Q & A with Melissa Kent
Introducing author, Melissa Kent! She has written a fab new children’s book that helps make eating healhty food, fun! We have been lucky enough to talk to her about her journey & inspiration. She has also shared some great healthy eating tips & recipe advice.
I am a 33 year old mother of 3 children aged 4, 8 and 10. Originally from North Queensland, my family and I moved to South East Queensland in late 2016 due to my youngest child’s numerous health conditions and the need to be closer to her medical specialists. My biggest achievement in life was becoming a Mother. Which is an ever-evolving labour of love, as I’m sure you can relate! After my youngest child was born, and we started the journey that is life with a chronically ill child. I knew that I needed to do something that was just for me and nobody else, in order to preserve my sanity.
I have always been an extremely creative person, and find that I express myself best through my writing and music. So, when my youngest child was 6 months old, I wrote my first book ‘Broccoli Trees? Yes Please!’ which was published late 2017. Childhood nutrition, obesity, non-communicable diseases and fussy eating is all on the rise and I wanted to find a really fun and innovative way to help our young children and of course their parents, who often find mealtimes a cause of great distress.
Question 1 - Have you found your book has helped with fussy eaters?
I have been so overwhelmed and overjoyed with the response to my book! Before it went to print, I told my Publisher that if I could help just one single family with mealtime stress and fussy eating issues I would be happy and consider my job done. The amount of positive feedback I’ve had from some parents of truly fussy eaters has honestly reduced me to tears. I am so happy that it’s helping so many families, and bringing smiles to little (and big) faces around the world.
Question 2 - What advice would you give someone with a toddler that is on a veggie strike?
My biggest piece of advice would be to take a deep breath and completely remove the pressure – from both your child/children and yourself. It is SO easy to get caught up in a stressful battle of the wills with a fussy toddler at meal times. Unfortunately, the harder we push them, the more they refuse. It just turns into a perpetual cycle of stress and tears, where the only winner is the family dog, or the scrap bin! Always offer healthy food, and encourage your child to explore their food through imagination, texture and play. Find some age appropriate nutritional facts relating to the various foods you are presenting them. (eg. “Did you know that walnuts look like a brain and the healthy fats in them make them awesome food for brain power!”) Keep it light hearted at meal times to keep stress levels down, which will mean they will be more likely to try something new!
Question 3 - What’s your go-to meal that gives a good veggie hit?
My kids love anything with roast veggies… roasting makes everything taste so much better! But for an easy dish that packs a good veggie hit, I think you can’t go past fried rice! I start by sautéing some onion, garlic and ginger then add diced bacon and chicken (or tofu if you are vegetarian) and brown that off before adding your other veggies – carrot, capsicum, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, peas and corn, then add your cooked rice, a good dash of tamari or coconut aminos and some more oil. The best thing about fried rice is it’s so versatile – you can really branch out from the authentic version and add things like coconut cream, whatever veggies you have on hand or even replace your rice with buckwheat or cauliflower rice. I always like to mix my white rice with black rice which packs a huge protein and antioxidant punch!
Melissa Kent is the author of Broccolli Trees? Yes Please! A mum, who experienced picky eating with her kids and found a solution to introducing new foods in her storytelling.