Keeping It Real with Calgary Avansino

Calgary Avansino is keeping it real as a mother of three, author and contributing editor at British Vogue. She's an It Mum who is an inspiration for not just healthy eating, but healthy living for the whole family. With the launch of her new book, Keep It Real, she's inspired me to freshen up our lives with "real food" and limit our sugar intake! Here, Calgary shares her healthy eating ways with us!

You have three children, one of which is just a year old.  How have you introduced your kids to healthy eating?

One thing that is really important to remember is that children do what you DO, not what you say to do. They learn by watching what happens around them, so lead by example and create healthy family habits that the whole family observes. We all eat the same things and share the same meals so there is no " us and them" mentality.  The other key is perserverance.  Don't give up and revert to plain pasta and chicken fingers just because you child says they don't like something once.  And finally, don't have ingredients or products in your house that you don't want to have arguments about.  If there are no sweets in your house, you can't have a battle about them.  Remember, you're the one in control; you're the one who does the shopping.  Exercise that power wisely.

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Do you have a quick, delicious and easy recipe that helps spruce up mealtime doldrums for children?

Getting creative with veggie tomato sauce is a fabulous (and super easy) way to cram in extra goodness for kids quickly and simply. Packing in tons of flavour without them even realising just how many vegetables they're eating.  I make mine in large batches on a Sunday - sauteed onions, garlic, chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs - and then all kinds of veggies (often whatever nees using up) - roasted or sauteed, blitzed together with a hand blender.  I freeze some to pull out when needed and then we have it in all kinds of ways - with pasta, on my broccoli meatballs (recipe in Keep It Real) on polenta or even as a soup. 

As an American living in London, do you notice a difference in georgraphic eating habits?

There's definitely a difference between people's eating habits in England and the west coast of America (where I'm from), which I think is partly due to the difference in availability of diverse ingredients and food items.  The gap is increasingly closing though and London is becoming a real hub for healthy eating and well-being.  There is still a lot of disparity between how people eat across the UK as a lot of the newer, healthier brands are only available in London - although as consumers are making their interests known loud and clear, this is gradually changing and expanding to the rest of the country. Ultimately though, we all have access to fresh fruit and vegetables - which is what we should all be eating more of - and I think the desire to eat a more plant-based, wholesome diet has swept the nation, which is fantastic. 

Your new book, Keep It Real, you focus on a plant-based diet for the whole family.  What sparked the idea to write your book?

Life should always be about pursuing your dreams, right? And I wanted to show my two daughters that this really is possible to do.  Plus, I wanted to help people understand why plants are so crucial to your diet, and just how straightforward healthy living can be, for you and your family.  I think what really separates my book out from others is the fact I have a lot of experience engaging children in the kitchen (I've got three of my own!) and I have filled the pages of Keep It Real with ideas and inspiration for getting them to eat morer veggies, enjoy healthy meals adn get involved in the kitchen.  I believe it's so important to ensure our children have an understanding of where food comes from and what ingredients look like in their raw form - rather than ripping open packaging or picking something up on a shelf thinking that is "food". 

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In addition to an author, you're a contributing editor at British Vogue, talking about wellness inside and out.  As we head into spring, what are your top tips for spring cleaning your fridge, beauty cabinet and workout gear?

Fridge: Think about your fridge in terms of "real food" and processed food.  When you open the door to have a clear out, examine how many foods are packaged, manufactured adn have unpronounceable ingredients in them.  Those are the ones that need to go!  Replace them with as many foods as possible form the earth, which are rown in the soil and on trees and bushes.  That's the good stuff that boosts our health and wellbeing.  

Beauty Cabinet: Read the labels! Just like you would with food products.  It's worrying how many chemicals we are repeatedly applying to our skin, hair and face everyday. Start to educate yourself about what your beauty regime truly consists of and make conscious, informed decisions about how you spend you money.

Workout Gear:  Be bold!  Life is too much fun to always wear black workout kit.  The fitness apparel business is booming and you are spoiled for choice with so many incredible options now on the market.  Treat yourself to some patterned new leggings and a briht top - you never know, it might just motivate you to go to the gym more often.

Do you run in heels or flats?

Both - that's the double life of a working mom!  But I always have a compact pair of flats or trainers in my bag when my feet are screaming at me.

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What are your style secrets from office to playground?

The aforementioned stashed flats are a life-saver and trying not to worry about "messing up" your outfit; anything can be washed.  Just enjoy the moment and worry later about the muddy handprints on your skirt.

What are three items women must own?

A blender (for making soups, sauces, nut milks, raw treats, smoothies etc), a timer (if you're anything like me doing too many things at once, it's a God-send for the kitchen), and of course, my book - Keep It Real

Images provided by Calgary Avansino.

To keep up with Calgary visit her website HERE.

Keep updated with Little BU & Mini Style Diary on our instagram: @officiallittlebu & @ministylediary   




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