You probably know Lori Loughlin best as Becky Donaldson from Full House, where she seamlessly juggled twins Alex & Nicky with on-screen hubby John Stamos. Turns out the role was apt preparation for real-life parenthood — she has two daughters, Isabella, 11, and Olivia, 10, with husband Mossimo Giannulli. We caught up with Loughlin, who is promoting Hellman’s Real Food Project, to chat about bickering siblings and her girls’ favorite Full House character. (Hint: It wasn’t her!) — Andrea Zimmerman
Who’s the good cop — you or your husband?
My husband. He thinks of himself as the bad cop, but with two girls, he’s a little bit softer, and I find myself having to clamp down on them. My mom was always the strong parent, and I think I’m the same way.
Of the TV moms that you’ve played, who are you most like?
At the time that I was doing Full House, [Becky] was the essence of who I was back then, but if you ask me now, it’s [Debbie] from 90210. I’ve always felt the closest to the character I’m currently playing. What you saw on Full House was very real and genuine, even though I didn’t have kids at the time.
Who’s your girls’ favorite character on Full House?
Michelle. I think she’s a fan favorite with most kids!
How do you talk to your girls about body image and weight?
It’s tricky because my girls are getting to the age where they think about those issues. I stress eating real food, and that diet and exercise are important. It’s about putting good things into your body and ending up with good results.
What’s been your biggest parenting challenge?
I feel good about giving my kids real food, instead of just chicken nuggets.
Keeping my girls from fighting! They’re very close in age, and boy, oh boy, can they fight! I try talking to them in the moment and pointing out why [one sister] is acting the way she is. When you’re with anyone as much as my girls are together, you’re bound to fight!
What’s your favorite meal to make for your girls?
It’s a Bobby Flay recipe — Italian crispy-style chicken. It’s easy to make and so tasty. My whole family loves it, especially my ten-year-old, who’s a very picky eater. Take mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, herbs and spread it on the chicken. Then put breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and grated almonds on the chicken and bake for thirty minutes. It goes from your oven to your table in one pan — and I feel good about giving my kids real food, instead of just chicken nuggets.
What’s been your biggest challenge in getting your girls to eat healthy?
When my girls were younger, I catered to their palettes rather than introduce them to new food. I kept it almost too simple; I should have introduced more herbs and different tastes to their diet at a younger age. Now, I bring them to the market with me and I let them plan part of the meal. The more I introduce new flavors to their world, the more willing they are to try new things. We started a little herb garden, and it’s amazing how they’re inclined to try new food just by [including them].