Small Talk




We were thrilled to catch up with the healthy food blogger to get her tips for feeding your family on-the-go


I have often thought that preparing children’s food – especially when weaning my youngest – is a lot like working in a canteen. It’s a production line of uninspiring meals, served to unenthusiastic customers, who invariably give disappointing feedback – like chucking it on the floor. Or as my youngest likes to do – swiping everything off the high chair table with one clean sweep of her arm. Which is why I couldn’t wait to meet bestselling health coach, author and nutritionist Madeleine Shaw.

Madeleine wears: shirt, £190, Malene Birger, and jeans,  £250, Citizens of Humanity at Nine in the Mirror, Children wear a selection from Olivier Baby And Kids

Hers are the only recipes I’ve tried where the outcome even vaguely resembles the picture and that were tasty enough to try again. It is probably why she has amassed a 272-k following on Instagram and when I was buying the ingredients for our shoot and pulled out her book to check the recipe practically everyone I showed it to said: “Oh I love her food”.

On our shoot we enjoyed fish skewers and parsnip chips followed by peaches and cream popsicles. My little ones and their cousins were certainly impressed and I couldn’t wait to learn how to make the most of family mealtimes.


What do you remember about mealtimes as a child in the Shaw household?

We ate a lot of pasta and bacon, it was my mum’s go-to dish. Mealtimes were always nice and family focused, we always all sat down together and chatted.

Were you a fussy eater?

Yes. I didn’t and still don’t like butter, milk and cheese which was often in most dishes. I’ve always been taught to finish everything on my plate and I still do it now. I always finish everything, which can often leave me feeling stuffed!

What about as a teenager?

I didn’t have the best relationship with food as a teenager. I was obsessed with calorie counting and controlling my weight. At the time my parents were going through a divorce and this was my way of controlling my life.

How has your diet changed since becoming a mum?

It hasn’t really changed, I try and eat well. I have to have an extra snack at 4pm as I often get hungry, which I didn’t before.

What would we find in your fridge right now?

Lots of veg, greek yogurt, miso paste, chilli sauce, herbs, bananas, avocados, fresh fish and some coconut water.


Will you have any “musts” when it comes to your little one’s diet and mealtimes?

I guess I’ll want Shay to try everything and always give things a go. I hope he loves veggies.

How can you encourage the whole family to eat well?

“Make dishes that are colourful and always use lots of flavour – steamed veg can be boring. Get the conversation around food: is it spicy? soft? Get them to think more about food and fall in love with different flavours and textures.”

How do you stop preparing the same things and add some variety?

Try a new recipe every week from a recipe book or blog. See how it goes down and then add it to your repetoire.

What are your top tips for snacking?

Make a batch of date and almond energy balls on a Sunday. They last two weeks in the fridge and hit the spot for that 4pm slump.

Do you have any tips on planning?

Use Sunday as a prep day so that you have a few things ready for the week. Make a roast, cook up some grains, roast some veggies. Also, use your freezer! Make it your best friend, batch cook and freeze for those days that you can’t be bothered to cook.

Is it important to include the family in your meal planning?

For sure. You want to make meals everyone likes so that you don’t have to make separate meals.


How can we save money when it comes to shopping?

Buy in bulk. The World Food aisle is my fave. You can get kg bags of brown rice for a quid and spices for a quarter of the price.

What is your top must try recipe from your new book?

The rice crispy squares – they are easy to prepare, delicious to eat and packed full of goodness, so you can enjoy them guilt free.