Hi I’m Dani and I am super excited to be writing for Bubele about health and wellbeing for the family.
My wholesome and healthy approach to family life was fuelled by my own experience with breast cancer. I was 33 when I was first diagnosed and my three little daughters were all below the age of 5. Needless to say our lives were turned upside down and we have all been on a tremendous journey since. On a quest to strengthen my body after the gruelling cancer treatments, I embarked on the journey of so-called ‘clean eating’, cutting out major food groups. Focusing on the ‘free’; Gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, alcohol-free, refined sugar-free, meat-free… you get the gist.
But I soon realised that there was no way I could sustain this kind of lifestyle. I cooked three meals each mealtime: one for the kids, one for myself and one for my husband (who took himself off to the fish and chip shop after I served him courgetti for his main!). I was exhausted; it was expensive, time-consuming and no fun at all. Besides, I knew how important it was to be a positive role model for my children. It just didn’t feel right to focus on the No’s so much.
So I made another massive U-turn in what I call my food-revolution and I started to focus on the good stuff. Our diets became Full-of, not Free-from. We started to celebrate the fantastic flavours and benefits that foods have to offer us. I focused on adding more healthy ingredients to our dishes and without any effort at all, we ate much less of the foods that are not so good for us. There was simply not enough room on our plates for empty, processed foods.
What works for us might not work for everyone, I agree. But by keeping recipes simple, ingredients fresh and whole and by applying my favourite ‘cook once, eat twice’ strategy, healthy living and eating with a family can be doable, fun and super tasty too.
Most parents I know struggle to get their children eat enough veggies. I hear it all the time: “Little Alfie just won’t eat his greens”. So a practical, simple example where we focus on adding more of the good stuff is this: Serve a bowl of fresh, raw veggies before you eat your main meals, just at the time when your children become peckish and start nagging for food every 30 seconds.
I do this all the time and call it my ‘backup bowl of goodness’. I cut up anything that I know the kids like. Cherry tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, carrots, anything goes. And I then let the kids help themselves. I serve veggies that I know they’ll love and often add new vegetables, a handful of nuts or bits of cheese. That way I’m not worrying too much if they don’t eat the veggies I serve them for their main. Simply give them more of what they love; it’s the easiest way of upping their nutrient intake. If your child currently only eats yellow peppers, never mind, give him or her a yellow pepper a day.
By focusing less on what they don’t eat, and more on the healthy foods they do like, we’re giving a much more positive mindset around their eating habits.
Let me know what you think… when you sprinkle some seeds over your salads, when you smuggle red lentils into your pasta sauce or when you blend some cashew nuts into your soup. They’ll start to think it’s normal after a while.
Below is a recipe for Edamame bean dip that you can put on the table with the crudités to keep the wolves from the door. https://www.healthywholeme.com/?s=edamame+dip
Feel free to get in touch if you want to know my thoughts about anything in particular. I love hearing from you!
So much love from me,
Edamame Hummus (Serves 6)
- 350g edamame beans, thawed and then steamed or cooked for a few minutes.
- zest of 1 lemon
- lemon juice (approx. ½ lemon or to taste)
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 handfuls of coriander
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tahini
- Salt and pepper
- A bit of chilli
- A glug of water if needed
Start by pouring boiling water over your defrosted edamame beans and let this sit for a few minutes. Drain. Then put all your ingredients in a food processor and blend blend blend…remember, add more seasoning or lemon juice to make it taste just perfect for your taste buds. Be experimental, nothing can go wrong!
Note: Keep your dips in airtight containers and the fridge and they will last you for a few days – that is if you leave any. I hope you enjoy!