It would be fair to say Bianca Monley is responsible for pioneering the healthy food movement in Australia...
The founder of Eat Fit Food started her business as a one-woman show fifteen years ago – she used to deliver the nutritious and wholefood meals herself to customers – and has now established the healthy meal delivery business as one of the most respected and trusted health brands in the country. If that isn’t enough to inspire, she’s also juggling running a business with three children under three (Harper, 3, Winter, 2, and Finn, 1), as well as running the Eat Fit Farm, a property in The Southern Highlands where she grows her own produce to incorporate into the Eat Fit Food meals, creating a true paddock to plate experience. So how does the successful entrepreneur juggle motherhood with the demands of running a business and farm? “I put myself first, I exercise, take time out when I need it and meditate. I believe you are no good to anyone if you are not 100% yourself. Create the time you need for yourself, even if it’s 15 minutes each day. Put it in the diary and make it a non-negotiable.” Sage advice from a woman who is as passionate about healthy eating as she is as prioritising self-love and gratitude. We caught up with Bianca ahead of our GRACE TALKS event on July 28th in Sydney (get your ticket here), where she’ll be speaking about all things business and babies, to get insight into her morning routine with three kids, how she approaches food and sugar with her family, why exercise and breakfast are non-negotiable and how “changing the way people perceive healthy” will always be her main motivation in business, family and life. Photography: Grace Alyssa Kyo | Words: Marisa Remond | Go to www.eatfitfood.com.au
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Motivated, resourceful and active.
Can you tell us about your childhood?
I grew up in the South Island of New Zealand in a country town called Wanaka, I was the youngest of four. My parents owned a restaurant, so hard work and food was always in my blood. My father ran the restaurant while my mother raised four children. We would all go into the restaurant in the mornings and clean up from the night before as a family. I have strong memories of preparing the potatoes in this very loud noisy potato rumbler, dipping my fingers in the hot chocolate sauce and picking watercress from the local swamps for the restaurant and even selling it to other restaurants by knocking on their back doors. Let’s just say being an entrepreneur was always my destiny.
How has your approach to health and wellbeing has changed since you became a mother?
Like any mother, time has become very limited. My strategy is if I can make it to two high energy 45-minute exercise sessions a week, it sets me up with an extremely positive mindset. However, sometimes all I can manage is Frozen yoga from YouTube with the kids in the lounge or a simple walk in nature. I have a strategy with breathing and meditation, which I teach the kids for those pressure times when everyone is crying, they are starting to relate to it now and it helps to calm everyone down including myself. Food wise we eat very well with a variety of Eat Fit Food meals and juices always in the fridge. On weekends we love to cook, eat cheese and I do love a glass of wine or two.
As mothers, we all crave more energy. What kind of foods would you recommend busy mothers fuel themselves with?
My morning go-to is always a green smoothie as it’s super quick to make. In my freezer, I keep frozen organic bananas, kale and spinach. I blend this with the flesh and water from a coconut, LSA and avocado. It’s delicious and gives me the energy I need to start the day. Get yourself a Nutribullet; blend all the ingredients together and you just take the cup with you if you are running out the door. Win-win!
How do you start the day right?
It starts with a bang with three under three. I have a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar, glass of water and then a coffee. I like to exercise then have my breakfast. It’s very important to always have breakfast, if you don’t it will catch up with you later in the day and you end up over eating.
Bianca wears Chloé dress, from Parlour X, and Hunter boots
What’s your approach to sugar?
We mostly stay away from it. I try to educate my kids that you don’t need sweet things, once you have the taste for it, it becomes addictive. However, I do love to make a traditional apple crumble some weekends, served with French vanilla ice-cream and cream. All of my kids are involved with making our special family recipe as it gives me an opportunity to educate them that sugar is not great to eat all the time. I explain to them the effects it can have on their health and you should only eat it sparingly. Our eldest Harper who is three now repeats this to me and tells the other family members, it’s pretty cute.
What has motherhood taught you?
Patience. Prior to being a mother, you have these pre-conceived ideas on how you think you will be. This completely goes out the door after three kids. Every day I take time to stop, take three deep breaths and check in with myself on how I am responding to the children. It’s made me way more aware of my actions and communication style with the family as a whole.
Take us back to the time when you launched Eat Fit Food – what were those early days of the business like?
I was 22, I started it by myself doing everything from cooking to deliveries to accounting. It was tough, but I loved it. I was on a mission with a true passion for food and to change the way people perceive healthy through fabulous fresh premium meals people did not think was possible back then, but look now?!
Is there anything you would have done differently?
Nothing at all.
What have been some highlights since you began Eat Fit Food?
Winning the Veuve Clicquot New Generation award in 2016 was an absolute highlight. It’s not often you stop and look back at what you have achieved and give yourself a pat on the back. The constant reinvention of the brand and marketing always blows me away and am so proud to see my staff grow and blossom with me.
Can you take us through the philosophy of Eat Fit Food and what goes on behind the scenes…
Our mission is to “Change the way people perceive healthy.” We create, prepare and deliver premium healthy meals and juices in both Sydney and Melbourne delivering up to 3000 meals a day. The business operates 24 hours a day, five days a week. Starting on a Sunday prepping the meals, drivers pick up at midnight and drop on our client’s doorsteps before 7am. We also grow a proportion of our produce at our very own farm Eat Fit Farm.
Tell us about Eat Fit Farm…
We are there every second weekend for a few days. You can read more about it here. We plant and grow organically processed fruits and vegetables with a portion going directly to Eat Fit Food’s kitchen. It’s our saving grace being in the country, the growing of the vegetables, being surrounded by nature and involving my children in this process is true to my heart. When I am there my mind becomes open and creative to new ideas to constantly reinvent Eat Fit Food.
Do you think your teenager self would be proud of where you are now?
I always knew I was going to do big things but never ever imagined how big this business would become. I am extremely proud of this and the team I have created.
Bianca wears Valentino dress, from Parlour X, and Hunter boots
What’s your approach to self-love and what will you teach your children about self-love?
It always starts and ends with you. In order to love anyone, you must truly love yourself and take complete responsibility for your actions. I believe this wholeheartedly. We play the grateful game every day over a meal, one by one we talk about what we are grateful for. This is teaching them of self-love from a very young age.
If we opened your fridge, list three things we would find…
Coconuts, avocado, Eat Fit Food meals and juices.
Talk us through a typical morning in your home…
It starts very early; Baby Finn doesn’t sleep much and wakes around 5.30am. We try to cuddle him but he’s a typical boy and ready for action usually body slamming us to start the day. The girls soon wake up, breakfast is served for them and we talk about food and what good for you. On a school day we do hair, teeth, get dressed and pack bags to be out the door by 7:15am. I then exercise, down a green smoothie and head into work.
Bianca wears Isabel Marant Etoile blouse, from Parlour X
How do you unwind at night?
I usually have a glass of wine or meditate after kids have been fed, bathed and read stories. It’s an extremely high-pressure time while they are so little and my partner and I both work full time. I like to watch usually an hour of TV, something that motivates me like Chef’s Table.
When it comes to motherhood, what makes you feel the most stressed?
When all three children are crying and no matter what you do they just won’t calm down. Usually, it’s when they are tired or sick and you feel like nothing will work. I must admit I have broken into tears a few times in this situation and shut myself in the bathroom for a few minutes.
What part of motherhood brings you the most joy?
Those little smiles, the words, the cuddles, watching them learn and grow. You quickly forget the bad times when you see their little smiling faces or the mispronunciation of words that’s just so cute.
How much time do you spend on social media?
I check it a lot, I would say at least 30 minutes a day when you add it all up. I think it’s very important to detox from it and have days when I choose to switch off. As a business owner, it is very important to keep up to date with what’s happening and it’s a great tool to build relationships.
Bianca’s little list of loves:
Boxing outdoors. Family Sunday cook ups. Motivational podcasts – Master of Scale with founders of Facebook, Amazon + Air BNB. Running to dance music. Earth to Table Café in Bondi – they do the best raw vegan food. Insight Timer – a meditation app with something for everyone. Raw desserts. Bullet proof coffee. Frozen Yoga on YouTube – doing this with my kids.