07/16/2012 01:06 pm ET Updated Sep 15, 2012

What Do You Feed Your Family in a Pinch?


Finding time to create delicious meals that nourish our family can be tough these days. After all, many families have packed schedules, chock-full of play dates, sports practices and homework, all juggled by two working parents. On top of it all we feel the pressure to cook healthy meals for kids and we know it is the right thing to do. The news about the obesity epidemic is everywhere. The amount of pressure placed on parents to "do it all" is overwhelming at times.

Heather Stouffer felt the same pressure six years ago after her first son was born. High and low she searched for healthy, well-balanced meals to feed him that would keep him on the right dietary track and yet work with her busy schedule. Her search didn't go well. There was simply nothing that met her standards. As the old saying goes, when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade. Well, she did, but it wasn't beverages she created. It was meals. Lots of them. Healthy, organic, hormone-free meals that families could reach for in a pinch.

You know the kind of day that ends with cranky, tired kids? You glance in the fridge and find little inspiration. You look at the clock and you realize you have very little time before a child starts eating the arm of the sofa or maybe a younger sibling. Mom Made Foods fills in the gap. Instead of reaching for the phone to order in pizza or slapping together sandwiches, Mom Made Foods allows families to sit down together and eat well-balanced meals in a flash.

Now carried in stores across the country, families everywhere are raving about the convenience and high quality of these quick frozen meals. Now, no one can live on instant meals alone, but Heather touts her meals as perfect for leaving with the babysitter or grandma and grandpa.

Heather is a self-proclaimed foodie and grew up learning how to cook from a young age. She remembers her mother always cooking dinner, but when her parents divorced her mother went to work. Dinner, however, was not sacrificed by her work schedule. Instead, her mother would leave instructions for Heather and her brother about what to cook for dinner, so that when she arrived home, the meal was ready to go on the table. Therefore Heather has been cooking for a long time and feels a strong connection between the joy of being with family and whipping up delicious meals. She wanted to share this passion with other families.

Cooking with kids, she believes, gives them a chance to express and share their tastes and skills in the kitchen. A parent's role, she feels, is to support a child in making healthy and delicious food choices. Mom Made Foods does both. Our 7-year-old felt a great deal of independence cooking up a Mom Made dinner. He even helped out his little brother and sister with theirs.

Fostering this kind of self-reliance is pivotal in raising kids that will be happy, self-sufficient and great eaters when they are older. Not to mention nothing takes the place of a family sitting down together at the table to talk about their day. Heather finds the time we spend connecting at the table as a valuable way to stay in touch with what our kids are doing and thinking. It's a time to disconnect from our virtual lives and participate in the real life family we have before us.

Heather started Mom Made Foods with a mere $10,000, selling her creations at her local farmer's market. The products have caught on and now Heather is proud to be helping families mend the sometimes difficult relationship between parent, child and food. The company aims to keep expanding and working to reach millions of families, helping to not only serve up healthy, quick meals, but educate families about what makes a great family dinner for even the littlest tyke at the table. Parents can head over to Mom Made Foods and a take pledge to be more aware of their food choice and in return receive coupons of Heather's yummy meals. Sounds like a plan to me!