitamins and minerals as opposed to a potato chip.

Her one rule for daughters Lincoln and Delta: no sugar. Instead, she’ll blend frozen bananas and coconut milk for a treat. “We do a lot of smoothies,” Bell says. “The kids end up feeling like they’re milkshakes, but I can throw in a big handful of spinach when they don’t want to eat salad.” Her other favorite blend requires only four ingredients: bananas, cashew milk, dates and cinnamon. “It’s incredible,” she says. Just like her inspiring healthy habits.