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Meet Joy from @lunchesandlittles

What inspired/prompted you to start @lunchesandlittles?
I’ve always been a lover of color, good food and fun, and having children brought those side of me out even more. However, when I signed up and started using Instagram it was for personal reasons/ connections and I had no intention on growing it in any way, especially not in the direction it grew. One day, in addition to pics of our kids, I started posting fun food; toast shaped liked a fish, a stack of colorful pancakes, etc. I was simple sharing what was working for us with meal times in our home. All of a sudden, people started following along, and I guess the rest is history. Today my children are definitely the on-going inspiration for my feed. I want the foods that I make at home to be able to compete with the store-bought, commercial versions that routinely catch my family’s attention. I regularly challenge myself to make healthy treats and meals more fun, and in the process have taught myself that with the right ingredients, and a little extra time – even the healthiest meals could be appealing to children (and adults!). On my feed I try and share what I have learned (and am still learning!) with my audience, sharing family recipes, fun food and healthy treats, that are usually pretty coloful and easy too!

What is something you have learned from another #foodiemom and applied to your own cooking/meal strategy/etc.?
I get inspired by other women on Instagram every single day and could write so much about people who have taught, encouraged and even shaped me over the last couple years in this community. To name just a few: Kayla (@thefamilyfoodproject), Melanie (@cleanlittleplates) and Megan (@mamamakesfood) have each inspired me to eat more plant-based, which is something I really did not do that much a couple years ago. Heather (@heather_kidskitchen) is another Mama who has inspired me a lot. She has a vision and desire to make meals fun and colorful just like I do and I love that she works to help little ones outside of her home be hands on in the meal prep/ cooking process too. Ashley (@veggiesandvirtue) is another Mama who inspires me with her feed. She has kind of coined the phrase “loveitlikeitlearningit” in the insta-world and I love that she gave a term to something I have been trying to do with our own little ones. I also love her dietitian background, as I do not have the same head knowledge that she does when it comes to a lot of those details in the food space.

What is a food or nutrition related goal that you have for 2018 for yourself or your family?
For 2018, I really want to get back to basics. At times in 2017 I got a bit elaborate with recipes and got some feedback that my dishes and ideas were hard to replicate. I love making meals fun, and delicious, but I also want people who follow me to understand that feeding your family healthy, real food does not have to be hard. Sure, there are occasions I take more time to prep a meal than others, but I am also a mother of 3, all 4 and under, and definitely know what it is like to feel busy, overwhelmed, or just not want to cook. Ha! I hope in the next year to reach even more parents with the message that making healthy and good meals can be done on any schedule, and real food really can be fun.

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