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 welcome Vanessa Vickery from Becomingness, a qualified nutritionist and mama of two energetic toddlers. I first connected with Ness through Bright Eyed & Bloghearted and instantly fell in love with her amazing recipes and passion for real, whole food.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family
My names is Vanessa Vickery (or Ness, as I more commonly known) and I am a qualified Nutritionist and soon to be Life & Wellness Coach. I am married to Jason and we have two toddlers, Giselle (3) and Joshua (2). I run Becomingness, a health and wellness website, where I share healthy recipes that are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. I started studying nutrition during my first pregnancy. I had always been interested in health and wellness, and took my career break as an opportunity to re-educate in a field I thought I would enjoy – and one that would allow me to help my family, my friends, and myself. It was one of the best choices I have ever made. I have become passionate about healthy eating and cooking and generally maintaining a healthier lifestyle, which I have passed on to my family and friends. I now want to help others with what I have learned, as there is a lot of confusion in the health and wellness industry.
What is your food philosophy?
To eat good quality foods that are as close to their natural states as possible. If I see lot of additives and preservatives on a food label, I tend to steer clear of it. I also don’t like the idea around junk food being seen as treat food.
What do you love most about raising a healthy family and why is it important to you?
I love that I am teaching my kids all about nutrition and getting them involved in cooking and preparing foods. My daughter Giselle is allergic to tree nuts and eggs, so she will ask questions about food. This is really important as her preschool is not nut and egg free.
What’s your best tip for getting kids to eat healthy?
If you are having struggles with getting your kids to eat greens, then try making them a green smoothie for breakfast or morning tea. Giselle and Joshua absolutely love green smoothies made with banana, mango, baby spinach, water and ice. You cannot taste the spinach and it fills them up until morning tea time.
What’s your advice to other mamas on the best way to feed your family healthy food on a budget?
If you have access to farmers markets, then you can pick up good quality fruit and vegetables for good prices. I also check recommend checking out your local butcher and buying meats that are on special. Aldi also have a good range of quality meats. I also have a list of budget meals that I rotate through and make in bulk, including sweet potato & vegetable slice, beef & vegetable mince, roast chicken and different slow cooker meals.
What’s your favourite thing to do to relax?
I love to relax by reading a book, listening to music or watching one of my favourite TV shows.
This week Ness is sharing her recipe for Beef & Vegetable Mince
- 1 kilogram grass fed and finished beef mince
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1 can organic crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoons organic tomato paste
- 1 x Spice mix (see notes for options)
- Sea salt and pepper, to season
- Add coconut oil to a large sauce pan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add carrot, celery & zucchini and cook for 5 minutes., next add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they soften.
- Then add the mince and crumble with a fork or wooden spoon until there are no clumps remaining. Stir through your chosen herb & spice mix and cook until the mince has browned approximately 10 minutes.
- Finally, add the canned tomato and tomato paste and cook on low for 10 – 30 minutes (depending on how much time you have, the longer you cook it the more the mince will absorb the flavours).
- Then it is ready to eat as is, or ready to add to another recipe.
- Herb & Spice Mix
- Nachos/burritos/tacos – 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon cumin and 1 -2 teaspoons chili flakes
- Bolognese/lasagne – 2 tablespoons dried oregano and/or basil
- Shepherds/cottage pie – 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 1 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary
- Savoury mince dishes – 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1-2 teaspoon chili flakes
A Little More About Ness and Where You Can Find Her
Vanessa Vickery (or Ness as she is also known) is a qualified nutritionist and a mother of two energetic toddlers. She created Becomingness, a health and wellness website, to help women achieve their health and wellness goals by providing accurate, accessible information, as well as offering valuable products and services that promote motivation, empowerment, self-belief and happiness. She is also the author of the eCookbook, BecomingSweet – say yes to dessert again!