Leah Itsines’ Instagram is exploding with colour. Raspberry chocolate brownies, homemade sausage rolls, loaded sweet potatoes, pancakes stacked high with fruit and a watermelon and feta salad so stunning, you can almost taste the flavour with just one look.
There is cheese, chocolate and most importantly, carbs.
Have you guys ever had watermelon and feta salad? ???? It’s just fresh watermelon, feta, mint, lime and a little olive oil all tossed up in a bowl ✅ I was so apprehensive to try it…but I did and I’m still…. getting used to it hahaha. Cheese and fruit? Very unsure ???? Do you like it??? www.leahitsines.com ???? #leahitsines #bareguide
THIS creamy goodness of a potato salad is the PERFECT thing to bring to a party – and its super easy but majorly delicioussssss!! I used the same potatoes as i did with the gnocchi, They’re called @spud.lite ! They’re a soft but creamy potato which makes them a perfect option for salads like these ???? Recipe is Up now!! www.leahitsines.com ????Advertisement
Picture by picture, recipe by recipe, Leah Itsines (yes, that Itsines) is on a mission to break down misconceptions about what healthy food has to look like.
Little sister of Kayla Itsines, the Adelaide personal trainer-turned-fitness entrepreneur with almost nine million Instagram followers and worth a reported $46 million, the 23-year-old is building an empire of her own.
It all started in 2015 when she began posting meals she made herself for lunch or dinner on Instagram and Facebook. Slowly, people began to react to her posts.
“People started asking for recipes, tips, ideas, which of course was incredibly exciting for a 20-year-old at the time,” she tells Mamamia.
She “kind of fell” into food blogging.
“It’s not something I planned to do, it more so just happened over time as my page and my Leah Itsines brand began to expand and grow. Cooking has always been a passion of mine and as soon as I’d come home from school every day I’d be in the kitchen preparing dinner with mum and Yiayia [Grandma],” she says.
“So for me food blogging and creating food recipes comes easy, it’s something I’m so passionate about.”
Itsines now boasts over 300,000 Instagram followers. She’s collaborated with Bake Mixes, a Melbourne-based company which makes organic, vegan baking mixes made from real ingredients and no nasties, to release a limited edition range including Salted Caramel Protein Balls Mix and Vanilla and Choc-Chip Protein Pancakes Mix.
And last month, she launched BARE, a balanced and realistic eating plan that combines some of her delicious and healthy recipes with shopping lists, four week meal guides and nutritional information, with friend and dietitian Emily Hartley.
As mentioned, one of the biggest things about Itsines’ food posts compared to other healthy food bloggers is how enticing they look. There’s colour, flavour and decent portion sizes that aren’t always ‘meal prepped’ in tupperware containers.
Sooooo last night my choice of food was cheesy chicken parmys ???? I have no idea why I felt like them but…..they were delicious!! ???????? who needs a plate when you can eat straight out of the tray??? ???? This recipe will be up a little later in the week for sure ???? ps, one day my hair will be normal???????? #happydays #leahitsines
“It is so incredibly important to me that I change the misconception that eating healthy has to be eating bland foods like the typical body builders chicken, broccoli and rice,” she says.
“Eating healthy is all about providing your body with the right nutrients daily, through wholesome meals. I am all about adding more veggies, more spices, more herbs, more flavour to meals because it will never get boring – flavour and satisfying your taste buds is so important!”
Most importantly, she believes it’s not about restricting yourself – which is good news if you’re someone like me with a sweet tooth.
“I find when you’re not restricting yourself of certain foods and you’re eating a healthy balance of wholesome foods you crave sugary foods a lot less. I believe if you’re desperate for a sweet treat, have it!” she says.
Listen: Not everyone is as gluten free as they say they are. Post continues after audio.
“My BARE Guide teaches women how to make those initial steps toward being healthy and eating a balanced and realistic eating guide. It’s essential to fuel your body with the right nutrients on a daily and even weekly basis.”
She doesn’t agree with people who force their opinions of “no carbs, low fats or gluten free” as a solution for everyone.
“There are so many people who [try to] convince people that specific necessities are bad for you. Being ‘healthy’ is all about eating to suit your lifestyle and nourishing your body in the correct manner, for what is for YOU!”
In Itsines’ food you see passion, love and family. Like her sister, Leah is very close to her family, with food an important bonding experience growing up.
“Our family was super loving, supportive and generous. Mum and dad didn’t have a lot – but they gave us their everything,” she says.
“I’d always be inside the kitchen cooking with my mum and Kayla was always fascinated with sport outside with dad. It’s nice to be able to complement each other in the same industry.”
With both sisters having a significant social media presence, has her sister given her any advice when it comes to dealing with negative comments?
This is my FAVE. VIDEO. EVER. ????We tried to do a cooking video with yiayia but….. didn’t exactly go to plan ????this is such a typical day with yiayia and Papou – they’re the BEST people on this earth. I just gotta make sure to make 3o’clock coffee today or yiayia is going to kill me ???? #family #leahitsines #yiayia #papou #whatareyoudoingontheroof
“The main thing is to not take anything personally; at the end of the day everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” she says.
When it comes to the food she posts, Leah practises what she preaches.
On the day we speak, Leah ate a breakfast of fresh homemade bread, fresh garden tomatoes, olives, feta and two boiled eggs at her Yiayia’s house. Snacks were sweet potato and zucchini slice and raw vegetables and spicy hummus, while lunch was a burrito bowl – one of her favourites thanks to the fact they’re “super easy to make” and can be easily packed for work lunch.
This slice. Is my life. ???? It’s SO GOOD hot or cold (I like it cold better) and is the perfect snack for that mid afternoon when you’re a little hungry, but it’ll be apparently frowned upon if you eat dinner…. *whatever mum*???????? PERFECT veggie packed SNACK ✅ Sweet potato and zucchini slice is so delicious, and one of the yummy snacks in #BARE! www.leahitsines.com ???? #leahitsines #bareguide #slice #snack
Dinner was a family affair – homemade pizza made with wholemeal Pita bread as a base, with plenty of veggies, roast chicken, pesto and balsamic glaze.