Well-loved television presenter and fitness inspiration Davina McCall shares her passion for healthy eating in her latest tome, ‘Smart Carbs’
How have you persuaded your children to embrace a healthy diet?
It has to be by example. I don’t force it on them and when I pick them up from school, I try to have celery sticks and carrots rather than a packet of crisps on hand. I try to enthuse them to want to adopt a healthy lifestyle. I don’t want it to be a chore. I get them to make their own snacks and now my daughter Holly is really into baking. I have swapped certain foods for their healthy equivalent over the years without telling them. A successful swap was Chicken Crumble (in the book). The topping is made with pulverized cauliflower and quinoa and a bit of Parmesan mixed together which is really crunchy and crispy.
Has a healthy lifestyle bonded you as a family?
Meal times do bring us closer. Cooking for your family is a really bonding thing and seeing my children and husband sitting down and eating what I’ve made for them gives me enormous satisfaction. It’s a really nurturing, motherly thing to do. I’m a real stickler for all coming together at meal times – I think it is my French upbringing – meal times are sacrosanct.
Tell us a bit about your French heritage.
I was brought up in London but my mother was French and I spent my holidays in Paris with my grandparents. I feel culturally very French. Half of my heart is French and one foot is firmly there.
Have you always enjoyed cooking?
Yes and I’ve always cooked from scratch. When I met Matthew he had an aversion to creamy milky sauces so he actually made me a healthier cook. Then when I had children I found I was much more worried about what I put in their food than I ever was about what I ate myself. As I’ve got older I have realised that there are a lot of illnesses that really can be held at bay through diet and exercise. It is just common sense that if we lead healthier lives, we will live longer and fuller lives.
Do your children think of you as a health guru?
No, they just see me as mum, who works on the TV and they would laugh if you described me as such. I love the health and fitness angle to my life though and take pride in it. I never thought I would be in this position 11 years ago but what is nice about it is that it just sort of happened. I just wanted to lose weight after having a baby and I wanted to share how I did it with other people. It is a really empowering thing for women and it is not just about how they look, but how they feel.
What is your favourite kitchen appliance?
I love juicing and use the one from my own range, the Davina for Lakeland Personal Blender. I load it with fruit and veg, quick swizz and then you just grab the container and go. I particularly like using it to make a mango and yoghurt smoothie, it’s the best!
Photos by Andrew Hayes-Watkins
Article by: Susan Springate