We talk to Hungry Healthy Happy's Dannii Martin about her healthy eating journey, and get a few delicious and nutritious tips for wannabe food bloggers...
Every year on 7 April, the World Health Organisation commemorates its founding with World Health Day. So what better day for us to speak to Dannii Martin – founder of Hungry Healthy Happy – to get her tips and advice for those who want to tackle their eating habits head-on.
Not only has Dannii made Hungry Healthy Happy into one of the best and biggest healthy eating sites on the web, but she’s also built up a considerable following across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too, where snaps of her low-fat recipes serve as inspiration to thousands. We sat down with Dannii to get her insight on the power of Instagram when it comes to balancing your eating habits, as well as getting a few delicious and nutritious tips for wannabe food bloggers…
Instagram: “Great for healthy-eating inspiration.”
“I started blogging as a way to keep myself motivated with my own 100lb weight loss,” says Dannii of Hungry Healthy Happy’s origins. “I found that posting my meals to the blog each day helped me make much healthier food choices.
“Before long, friends and family started asking for my recipes, so it made sense to create the blog as a place to keep all those recipes together.”
And soon enough friends and family weren’t the only ones wanting to see Dannii’s recipes regularly. Thousands flocked to Hungry Happy Healthy on the hunt for healthy and balanced meals, engaging with Dannii across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“I started Facebook before I started the blog,” she says, “but I was very late to the Instagram game. At first I thought it was just another social network that would never really catch on, but I quickly fell in love with it. It’s my favourite place to share now.”
“I quickly fell in love with Instagram – it’s my favourite place to share now.”
Instagram is a firm favourite with foodies and food bloggers alike, with the emphasis on photography making it the perfect place to find new recipe ideas: “It’s great for inspiration for healthy eating,” says Dannii. “People are attracted to bright and healthy images; you only have to look at a hashtag like #HealthyEating to see how much great stuff there is out there.
“I tend to follow hashtags rather than specific accounts on Instagram,” she adds. “#SmoothieBowls is one of my favourites – people put so much effort in these beautifully-presented breakfasts.”
“In the beginning it all grew organically and I didn’t really have to do much except post my photos,” she says of her own Instagram account. “I think it’s much harder to build a following now than it was back then – the network is over-saturated with healthy eating accounts and posts tend to get lost in hashtags. It takes a lot more time and effort to build up a following now, but I think it’s worth it; Instagram is a great community.”
Although Dannii agrees that Instagram is capable of helping people make a positive change in their lives, she still warns that a bit of care is needed before you go launching yourself into following someone’s health and nutrition advice wholeheartedly.
“It can definitely be motivating, but you have to take things with a pinch of salt,” she says. “There have been some stories recently where so-called health gurus have admitted to struggling with their own eating disorders while still promoting these super-healthy lives. Also, there are lots of people out there giving out advice without disclaiming that they have no qualifications! By all means get meal inspiration from Instagram, but always consult a medical professional for nutrition advice.”
As is clearly stated on her blog, Dannii is no health professional – Healthy Hungry Happy is simply her way of sharing the clean eating method that helped her lose weight – but she does have one big piece of advice for anyone looking to clean up their daily diet:
“You don’t need to cut out food groups!”
“You don’t need to cut out food groups!” says Dannii. “Unless you have a medical condition, I think that all foods can be part of a healthy and balanced diet. It’s all about moderation, and having a balance.
“I follow the 80/20 rule, which means 80% of my meals are plant based with healthy protein and whole grains, and the other 20% is ice cream, cake, pizza and that sort of thing, sometimes all in the same day!
“Ultimately, you just need to set yourself realistic goals, and take it one day at a time.”
“It’s the best thing I have ever done…”
Our final question for Dannii – what would you say to anyone thinking of starting their own healthy eating blog?
“Do it!” she says emphatically. “It’s the best thing I have ever done, and I never imagined that it would be my full-time job, let alone publish my own book out of it! My advice would be to not compare your blog to anyone else’s. It can get you down when other people are getting amazing opportunities and have loads of followers, but lots of these blogs have years of content and growth behind them. Everyone starts somewhere, just be patient and make it yours.”
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