I am a part of that growing category of modern parents, the older mother. It wasn’t planned that way; it’s just how my life went. As a result I have had the amazing opportunity to have a career and a family; my husband Roy (who will always be older than me ….), Max (10) & Joe (7).
In previous lives I have run businesses doing the most eclectic of things in far reaching corners of the world. Recently we made another life-changing decision and moved to a natural paradise (bar the weather – brrrr), Wellington, New Zealand. Here I continue to spend lots of time and pour a ton of love and energy into my two boys (whether they want me to or not) and have started to give life to my other passion, born through them.
From Humble Beginnings
From day one I set out to feed my boys the best possible diet I could. I was raised this way and so to me it just made sense and I made it a priority.
When my oldest, Max, turned six there was a school birthday party and I was expected to turn up with the treats. This presented a dilemma as, although treats are sometimes acceptable, I don’t think that every social occasion needs to be an additive, sugar and trans-fat fest. Admittedly a bit extreme I know, but it got me searching for healthier alternatives.
As Max’s birthday approached I Googled for “Creative Healthy Treats” and every other moniker I could think of to find an amazing sugar free, yet fun, recipe. I was shocked at how little turned up! In the end I was forced to be independently creative. I carved his name in a watermelon (badly), filled the gaps with berries and other fruits, and stuck candles on a melon platform. Max was delighted and, to my amazement, not one classmate complained about the lack of cake. In fact, most excitedly asked if they could eat it and when I said yes, they did so with gusto. Within 5 minutes there was not a crumb, um, berry left!
This experience inspired me on two levels:
1. I realized how few healthy fun food recipes there were.
2.Children are delighted to be presented with an appealing alternative to the standard fare …even if it is “healthy”!
Armed with this information, I started dabbling using healthy foods to create meals that were appetising, nutritious and appealing to children. Over the course of the next few months my theory was proven correct time and time again…and The Art of Nutrition was born!
The Art of Nutrition
Having been a working mother and often having been “single” during the week while my husband travelled, I appreciate the challenges of feeding a family. With two lively boys and a career of my own, I understand how quickly we can all get tired, stressed, and find ourselves out of time.
I also know that not everyone has a kitchen stocked like Jamie Oliver or the creative cooking skills of Donna Hay. In fact, most of us are on a budget and have limited time to shop and cook. To this end, the vast majority of my dishes are achievable by someone like me, the average person, in the average kitchen, within a reasonable time-frame. They also use ingredients that are generally inexpensive and easily obtained.
In a perfect world, I would like nothing better than for every child to love fruit, vegetables, whole grains and a varied selection of healthy dairy and protein offerings. My recipes and designs set out to glorify these fabulous ingredients with a focus on the veggies, and to omit the sugar and, as best as is practical, most of the additives. I am a fan of “real” food and use fresh as often as possible. I’d like to give my heroes – the green stuff – their rightful place in the limelight and in so doing excite all of us to eat with gusto.
I have now catered centrepieces for parties and provided setups for schools, while continuing to fine tune recipes. I recently went back to University to study Medical Nutrition and this has only spurred me on. I hope that through my blog I can share with you some of the things I have learnt along the way and help us all to better understand why something is good for us, not just that it is.
I am new to the whole blogging/website scene, so bear with me while I stumble out of the gate. My obsession with designing fun, nutritious plates is a labour of love and one I have been working on for a few years. I am thrilled to be sharing it all with you!
On one final note I need to pay homage to my mother who, as it turns out, was ahead of her time. She really focused on feeding us a regular diet of veggies, fruits and whole grains thereby setting us up for a healthy life. Thanks Mum for being mean where it counted!