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Why Padma Lakshmi Is 'Strict' About What Her Daughter, 10, Eats: 'I'll Look Over Her Plate'

Padma Lakshmi knows a thing or two about keeping a balanced diet — and she's passing her healthy habits down to her daughter.

The longtime Top Chef host posed with 10-year-old Krishna Thea for Parents' October issue, and spoke to the magazine about how she strives to set an example at home with their diet.

"There are a lot of things I'm not strict about, like bedtime, but I've always been pretty strict about what she eats," says Lakshmi, 50. "I believe you set a child's eating patterns by the time they're 4 or 5, and the best way to get a child to eat healthily is to eat well yourself."

The mother of one tells Parents that she and Krishna "try to keep our diet 50 percent fruits and vegetables, and Krishna knows that I'll look over her plate" — but they allow splurges, too.

"Mainly, I stress balance," Lakshmi explains. "Last night we had takeout pizza, and Krishna finished it off with Häagen-Dazs, so for the next couple of days we'll have to be healthier."

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See the Unique Cake Padma Lakshmi Had for Her 50th Birthday – Plus a Sweet Message from Daughter Krishna

At 10 years old, Krishna may still be young, but she's already following in her foodie mom's footsteps in learning how to prepare some staple meals.

"The other day she FaceTimed me to ask, 'Mom, how hot does oil have to be to fry chicken?' I was like, 'What? That's too dangerous!’ But she was adamant about doing it, so I walked her through the steps," Lakshmi recalls.

Krishna "had prepared the egg wash, the breadcrumbs and the flour, and had the paper towels and tongs all ready. She had even salted the breading," says the proud mom.

"When I asked her how she knew how to do it, she said, 'Mom, I've been watching you for years!' " Lakshmi adds.

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We need to talk to our children about this moment and the meaning behind Black Lives Matter. We need to arm them with information, give them the tools and the language to help them address the injustices they see. ⁣⁣⁣⁣ I look at the picture of my daughter and her friend Cassius that sits on our front table. I think of how different their experiences will be, solely because of assumptions that have nothing to do with them. I have looked at that picture every day as I go out in the morning: two innocent children, full of possibility.⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ Kenya Young, Executive Producer of @npr Morning Edition on giving her sons "the talk": ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ “I'll never forget there was a time — the kids wanted to go to the park. This was right around the time of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. My third son was just born. And I had many moments where I was holding him or nursing him and crying as I did so. Because, while I loved this little bundle of joy immensely, also just the amount of fear and worry for who I just brought into the world again, another Black son, and the burdens that I have to carry with that again. It was really raw for me around that time.⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ I remember the kids asking to go to the park and the laundry list of what I had to tell them: 'Don't wear your hood. Don't put your hands in your pocket. If you get stopped, don't run. Put your hands up. Don't make a lot of moves. Tell them your mother works for NPR.' I mean, it just went on and on.⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ This time around, it's been more about what's not fair. You know, 'This just isn't fair, you guys. But this is the way the world is. This is the way America is right now. It's the way it's been for a long time. And I can't lie to you, I don't think it's going to change in your lifetime. And it's just not fair for us to have to live like this.'⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ I live in this every day. You may live it in the moment when it happens. But it can slowly fade away for some people because life goes on. And it's not your life experience. It is my life experience. It is my boys' life experience. It does not go away. And the sad part is, within the next couple of weeks, we'll have another one.⁣⁣⁣”

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The preteen's culinary skills extend to lending her mom a helping hand when she's under the weather, too. "The other day I wasn't feeling well," Lakshmi shares. "And all by herself, Krishna made a dish of couscous, vegetables and Sriracha butter that was exactly what I wanted to eat."

But that doesn't mean Krishna won't take advantage of free food she doesn't have to worry about preparing herself — like when visiting Mom at work.

"Krishna is very comfortable on the [Top Chef] set," Lakshmi says. "She has her own crew pass and zips around on her scooter. But her favorite thing is to raid craft services when I'm not looking."

"I try to get the caterers to rearrange the food so that she can't reach the sugary cereals all the time," she quips.

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