MEET Ira, the inspiring mama behind PanosEats, she's on a mission to get us more adventurous with the family meals we make - without spending hours in the kitchen! Here to serve up a generous helping of inspiration and to answer the usual question “What is for dinner tonight?”
Tell us a little about yourself and your family
Hi there, I’m Ira, a food lover, tech nerd and intuitive eating enthousiast. My two little bundles of joy, Panos - 4 years old and Elpida - 1.5 years old, keep me busy. I love photography, music, cooking and organizing parties. I am originally from Greece and I have lived in the US for the past 10 years, where I work as a software engineer in a tech company.
Tell us about your page Panos Eats and your inspiration to start it
PanosEats started in 2019 as my outlet to express my passion about healthy meals that the whole family can enjoy. I wanted to show the world how easy it is to make delicious food with simple wholesome ingredients. My inspiration to start my food blog was my son, a true foodie in heart, and his way of learning to love food while creating powerful memories.
When was your interest in food sparked?
Since I remember myself I would say. My memories are full of cooking with my grandma and mom, making a mess in the kitchen, smelling the spices, mixing and stirring food. And laughing along the way! And this is what I want to pass to my children. That food is an experience that you can feel with all your senses.
AS A WORKING MUM, CAN YOU GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO WHAT A TYPICAL DAY LOOKS LIKE FOR YOU?
Full of todo lists, meetings, priorities and laundry! We love to have a simple and nutritious breakfast as a family and then start our day. I’m working on a very demanding job which needs all my attention during the day but I try to remind myself to drink my water and eat my food. In the evening when the whole family reunite we love to spend time organizing, playing and cooking. One of the most important moments is dinner time. Because this is the time for us to reconnect, to share how our day was, to bond. Food has this power of connecting people! And then more cuddles and lots of book reading. As soon as the kids are down to sleep, this is my time to relax, cook for the next day, while I usually work (both for my day work and my blog). I just wish that the day had more hours.
What are your top tips on starting with weaning?
Be patient and trust your child. In our house we are practicing the division of responsibility. We, as parents, are responsible to offer healthy options and our children are responsible to decide what they want to do. I have two completely different kids. Panos liked food since day one but Elpida didn't start eating big portions until after her first birthday. I just had to be patient and trust her along the way. Oh and make sure that you get lots of bubbaboo bowls and plates! Both my kids absolutely love them!
What are your top tips on making meals that are suitable for the whole family?
Be adventurous. Pretty much you can serve every food (with some exceptions) since the beginning of the weaning journey. This means that a child can have a family's food from the beginning. Do you know how much this changed my life when I realized that I don't really need to cook separately for my babies! Elpida pretty much had what we were having (with minor changes) since she was 6.5 months old. I just had to make sure to offer the food in a proper form for her age. Eat a variety. This helps to make sure that the whole family eats all the nutrients that we need. We love to eat all the different food categories, fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, beans etc.
What are your quick go to snacks?
I love to make snacks at home. And my secret is that I usually make a big batch and freeze some so I have snacks ready to go when I need to. My freezer is full of waffles, pancakes, cookies, muffins, pies, cakes etc! Pano’s favorite at the moment is spinach and feta muffins, which is so easy to make! Elpida loves our gluten-free quinoa cookies, which are ready in no time! But when I don’t have anything ready then my go to is a fruit or vegetable with some type of protein. Great examples are apples with peanut butter or grapes, carrots and cheese cubes or veggie sticks with hummus.
Finally, what are your top 3 meals?
Oh this is just a hard question! There are so many meals that the whole family loves. My one pot chicken and rice is a huge hit lately, which makes a great make ahead meal! Also, my kids love our crispy oven baked fish sticks. What I like about this recipe is that you can make it with any leftover fish that you have! And of course a good salad, like my Euphoria salad! My whole family loves salads of all kinds and I actually have dedicated a full week to discuss everything about salads, how to offer to babies and how to encourage toddlers to eat more salads. You will find all this information on my Instagram @PanosEats