A Mumma We Adore
Introducing Claire of The Healthy French Wife
We've read articles such as Parent Like a Parisian, and 10 Things French Women Never Do, so of course we were super excited when Claire of A Healthy French Wife agreed to chat with us about parenting & food. Did this adorable mumma conform to our preconceived notions of how French women behave? And was she really raising her twins as vegans?
We've been lusting over Claire colour rich, healthy Instagram feed, so felt incredibly blessed when she agreed to share her Vegan Berry Oat Cookies recipe from her new book with us too!
Sit back and enjoy this Q&A, and we recommend booking-marking the recipe below: it's divine!
You were born and raised in France, a country steeped in rich gastronomic culture: tell us about your childhood, and what role food played in your upbringing.
I grew up in the French Alps and in the South-West of France – some of the best places food-wise! Food has always been very important in my family. Going to the farmers markets and the local bakery has been a long family tradition. I come from a family of very good cooks and I get inspired by my mum, my dad and my grandpa’s cooking.
You studied business and marketing in Perth, and went on to work for a digital agency: what was the catalyst for starting the Healthy French Wife?
I started HealthyFrenchWife around the time of my wedding as I started eating healthier. I liked creating my own recipes and I thought sharing them on a blog would be easier for people following me on Instagram. I liked having a creative outlet outside of my marketing job too, and connecting with like-minded people.
What has been your greatest discovery since becoming a qualified health coach?
Since studying health coaching and nutrition I have learned not to follow diet fads or trends. Everyone is different and you have to listen to our own body in terms of diet. I know now that gluten-free isn’t for me, or paleo, or raw food and acai bowls! My body thrives better on wholesome plant-based foods.
You are a mumma to Eloise and James, a wife, and an entrepreneur; how do you manage to balance your responsibilities, and find time for yourself?
I make the most of nap times! My twins are pretty independent and I manage to do my cooking and blogging during the day, and I do my studying during the naps and on the weekends. I am a very organised person and really believe in routine for my toddlers to be able to fit it all in! I make time for myself by running early in the morning and shooting recipes when their dad gets home!
Are you raising your twins as vegans?
The twins currently eat 80% vegan. My husband isn’t vegan and I believe eating a majority of plant-based foods is beneficial for their health. They sometimes have eggs and cheese, and when out socially or at daycare. I don’t want to be too restrictive with their diet.
Do you think that there are health implications for raising children as vegans, given their dietary needs for growth and development?
Yes- eating a 100% vegan diet for children can be done but parents have to be very mindful of iron intake, B12 vitamins as well as Zinc, Omega 3s, and calcium and protein intake for proper growth development. I make sure the twins eat a lot of iron rich foods as well as use chia seeds / flaxseeds in cooking.
A vegan diet needs to be well-planned to ensure that a child’s dietary needs are met: what top tips would you give to other busy mums who want to create vegan meals for their little ones?
Eating a wide range of vegetables, whole grains and beans helps as well as including nuts, seeds such as pumpkin seeds for iron, flaxseeds for omega 3s and tahini for calcium. I find sometimes making a smoothie full of nutritious ingredients helps in getting the right nutrients in my twins belly! Supplementing with b12, or calcium-enriched foods might be required.
Many parents have to deal with the problem of having children who are picky eaters: what are your top three recipes that are fun, and deliver the nutrition they need in disguise?
Smoothies are my go-to when they are very fussy! I put everything in like zucchini, beetroot, seeds, nuts, oats or quinoa flakes and a bit of fruit. Pasta dishes are always a winner in my house - either lentil Bolognese, or a spinach pesto with peas. And for lunch they like having a tray filled with lots of different foods like dips and veggies sticks, fruits and edamame beans.
Tell us about your e-book Healthy Little Tummies.
This is my Kids recipe ebook full of plant-based recipes. It includes 35 recipes including breakfasts, snacks, mains and sweets. It includes all the recipes I have developed for my twins in the past year. I really wanted to make the focus of their diet vegetables and create recipes I could share with them as a vegan.
We read an article on Mind Body Green titled Parent Like A Parisian: 6 Things French Moms Do Differently, which explores the differentiating style between American and French parenting. Having been raised in France, and raising your children in Australia, can you identify 6 things that French and Australian mumma’s do differently?
I have read similar books called “French parents don’t give in” and “French parents don’t throw food”. This article made giggle. I have found some differences in parenting between France and Australia like:
- Being barefoot. I don’t really understand Australian mums taking their kids shoes off when going to the park especially in winter. My kids always have their shoes on and jackets and warm jumpers. It seems Australian mums are not as worried for their kids to catch a cold!
- Setting rules and having a routine. I do believe in having rules, saying “No” and following a routine but it seems lots of mums in Australia prefer to let the kids dictate their plans. I think in France it is very much the other way around.
- Kids nutrition. In French schools, lunches are eaten at the “Cantine” where a warm lunch is served including a crudité, a piece of fruit, cheese, bread, meat or fish with veggies and carbs. A bit different to the Australian school lunch bags.
- Creativity- I think the Australian way of parenting is a lot more mindful of children’s creativity and letting them express their personality.
- Outdoor Play. I find Australian parents spend a lot more time with children in parks and playgrounds than I did as a child. There are a lot more playgrounds for children in Australia.
Vegan Berry Oat Cookies
Recipe from Healthy Little Tummies Ebook by @healthyfrenchwife
• 1/2 cup of rolled oats,
• 1/2 cup of wholemeal flour,
• 2 tbsp of sunflower seeds,
• 1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds,
• 1 tsp of cinnamon powder,
• 1 tsp of baking powder,
• 3 tbsp of rice malt syrup,
• 2 tbsp of coconut oil,
• 1 tbsp of chia seeds,
• 1/2 cup of blueberries or raspberries.
1. Preheat your even to 220 degrees Celsius,
2. Line a baking tray with baking paper,
3. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together apart from the berries,
4. Once mixed well, add in the blueberries but don't over mix so as not to squeeze them unless you want to turn them into purple cookies.
5. With your hands shape the cookies and place in the oven to cook for 10 minutes or less. Keep an eye on them so as not to burn them.
6. Leave to cool a few minutes so they crisp up. Keep overnight in a container with a slice of bread to absorb humidity and keep them crunchy/chewy!
For more information on the recipes in this blog, you can shop Claire's e-Book by clicking HERE.
On our On Safari Five Piece Baboo Dinner Set and our Eat Your Greens Five Piece Bamboo Dinner Set Claire included the beetroot hummus and Socca crackers (chickpea crackers GF) from her e-book.
On the Birds & Flowers Bamboo Bowls Claire made ratatouille and quinoa, this recipe is in her ebook too.
To follow Claire food journey on Instagram go to @healthyfrenchwife