Cocobella Ambassador Claire Power of @healthyfrenchwife is clearly a woman with a lot of energy. As a mother to gorgeous twins, food blogger, health coach, recipe creator (her Healthy Little Tummies e-book is fantastic) and aspiring nutritionist, she certainly has a lot on her plate, and it’s usually fresh, seasonal, plant-based and full of nourishment. Claire has a real knack for creating dishes that feel indulgent but don’t leave you feeling guilty; her colourful and kid-friendly creations are simply divine.
We caught up with Claire recently to have a chat about what goes on behind the scenes.
We love your feed Claire! You’re a lover and a maker of sweet and savoury vegan, paleo, raw and gf dishes which are totally drool-worthy. Where do you draw your inspiration from when it comes to creating new recipes?
I’m often inspired by my French heritage, and by the task of creating healthy recipes to suit my toddler twins. Like many others, I find Instagram and all the amazing and talented foodies on there to be a source of inspiration also. But, most importantly, I’m inspired because of the enjoyment I get from food, and when I am craving a particular food that’s a real boost to create.
You began @heathlyfrenchwife just before your wedding to get in shape, but now it’s become something much greater, and you’ve inspired many to be healthier and more creative in the kitchen. If someone wanted to start to make some positive changes towards a more nourishing, plant-based diet and lifestyle, where would you say is a good place to start?
Eating a plant-based diet is very easy when focussing on including grains, vegetables, fruits and fats. A lot of people switch to eating vegan and then eat a lot of vegan junk foods but this should only be a once in a while treat. The key to maintaining a nourishing plant-based diet and be healthy is to learn to cook healthy vegan meals.
A great place to start is with a healthy plant-based breakfast at the beginning of each day. Plus they are so easy to make; try smoothies, porridge and avocado on toast.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of running @heatlhyfrenchwife?
I feel so lucky to have found a passion that I can turn into a career as a nutritionist. Through my work, including developing my blog, writing recipes, working on my Instagram page and some paid ads to help with the bills, I’ve been able to be a stay-at-home mum for the past two years.
I have also met some amazing ladies on Instagram whom I would consider friends. I have been sharing recipes here for over four years and have attended weddings, hens’ nights, baby showers and now playgroups with many friends I first met on Instagram. There is an amazing healthy foodie community there and being part of that community is truly rewarding.
What essentials make their way into your grocery basket each week?
I am going to be boring and say fruit & vegetables! I buy a lot of fruit for the twins and I, we go through over fifteen bananas a week in my home!
My shopping basket also always includes canned chickpeas and beans, wholemeal pasta, oats, bread and peanut butter. I also like to pick up a few treats like popcorn or dark chocolate.
If someone was to stumble across your feed, a quick scroll through might leave someone thinking your recipes are full of ‘naughty’ ingredients. On the contrary, they’re virtuous and nourishing! How important is it for you to create exciting foods so that you can have (and encourage!) those moments of indulging?
I have a sweet tooth and I really enjoy baking and making raw treats but I prefer making them as healthy as possible so I can have them without the guilt! I have been baking and making healthy treats for the past four years, and as a result, I find treats from the shops way too sweet.
Also these days my toddler twins eat what I bake so I don’t want them eating too much sugar or white flour and I like knowing they get a few nutrients in a bliss ball or a zucchini chocolate cake.
We know you love making lists! If one of your followers came to your home town of Perth for 24 hours, what would you put on your list of must-dos for them?
I really like living in Perth and we are so lucky with the weather here. When my family visit from France we always visit Fremantle, Kings Park and Elizabeth Quay.
On my list would also be;
- Spending a day at a beach like Cottesloe
- Walk along Trigg beach after stopping for breakfast at Yelo or Canteen
- Raw Kitchen in Fremantle for delicious vegan food
- Northbridge for a night out
What is your go-to brekkie for those whirlwind mornings?
In summer I have smoothies most mornings, as they are so quick to make and perfect to have on the go as a busy mum. In winter I often have avocado or peanut butter on toast to provide me with some good fats to start the day.
I always make time for breakfast as I run most mornings and come home hungry. I eat my breakfast and have a coffee while my twins are in their high chairs. Even when I was working I always made time for breakfast.
Out of the many recipes you’ve crafted, can you recommend for us your favourite winter warmer for these colder months?
I really enjoy eating warming and nourishing meals in winter like plant-based pasta dishes or curries. I love the coconut satay curry I shared a few weeks ago. A coconut dhal and a soup are also on the menu every week in winter.
Your Instagram feed is stunning! What camera and software do you use to achieve your signature look? Is the photography a one-woman job?
Thank you so much! Yes, I take all my pictures myself and I am self-taught so it is a lot of trial and error. I have learnt so much in the past 4 years but I still have a lot to learn. I use a Canon DLSR 600D camera and Instagram editing tools! I hope to teach myself to use Lightroom editing soon. I also hope to be able to include my twins’ hands in some pictures in the future.
We can only imagine how you juggle all the hats you wear day-to-day. Do you have any tips for your followers when it comes to organising and planning meals for your family?
As you said I like making lists and I actually enjoy sitting down every week to plan our menu for the week ahead. I include recipes I’ve been looking forward to testing, and meals for my twins, and this menu helps me create my shopping list.
I try to make enough to have leftovers for two nights and to keep it simple for myself. A typical week might be; Monday pasta night, Tuesday curry or dhal, Wednesday soup, Thursday homemade burgers or pizza and maybe takeaway on Friday. I also plan to accommodate my husband (who is not vegan) with some meals which pair well with some meat on the side two or three times a week.
Could you share your top five Instagram accounts you love?
There are so many! I love:
@mindful_moose – Jess, a fellow Perth mum
@ thesimplefolk_ for beautiful kids and WA pictures
Your kids are super lucky to have a mum creating such diverse and nourishing dishes! What are some tips you’d recommend to mums who are struggling to get their little ones to consume all the necessary fruit and veg?
Thank you! Feeding healthy food to children can be tricky. My twins are usually very good eaters but recently my twin boy James has been refusing to eat greens. Picky kids are very frustrating, especially when I have spent the afternoon cooking something special for them. So I have to get creative in the kitchen and also be a good role model. Here are my tips for mums;
- Get creative in the kitchen!
- Eat the unpopular veggies themselves. Children copy their parents eating behaviours and if a mum doesn’t eat many vegetables at dinner their children won’t either.
- Try sneaking some vegetables in smoothies like zucchini, beetroot or pumpkin.
- Don’t bribe your children or reward them for eating their veggies, as I’ve found it increases their dislike towards that food.
- Keep serving the vegetables or tricky foods as it takes a lot of repeat exposure for a child to grow to like something.
Do you have any new and exciting projects on the horizon that you would like to share?
I was running on and off before the birth of my twins, however for the past three months I’ve been I training for my first half marathon in Perth at the end of August. I am really excited but also nervous.
I am also currently doing a Master in Human Nutrition and look forward working as a nutritionist when I graduate at the end of 2018. In the meantime, I will keep sharing healthy recipes on my blog and Instagram page. I look forward to the Australian spring and summer to be able to make some new recipe ideas using the delicious seasonal summer fruits.
Thanks Claire, it’s been a pleasure!
Check out Claire’s recipes for Vegan Cocobella Yoghurt & Coconut Strawberry Tarts and Cocobella Coconut Yoghurt, Lemon & Poppy Seed Slice