Local star and health food aficionado Davina McCall talks serving up nutritious treats…
After 15 years of marriage, Davina McCall surprised her husband Matthew by arranging to renew their vows in Las Vegas last spring.
Romantic as it sounds, the TV presenter and fitness fanatic insists it was quite the opposite. In fact, the whole day was a family affair, with their three children – Holly, 14, Tilly, 12 and nine-year-old Chester – secretly writing the vows on the plane, and two “really great friends” who couldn’t come to their wedding in 2000 joining in on the surprise.
“I said to Matthew, ‘we’re going to renew our vows’, and his face sort of fell,” McCall, 48, recalls with a laugh. “He said, ‘Oh my God, that’s so cheesy. No!’”
“I said, ‘darling, we’re just going in our clothes, you don’t have to change into anything, we’re going to have a real laugh, the kids have written the vows’, and he went, ‘actually, that’s quite cute’, and we all piled down to the Little White Chapel and laughed our way through our wedding vows.
“It was brilliant because it was very casual, we didn’t make it into a great big thing.” After this long together, the couple have a good rhythm at home – but McCall notes that there’s always room for improvement…
“It’s funny because recently, when I’ve worked a couple of nights, Matthew’s cooked for friends or cooked for the kids, and I think, ‘hang on a minute, how come you never cook when I’m there?!’
“He’s actually quite a good cook, so I was like, ‘right that is it – you are going to cook for me a bit more!’ He’s very good at cooking, Matthew.”
McCall – who recently hosted Channel 4’s winter sports show The Jump – is also a dab hand in the kitchen of course, recently adding another healthy-eating cookbook to her repertoire. Written out of frustration at the confusing advice surrounding carbohydrates, Davina’s Smart Carbs seeks to simplify the issue.
“I’ve always been telling everybody about eating a balanced, healthy diet [one that includes carbs], and then I suddenly thought, ‘have I been telling people the wrong thing?’ Then a nutritionist told me that there are good carbs and bad carbs, and we came up with this idea of smart carbs.
“It makes total sense; there are smart carbs, ones that are good for us – and there are some very simple changes we can make.” These changes include swapping white bread, rice and pasta for brown varieties (“That’s a no-brainer”) and using sweet potato in place of regular spuds.
McCall recalls how she thought her kids would “baulk” when she first made a chicken crumble with a cauliflower, quinoa and parmesan topping – but actually they loved it.
“It’s interesting, you think, ‘oh well, the kids aren’t going to like it’, but the kids have got more adventurous with the new stuff I give them. They’re into trying new things.” She acknowledges mealtimes can be a battleground, however.
“I’ve got three kids and quite often, two of them like something and one of them doesn’t. I don’t make them something different – I just say, ‘have some of the veg and have a bit more of this if you don’t like that’.
“I always try and get them to try it,” McCall adds. “The more somebody tries something, the more likely they are to like it in the end.”