Mandy Sacher is the creator of Wholesome Child, she’s a Paediatric Nutritionist and SOS Feeding Consultant and mother of two based in Sydney, Australia. Through her private clinical practice and seminars she has helped thousands of families improve their health and wellbeing. She’s launched her first book ‘The Wholesome Child Nutrition Guide and Recipe Book’ which is available now.
I recently caught up with Mandy to find out more about herself and her new fantastic new book.
Fun question to start with! What couldn’t you live without in your pantry?
The Wholesome Child Gluten Free Mix is my staple!! It is used to prepare all the gluten-free recipes in the Wholesome Child Book.
What does a day on your plate look like?
- Breakfast: Shakshuka with chia seeds and goat cheese, Snack: Turmeric and Ginger Smoothie
- Lunch : Big mixed salad with either salmon or poached chicken with extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar Mid afternoon: Wholesome Child Flaxseed crackers with cashew cheese
- Dinner: Shepherd’s Pie with parsnip and cauliflower mash, steamed vegetables and garden salad.
What’s your top 3 tips for parents with fussy eaters?
- Family meals. Have family meals together and make it a goal to have as many meals together as often as possible.
- Desensitisation. Encourage your little ones to touch, smell and engage with their food. This starts right from shopping for groceries. Can they help take items off the shelves? Encourage them to pick up a carrot, an apple or a zucchini from the shelf and place it in the basket or trolley themselves – this begins the engagement with the new food. Can they put the dish or new veggie onto the table for the family? Don’t be disappointed if they don’t eat the new food the first time it’s offered – stay positive, freeze what is not eaten and offer it again.
- Repetition: Make new foods familiar by repeatedly offering them in a calm, familial environment. A child will not go to a stranger the first time they meet them, but after a few visits they generally feel more comfortable to sit with them. The same goes for new foods. Repeated exposure aids the process of engaging with new tastes and flavours. You can also try offering these same foods in different ways – cut into fun shapes, laid out in colour patterns, steamed veggies rather than raw.
What’s your opinion on introducing solids earlier to babies to help prevent allergies?
I am all for introducing solids earlier and there is plenty of research which shows that it may help to prevent allergies. Allergenic foods can be introduced at 4-6 months of age to all infants, the basis for this new recommendation is that there is no evidence for delaying the introduction of allergenic foods beyond 4-6 months. However, each parent has to follow their instinct and introduce solids when they are ready and when their child is ready. Some babies are not ready at 4 months but are far more interested and equipped with the necessary skills closer to 5.5 or 6 months. I see many mothers feeling pressurised to introduce solids at exactly 4 months and this is counter-productive as babies feed off their mother’s emotions. When it comes to offering a baby their first experience of solid foods it needs to be in a relaxed and calm environment.
What’s your children’s favourite meal?
Home-made fish nuggets with home-made wedges.
You’ve just launched your first book which is very exciting! What drove you to create this book?
I wrote Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook to provide answers to the many questions parents have around kids’ nutrition, while offering strategies that really work. My philosophy is simple: encourage children to enjoy nutritionally beneficial foods from a young age to ensure optimal development and establish lifelong healthy eating behaviours. The book incorporates lessons I have learned over the past 22 years in the health and wellness industry – plus my own hands-on experiences feeding my two young children. The book provides meaningful answers and proven solutions to the questions and challenges that are raised time and time again in my workshops, in parenting forums and by my clients and friends. The book also contains over 140 simple and delicious nutrient packed recipes that the whole family can enjoy. My goals for the book is to provide parents with an invaluable companion that will help support their family’s health journey while bringing the fun and enjoyment back to meal times.
For more information about Wholesome Child go here
Mandy has kindly shared with us her delicious Shepherds Pie below.
SHEPHERDS PIEPrint Recipe
- For the mash:
- 3 cups cauliflower (about 500-600g), roughly chopped
- 1 cup white sweet potato (about 250-300g), peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup parsnip (about 100-150g), peeled and chopped
- 1 tbs coconut oil or butter, melted
- 1/2 tbs arrowroot powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- For the mince:
- 1-2 tbs coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 500g beef or lamb mince
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1-2 tbs mixed herbs
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2-3 tbs tomato paste
- 1 tbs tamari sauce
- 1 cup beef stock
Fill a large pot with water and bring to the boil. Add cauliflower, sweet potato and parsnip and cook vegetables for about 10-15 mins or until they are soft. Drain, rinse and allow to cool for a few minutes. Place all vegetables and coconut oil into a food processor and process until smooth. Add arrowroot powder and salt and process for another minute. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large pan and cook onion, leek, garlic, carrot and celery for 3 mins or until they are soft. Transfer into a measurement jar or bowl and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Set aside.
In the same pan, cook the mince for 5-10 mins, or until browned.
Add vegetable mix, cumin, herbs, salt, tomato paste, tamari sauce and beef stock and let simmer for another 10 mins.
Preheat oven to 180oC.
Place the mince mixture into a deep baking dish, then top with the cauliflower mash and bake for 20 minutes (it won’t brown on top).
Serving and storing leftovers: Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Tip: If your children don’t mind chunky meals, you can leave out the step where you blend the onion, leek, garlic, carrot and celery and simply add them to the browned beef. You can also replace vegetable mash with potato or a combination of potato and cauliflower.