Interview with Ebony Malcolm from Neat 2 Eat
I had the pleasure of meeting Ebony ‘virtually’ when I was researching lunchbox ideas and found that her business, Neat 2 Eat , was basically a one stop shop for exciting and fun kiddies’ lunches! Exploring a bit more, I discoverd that Ebony was very much like me. She is a mum with 2 kids, and it was her search for a solution to her own challenges with her own child that led to the birth of her amazing business, Neat 2 Eat.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a mum of two, an 8 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. I’ve been married to the most amazing English man for just 4 months now and we’ve just welcomed our 5th member of the family, Suki the cat. I love being creative and enjoy playing with food and am passionate about helping parents move away from heavily processed foods and on to simple home cooking.
Tell me more about how/why you started your company Neat 2 Eat?
My son had always had issues with food which meant feeding him became a real struggle (we’ve since found out he is autistic). I ended up just feeding him some pretty crappy processed foods just to get him to eat something…anything! One day I came across a product called the Lunch Punch (a sandwich cutter that removes the crust and leaves you with a cute shape) and thought I’d give them a try. For the first time in a year my son ate bread and more to my surprise he actually asked for the same thing the following day! I started to look for other fun products out there to get him eating, which is when I found bento (the Japanese art of cute packed lunches). There were really no places to buy from in Australia however, which is why I decided to create Neat 2 Eat to be able to supply all these awesome products.
Who benefits the most from using your products?
I think parents do. It gets them back interested and excited about preparing food for their little ones. It also takes the tension out of meal times because they become fun and exciting. It really helps with children trying new foods too.
What are some of the things you value most in life?
Definitely my faith and my family.
What is your favourite quote?
“Good things come to those who work their arses off and never give up” (not sure who wrote the quote).
I just love this quote as it’s so true, you can’t just wait around for good things to happen. You have to get out there and make them happen and when things don’t go the way you had hoped, you need to stick at it.
Do you find time to nurture yourself? What does this involve?
I don’t really, which is a bad thing. Neat 2 Eat has become something I enjoy doing and working on however, so I sometimes use it to escape the business of being a wife and mother.
What are your tips for staying happy & healthy?
I think it’s important to have a good balance in all areas of life, make sure you spend time with your family and look after yourself. It’s pretty simple stuff.
What do you indulge in?
I love cooking, so naturally whipping up tasty treats (homemade cherry ripe bites or homemade bounty bars are my current fave!) is definitely something I indulge in.
What do you and your kids like to do on the weekend?
The usual stuff, cooking, go for a walk down the beach or having a play at the park. Or just chilling out at home and snuggling on the couch while watching a movie or two.
What’s next for you and Neat 2 Eat?
I’ve just launched my first ebook full of easy, fun bento ideas & tutorials
We’ll be bringing out more ebooks over the next few months in our
Fun Lunches for Kids series, these will then be compiled into my second printed
book toward the end of the year.
Would you like to share one of your favourite healthy recipes?
COCONUT DATE BALLS
You will need:
2 cups of desiccated coconut (plus 1/2 cup for rolling)
200gms pitted dates (I soaked mine for 2 hours before using them to soften them, making them easier to vitamize)
Place dates and coconut into your food processor and process on high speed for 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides as need.
Roll the mix into small balls (I measured mine to be 15gm each which should give you 22).
Roll the balls in the 1/2 cup of coconut until evenly coated.
Pop them in the fridge to chill for about 1/2 hour and serve.
You can keep them in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.