Healthy eating starts with what goes in the pantry: Rowntree

Catriona Rowntree on her property with her sons  Andrew and  Charlie.
Catriona Rowntree on her property with her sons Andrew and Charlie. Photo: Meredith O'Shea

If Catriona Rowntree's two-year-old son, Andrew, is peckish, he can chew on home-grown apples, mulberries, strawberries and cherry tomatoes.

Eggs come courtesy of their chickens, making a quick and nutritious meal.

Rowntree is lucky to be surrounded with fresh produce at the farm in rural Victoria where she lives with grazier husband James Pettit, Andrew and younger son Charles, nine months.

Catriona Rowntree shows her sons where eggs come from.
Catriona Rowntree shows her sons where eggs come from. Photo: Meredith O'Shea

But she also believes that healthy eating for her two young boys starts with what goes in the pantry.

"Ultimately you are responsible for the shop," she said.

She has taken a leaf out of her own mother's book when it comes to raising her boys: no soft drinks in the house, family meals without the distraction of the television, and an insistence on good manners at the table.

She believes in the importance of breakfasting like a king.

"You've got a great shot at getting things right from breakfast, when the kids are hungry," the Getaway presenter said.

"I'll put out blueberries, grapes, maybe some sliced apple before Andrew has his toast. You can't force them [to eat], you just leave them to it."

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Rowntree has even managed to convince her jungle-mad son that dates, mangos and grapes are "jungle lollies", and tries to follow her own advice, reaching for fruit when she has a sweet craving.

She also finds that good routines, with set mealtimes and snack times, help develop good eating habits.

"Then they are less likely to ask for 'chippies' and 'bikkies'," she said.

"Parents: you are responsible for what your children eat. Choose wisely."