Fours ways to keep your family thriving

I avoid self-promotion, but in the interest of 'getting to know you', here's a pic of me and the kids....

I avoid self-promotion, but in the interest of ‘getting to know you’, here’s a pic of me and the kids….

Despite the fact that I’m focused on improving the health of your family, I try really hard to not be a preachy blog that dictates how you should and shouldn’t live your life. It’s your life after all, right?

And I try to keep this more as a place where I write a bit, cook a bit and share bits of my life that you might find funny, interesting and/or helpful. There are enough fanatics on the internet, after all. Even with my strong interest in nutrition I get weighed down by the online doom and the people ready to hate on me if I admit that I use flour or sugar or nuts or meat or dairy or soy or salicytes or additives or anything that was grown further than a kilometre away.

While I am all admiration for anyone who commits so thoroughly to a cause, I don’t find it achievable in my own life. I have a job. I am the primary carer for my kids. I’m involved at school. I’ve got washing to do, activities to ferry people to and I’ve also got a pretty good little publishing business that takes up a bit of my time. And I’ve got a chain supermarket about 30 seconds from my house. So realistically, that’s where I shop.

However, I do find that there are several simple eating guidelines that I impose in my household that seem to be pretty successful. And since it’s the first post of the year, I thought I’d break my ‘no preaching’ rule and share them with you – maybe there’s an idea here that you might want to work on this year. Here goes…..


1. No sugared drinks
The growing ‘sugar is poison’ movement is pretty compelling. There’s a great lecture here that while long, will be enough to have you checking labels and reducing the amount of sucrose/fructose/corn syrup that you consume. One simple message is that children should never be drinking soft drink, flavoured milk or juice. And I agree.

But I’m a pragmatist, and don’t want my kids to crave something that’s forbidden (also they’re skinny little things), so when we’re out to dinner or at parties, they have a lemonade. And that’s fine.

2. Eat more fibre
It’s good for you and adds flavour and texture to meals. It helps you feel full and helps your body cope with the sugars that you do consume. Strangely, most people don’t eat nearly enough. Increase your intake by choosing high fibre versions of things. Add bran into your baking. Pop a can of beans into your dinner. Learn all about fibre here.

3. Plan your meals
It’s the key to feeding a busy family well. If you have all the ingredients at hand, you’re much more likely to cook. If you plan out your dinners then you can shop for exactly what you need (which also saves you money). Don’t like doing it? I’ve got a meal plan for you here, complete with a shopping list. And if you like it, you might want to buy my Meal Plan e-book, which has 6 weeks of dinners all sorted out for you. There’s an ipad version for just $4.95.

4. Cook
Buy core ingredients and cook rather than just following reheating instructions on a packet. You’ll find that it doesn’t take much more time, particularly if you have equipment to help you. A mini-food processor is the best $80 you’ll ever spend.

Need inspiration? Cruise through some pages of this blog. There are over 200 recipes to keep you cooking. Want some quick recipe suggestions? Try this okonomiyaki, this vegie bologonaise or these salmon pikelets. Or these mini-meatloaves. In fact most of my recipes are pretty simple since I’m as busy as you.

And that’s it. Preaching over. It’s unusual for me to be this serious, so I’m feeling like I need to apologise – I promise I’ll be funnier next time.

I hope you stick with me this year – there are some exciting things afoot – a new hardcopy book coming out in the Autumn and there’s the thermomix e-book just days away. Subscribe to keep in touch and to receive my new recipes straight to your inbox.

Happy 2014 – may it be a fantastic year for your entire family!

20 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    katie p said,

    great advice, no need to apologise… but we do love you when you are funny πŸ™‚ happy new year!

  2. 3

    Bec A said,

    All easily implemented ideas for excellent outcomes – what’s there to apologise for πŸ™‚ Looking forward to following along again this year, and can’t wait for another book! Oh, and your Salmon Smash was a huge hit as a side dish at Christmas lunch – my little ones most requested meal since. Happy 2014 Wendy!

  3. 5

    amanda said,

    Happy new year Wendy! just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU. I’ve never had trouble getting veggies into my kids but your recipe books are our kitchen ‘bibles’. I have been using them for 2 years now & have found the types of meals included & ease of preparation make them perfect for us. ironically I struggle more with meat with my little vegetarians, so the high veggie content of your recipes always gets me over the line. (“yes there is chicken, but oh look… there’s carrot & corn &….” πŸ˜‰) And yes, I say OUR books as they are well & truly family owned. they are always out & accessible which means the kids are continually flicking through them & involved in the menu planning and preparation (eldest are 6 & 8). just like hubby & I, they love cooking & are always keen to be involved. We do subscribe to the “additive free/wholefood” way of eating (although no judgements on those that don’t!) & still find your books fit nicely with this. I love that we have built a strong healthy food “culture” in our family, which you have helped with immensely. Thank you.

    the fact you have another book, plus the thermo adaptions coming soon, has us ALL rather excited. just quietly we’ve already had far too many of your recipes which I’ve adapted myself….a little ‘unsuccessfully’ you might say. πŸ˜„

    so once again, thank you! thank you for making my life easier, my kids happier & giving me a few laughs to boot with your blog.
    love ya work. 😜 x

    • 6

      wendyblume said,

      Wow! Thanks SO much Amanda, for taking the time to let me know. I know I’ve sold a heap of books, but once they leave my door I don’t give much thought to where they end up or how they get used, so it’s EXTREMELY satisfying to hear that I’ve done some good in the world somewhere! xx

  4. 7

    Cheesemonkey1 said,

    don’t apologise, i think most people can do with a little nudge back onto the right path at this time of year. i turned into a christmas pud.
    as a side note, i seem to have accidentally grown a silverbeet plantation in our vegie patch. my son (7) is really just not interested. it’s a bit bland so i kind of know where he’s coming from. just in case you had any fantastic and quick ideas you were working on …

  5. 9

    annie said,

    Yes never apologise – especially when you’re as funny as you! Doing an awesome job. Great tips x

  6. 11

    Brooke said,

    It’s sad that so many people take the time to write these wonderful blogs aimed at helping us Mums and Dads make healthier food for our families- only to be criticised by people who seem to choose to spend their (ample) time to criticising rather than cooking the wonderful food and enjoying with their family. I think you do a great job – especially given how much you have on your plate (pardon the pun). I am pretty new to your website but I thank you already for the ideas and tips you have given me. Keep up the awesome work!

    • 12

      wendyblume said,

      thanks Brooke!

      Yes, my hubbie and I (we both work in online), were contemplating how rude people have become on the internet. As if the right to comment outweighs any general politeness or humanity! Gets very tiring to deal with it regularly, so thanks for your positive message! πŸ™‚

    • 13

      Kerri said,

      Here here!

  7. 14

    emma beard said,

    Like many of your comments above, I think you do a wonderful job and reflect a pragmatic approach that works for so many families.

    People who don’t like your suggestions should just go some-where else. It’s not like you’re making anyone read this!

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2014 πŸ™‚

  8. 15

    SusieV said,

    My family is a little bit like Amanda’s – mostly vegetarian (fish, chicken and red meat maybe once a week) – so my kids are pretty good at their vegies – but I know plenty of kids who aren’t!!! So I’m busy spreading the Vegie Smugglers message far and wide – its the best, most ‘Mum friendly’ blog for miles around – love, love, love it – So excited about continuing to follow along in 2014. May all good things happen for you in 2014, Wendy!

  9. 17

    samleader said,

    Thanks too from me, still loving your recipes after you gave me VS1 all those years ago! Traffic light swirls are in the freezer, ready for Amy’s 6th birthday on Sunday and Salmon smash for dinner. Can you recommend a mini processor and secondly, how are things with the Thermy? Can you give us an update in another post perhaps?

    • 18

      wendyblume said,

      Happy new year Sam!

      I’ve been really happy with my Braun, which is on it’s last legs. I will do another thermy post soon, too. I’ve come to appreciate what it can do and the benefits of it, but it’s still not a passionate love. More a quiet respect. πŸ™‚

      Hope you’re ok. Xx

  10. 19

    Jennifer said,

    Thx for the little kick up the bum!

  11. 20

    Barbara Good said,

    Love your site Wendy and you’re recipes are on regular rotation in this household. I’ve started bulk cooking with a couple of friends to fill our freezers with healthy home made meals and snacks and have done several of your – and another one happening this week. I also write a cooking column for a local newsletter and have recommended your site for encouraging good eating habits for kids. And definitely don’t apologise for anything you’ve written here, all very sage advice.

    I tend to go with the approach, similar to you, that nothing is completely banned and as long as some foods are eaten only in moderation all is good. I’m yet to really come on board with the whole no-sugar thing (so big at the moment) mostly because I’m a complete skeptic about any sort of strict diet. My two (extremely skinnier – think spider legs) have juice every morning as I did growing up. They have the equivalent to one adult mouthful which they both sip at for a little couple of minutes and then say they’ll save the rest for later and put it in the fridge. ‘Later’ is the next day where is happens again so that mouthful last a few mornings. I do love that they choose to do that.

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