Valladolid raises her boys with the 80/20 rule: “80 percent of my family’s meals are cooked at home with clean, organic foods. 20 percent are out and about, like pizza events after school. It’s easily achievable to live in that balance.”

Marcela’s other great tips aim to improve not only your family’s health but also your bonding time.

1. Keep a produce garden

Sourcing your own vegetables doesn’t only keep your kids away from chemicals. “There’s a superiority of flavor,” says Valladolid, “[My oldest son] Fau tastes the difference between organic and conventionally raised. He’s educated in it, so he doesn’t crave junk. It can be as simple as growing cherry tomatoes.”

2. Get the family involved

“Fau made pinto bean-cotton ball art at school. He planted the bean seeds in our garden bed. Couple weeks later it was a large vine, and we picked and cooked them. It’s mind-blowing to [kids] — going from a seed to a fruit. It gets them excited about the process of food.”

On weekends, Valladolid makes dinnertime an event. “The music's playing, we open a bottle of wine, my son picks the tomatoes, my fiancé chops. There’s no rush to get to the dinner table. We cook for two hours, sit for two hours bonding and talking.”

3. Be willing to experiment

If you’re not sure how to best cook a vegetable — experiment! “Grill it, braise it, boil it, steam it. See which version of it you like the most.”

Or go raw. “In Mexico, we’re used to shredding vegetables and throwing salt and chile lime powder on them. It’s a really appetizing snack.”

4. Keep it visible

“Fau comes home from school and sees strawberries sitting out, not Twinkies. He’ll take the strawberry, chop it, and eat it while playing video games. Make it their only option.”

Hungry for more? Try one of Marcela's favorite organic recipes for mini club sandwiches and let us know your favorite seasonal ingredient in the comments below!


  • 10 slices American cheese

  • 1 loaf sliced white bread

  • ¾ cup of mayonnaise

  • 1 head Boston lettuce

  • 20 slices cocktail tomatoes

  • 1½ pounds store-bough carved turkey

  • 7 slices cooked bacon

  • 1 avocado

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Psst! For a meat-free alternative, replace the turkey and bacon for a baked tofu.


  1. Use a small round cookie cutter to cut circles out of the cheese and bread. You may also use the rim of a small glass to create the round shape.

  2. Place bread slices in the toaster until lightly toasted.

  3. To assemble the sandwiches, start by spreading the bread with the mayonnaise. Layer with a lettuce leaf, torn to match the size of the bread.

  4. Add two slices of cheese, two slices of tomato, some turkey, a slice of avocado and a piece of bacon.

  5. Top with a second slice of bread and skewer with cocktails forks. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.