Welcome to another week of Mama Monday where I introduce you to mamas from all over the world that are passionate about feeding their families healthy, nutritious food. They’ll be talking all about their top tips for healthy family food on a budget.
This week I’d like to introduce you to Kaye Waterhouse from A Teaspoon Half Full, a fellow nutritionist and toddler-wrangling mama. I absolutely love Kaye’s approach to simple family food and growing as much of your own food as you can. Make sure you check out her new series, Nourishing Gardens, it’s a great way to connect with other gardeners and it’s something that I look forward to reading each week.
Im a Holistic Nutritionist & Wellness Coach, and mama to a precocious little toddler. Elodie has just turned 1 and is giving me all the ‘tude of a 3 year old! I do most of the “toddler wrangling” as my partner works away much of the year, and Im also studying full-time. We currently split our time between Melbourne and the hills east of Perth, with family on both sides of this wide brown land.
What is your food philosophy?
Simple whole foods. While raw cheesecakes & kombucha brewing & acai smoothie bowls are a fabulous thing to dip into, they’re just not realistic for us, and a very tight life schedule means that my food philosophy actually revolves around keeping it as simple as possible, and not expecting too much of myself. If the food that goes in my family’s tummy is clean and nutritious, Ive done my job. I do a lot of cooking in bulk (my Sundays are dedicated to it!) and thats really the only way I can ensure we kept it wholesome and healthy no matter how chaotic the week inevitably gets. I also subscribe to the 80/20 rule, and we don’t beat ourselves up about breaking the rules – I love a good glass of red, we indulge in takeaway thai, and sometimes Elodie has yoghurt for dinner!
What do you love most about raising a healthy family and why is it important to you?
There’s a saying that goes, “Some people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel”, and its not until you’ve lived in an optimum state of health that you realise how poor food choices can affect that. Growing up, my own family was naturally very slim, so we ate whatever we pleased, takeout was a regular feature, and we weren’t raised with an education around additives, preservatives, sugars, or toxic oils – that knowledge simply didn’t exist then. So it wasn’t until I went through my own health crisis that I realised the impact of straying too far from the whole foods path. I want to raise Elodie with an appreciation for the flavours of unadulterated good food, and teach her how to use food as medicine. I want her to have a positive relationship with food, and an education around real food that carries her well into her tumultuous teen years and into young adulthood. The best way to do this? Lead by example of course.
What’s your best tip for getting kids to eat healthy?
Perseverance. There were times when I literally cried because Elodie wouldn’t eat what I made her. She refused all solids from when she was 7 months to 11 months old, and it was really stressful to have a child who was still strictly on milk at 10 months old. We did everything right in terms of introducing foods, but we were up against a behavioural issue and a fierce independent streak. What changed? Not too much, we just kept trying, kept offering her different tastes, kept sharing our meals, kept a level head and didn’t fuss over her rebellious behaviour, and above all tried to keep her experiences around food as positive as possible. We persevered. Eventually she picked up the habit again and has been eating since 11 months old. She gained almost a kilo in that month alone! We still have rough days (those are the days she has natural yoghurt for dinner) but I think everyone does! I just kept telling myself that not-eating isn’t something that kids do forever, and as long as she was growing and vibrant, we were on the right path.
What’s your advice to other mamas on the best way to feed your family healthy food on a budget?
GROW things! I’ve been growing food (and keeping chickens) for years now. Homegrown food slots in perfectly with our food philosophy of keeping it simple, and at some times of the year I’ve only had to go to the shops for milk and meat, everything else has come from a few square metres of vegetable garden. You can build whole meals around corn, potatoes tomatoes, silverbeet, beans, lettuce, root veg, or eggs, with the addition of just a few pantry staples.
Keeping a vegetable garden is also a gorgeous, fun way of teaching children about the true taste of food and the work that is required to produce it. Sometimes Elodie will sit amongst the tomatoes while Im weeding, nibbling on the red fruit straight off the vine. It doesn’t get more natural and economical (and adorable!) than that.
What’s your favourite thing to do to relax?
Strangely – I find weeding or digging therapeutic. If I’ve had enough of studying for the day, and Elodie is down for a nap, I’ll get down in the garden and weed, or turn the compost with a pitchfork. There’s something so grounding about dirt under the nails.
I’d love for you to share one of your favourite family-friendly recipes.
Avocados and banana’s feature heavily in our house (guaranteed to be eaten by Elodie, if she eats nothing else!) so I can always whip up this mousse for dessert (although its been known to be eaten in the morning too if my chocolate cravings call for it!). It’s also a great healthy alternative to those packets of chocolate custard in the baby food aisle.
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 ripe bananas
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup milk of your choice
- 1 tablespoon raw honey or coconut nectar, or 2 fresh dates **(See notes)
- Blitz with a stick blender
- Garnish with goji berries, shredded coconut, or crushed nuts, and chill.
- **optional, depending on the ripeness of your bananas. Often the banana is enough!
A Little Bit About Kaye and Where You Can Find Her