Nutrition for the whole family with Luka McCabe from Boobtofood


Recently I was lucky enough to be asked to photograph Luka and her family to help get some imagery together for her new website. Whether your pregnant, raising children, recovering post-partum or looking for some inspiration to make some healthy changes for your family, you need to jump on over to Luka’s instagram account @boobtofood

I’ve been following along since she started a few months ago and what I love most about her feed is how informative it is, it’s so much more then healthy recipes, but an understanding as to what makes them so nutritious. Luka is a wealth of knowledge and here to shed some light on looking after yourself and your family.

Can you tell me a little about yourself and your business Boob-to-food? 

My name is Luka, I’m a wife, a mum, a registered midwife & nurse and parenting educator. I have two beautiful children-Flynn (nearly 4) and Florence (10 months). 

I’ve been passionate about nutrition for a few years now, primarily for mothers and babies. I strongly believe that when the mother eats well that the family will follow suit, and when we introduce good nutrition principles from our first foods as babies that it sets them up for healthy eating habits as adults, thus reducing many of the diet related PREVENTABLE diseases that are so prevalent today (diabetes, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol etc).

Becoming pregnant and having a baby is usually most women’s driving point to eat well, we have a new motivation now - as we want the best for our babies. So I thought why not document flo’s food journey through @boobtofood - with a focus on not just what to eat, but WHY!

Tell us the story of how boob-to-food was born?
What started as a passion project has really taken off and (hopefully) inspired people! I think my point of difference is explaining why we should eat these foods, why we should avoid certain foods and also hopefully inspire mamas to also care for themselves in the meantime! I hope one day to make it a career, I’m studying postpartum and baby nutrition this year, and I hope to then do an e-book and run some face to face courses on baby food :) 

I love that you feel so strongly about supporting women post-partum. Do you have any tips to help new mum's look after their health?

It’s SUCH a passion of mine, as like I said - good nutrition and value on food often stems from the mama! We are usually the ones to shop and cook, and our babies are constantly watching us eat and what we eat. Postnatal depletion is so prevalent in our ‘I can do it all’ culture. We are led to think that if we rest we are lazy, if we look after our own needs we are selfish, that babies needs come before our own. But how can we flow from an empty cup? Pregnancy, birth, postpartum all can deplete us of the necessary minerals and nutrients we need to function well as a woman! If you are feeling exceptionally tired or not yourself I’d absolutely recommend seeing a naturopath and having some studies done to see where you are depleted. In the meantime - preparation is key! I like to pick a meal that I’m not great at remembering to eat (or one that I end up eating not well) - for me this is lunch. Then at the beginning of the week or Sunday when my husband is home I meal prep MY lunches for the week! This might involve just cooking lots of vegetables and some chicken and a batch of quinoa that I can serve myself! I like to make things that my husband and kids can also eat, because who wants to cook more than once? I also love protein smoothies as you can jam pack them with so many nutrients for the day, but for a busy mum we can still have them on the go/in the car etc! I have lots of combinations on my account! Don’t feel guilty about resting!! When you are pregnant, ask your bestie to organise for you a ‘meal train’ for after baby arrives. As most of your friends and family will want to help you out post baby but often need some direction! This is set up by somebody else, and people willing to help pick a date that suits them to cook you a meal and drop it to your house! Those first few weeks are hard to think of food so this is an easy way to look after yourself! I also think mental health is so important especially for new mamas- our whole world has changed. It can be easy to forget yourself and who you are in the process. Find something that makes your soul happy and DO NOT feel guilty about making it happen. For me this is exercise - gym, a run on the beach, a walk in nature (all alone or with a friend!), and seeing my mama friends who I can bounce off and make me feel a bit more sane! 

What interests you most about Nutrition for the whole family?

Like I’ve said, kids model our habits! I’m a big advocate for family meal times, that way the kids see you eating and enjoying your food, but you can also have conversation and intimate family time. 

When you take the kids out for the day, what do you pack?

I like our bento box (I use yumbox) as I can pack it full of lots of little options for the kids. Depends where I’m going but this usually involves fruit, veggie sticks with hummus, some homemade bliss balls or banana bread, sometimes I just grab a knife and a whole avocado to share! I have lots of ‘lunchbox’ ideas on my page.

What are your kids favourite foods?
Gelatin gummies, red lentil pasta and pesto, fruit, sauerkraut, kefir, smoothies, bliss balls. 

 Any tricks up your sleeve for fussy eaters?
Family meal times!! 

Start them on nutrient dense foods as babies, that are flavoursome! 

I never make a big deal out of a certain food over others (eg. A plate with chicken and broccoli I wouldn’t try pushing that they eat the broccoli, I just treat the foods as equal otherwise I find my toddler likes to exert his independence and purposefully won’t eat it!)

Whilst I’m cooking dinner and the kids are hangry I let them eat parts of what I’m cooking (eg if I’m cutting up carrot they can have some) that way by dinner they’ve usually eaten lots of veggies. 

Get them involved with cooking (as annoying as it can be) and in choosing ingredients at the shops and meal planning! Also for example making kefir my son helps me make it so he takes ownership of it and wants to drink it when it’s fermented!

Don’t have other options! I don’t buy junk food, so even if my kids were fussy there would be no other option to eat! If I make dinner and they don’t eat it I NEVER make another meal! It can sound harsh, but they aren’t going to starve themselves for too long 

If in doubt hide the goodness! Protein in smoothies, gelatin in gummies, pasta sauce full of blitzed veggies, spinach leaves or beetroot or cauliflower in smoothies, if making mashed potato substitute half potato for cauliflower etc! 

If you leave with one piece of advice for busy Mum’s what would it be?
Look after yourself first, prioritise health and nutritious food and see every meal that you and your kids eat as a chance to nourish (not deplete). If you look after you, the rest will flow naturally and your children will thrive because of it 

Alex Warden