Edward Lee

Screen grab of chef Edward Lee in a video for Operation Parent

Louisville chef and restaurateur Edward Lee is cooking up something new — an educational video encouraging parents to feed their children nutritious meals and snacks.

The video is the latest in a series by Operation Parent, a Kentucky nonprofit working to empower parents. In it, Lee advocates replacing empty calories with more healthful fare to promote better behavior and long life, avoid obesity, boost academic performance and ward off diseases in children.

“If we can provide them with a diet that’s rich in fruits and veggies like apples, bananas and carrots, we can protect them against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even some cancers. Wow, now that’s worth changing some grocery habits for, isn’t it?” Lee says in the nearly five-minute video. “So let’s get the ball rolling.”

Lee also advocates having sit-down meals with children, even if the family is just having pizza, and allowing kids to decide when they’re full instead of forcing them to overeat.

“I’m a chef and I still needed help as a parent about how to feed my child in the right way,” Lee said in a news release. “I’m hoping this video can help change the minds of just a few people and help change their dietary habits. Even small, simple steps can have huge ramifications to the future of your children.”

The “Top Chef” alum also promotes the oft-recommended 5-2-1-0 formula:

  • 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • 2 hours of “screen time” maximum per day.
  • 1 hour of physical activity per day.
  • 0 sweetened beverages

“Healthy eating and culinary habits are so important for parents to be aware of since nearly 70 percent of children say they are most likely to talk with their mom or dad about nutrition and their body size,” the group’s president, Jean Schumm, said in a news release.

Operation Parent, which is based in LaGrange, has snagged several notable names to appear in videos as part of its 21st Century Prevention Project, which encourages parents to set boundaries and to talk early and often with their children about issues that matter, such as cyberbullying, childhood anxiety and prescription drug abuse.

Notable figures from past videos include politician and former Miss America Heather French Henry as well as the moms of actress Jennifer Lawrence and songstress Demi Lovato — Karen Lawrence and Dianna De La Garza.

Check out the video featuring Edward Lee below.

This post has been updated to correct a reference to the 5-2-1-0 formula, which didn’t originate with Operation Parent.