Celebrity Health – Jenny Powell

A photo of Jenny Powell

“I want to be a healthy role model to my daughters”

TV presenter Jenny Powell speaks to Liz Parry about her passion for health and fitness and how she encourages her daughters to lead a healthy lifestyle

TV presenter Jenny Powell has been a familiar face on our screens for nearly 30 years. The 47-year-old mum-of-two began her career fronting the BBC2 music show No Limits before appearing on Wheel of Fortune, Daybreak, Loose Women and Jenny Powell’s Luxury Uncovered for the Travel Channel. She is currently presenting a new series, Food and Wine Adventures for the Travel Channel.

Q: Would you say that living a healthy lifestyle is important to you?

Jenny: Yes it’s one of my priorities really. I wasn’t quite so aware when I was younger, but since having my daughters, Connie and Pollyanna, I’ve become much more aware of my diet and eating healthily. I think it’s important to be a good role model to my children because I want them to grow up to be strong and healthy and to know what they should and shouldn’t be eating. I think so many kids are unaware of the dangers of sugar and processed foods. It’s also shocking the increasing numbers of people who are obese and who have diabetes. We need to educate our children to look after their bodies.

Q: How have you encouraged your daughters to live healthily?

Jenny: I always make sure that we cook our meals from scratch – I don’t use anything processed or ready-made – and I encourage Connie, who is 14, to get involved with the cooking process. We have a Nutri Bullet and when she comes home from school she will throw in some spinach, berries and bananas. She used to get a lot of spots and I encouraged her to cut out sugar from her diet as much as possible, drink plenty of water and have more vegetable juices. That was a real turning point for her because her skin completely cleared up. Pollyanna, who’s six, is really good too. She loves things like sweet potatoes and dark chocolate. Neither of the girls drink fizzy drinks. We’ll have filtered water or carrot juice instead.

Q: What tips would you give to other parents?

Jenny: Don’t make it too complicated. Slowly but surely, drip-feed little bits of information to them and gradually introduce new, healthy foods. Don’t overwhelm them. Bit by bit they get used to it. Connie helps by being a good role model to her sister too. I think it’s important to get them started as early as possible.

Q: Do you ever shop in health food stores?

Jenny: Yes. I shop for things like goji berries, as they make a great snack, and I’ll get some good quality high protein bars for Connie because she does a lot of sport. I also get raw honey too.

Q: Do you tend to buy organic produce?

Jenny: Yes, as much as possible. We’ve got a great farmer’s market where I’ll buy grass-fed beef, organic chicken and organic eggs. I like to keep our food as fresh as possible.

Q: Can you give us an idea of what you might eat on a normal day?

Jenny: I’ll start the day with organic porridge made with water and I’ll add in some raw honey, nuts, blueberries and chia seeds. I’m not great at breakfast so I have to make a conscious effort to eat it. I find that porridge really fills me up. At lunch time, depending on where I am, I might have some salad with cheese and olives or an omelette with spinach and bacon. In the evening we tend to have chicken or we might have a stir fry. I try to keep it quite basic.

Q: Do you take any vitamins and minerals?

Jenny: I take krill oil because I think it’s amazing. It’s great for PMT and also good for your hair and nails and joints. I also love raw coconut oil. I use it to cook with, I add it to my porridge and I put it on our skin as a moisturiser. It’s antibacterial, so if the girls have an ulcer I’ll put some on it and it really helps. If I was stuck on a desert island it’s the one thing I’d have to have with me. We all take vitamin D3 too. Living in Manchester we never see the sun!

Q: Do you enjoy exercise?

Jenny: Yes. I’ve just discovered yoga. I think when you’re in your forties it’s good to keep flexible and mobile. I really enjoy it. I’ve got a body conditioning class that I do at my local gym which is really sociable and good fun. I like to mix up the types of exercise I do so that I don’t get bored. I also do a lot of things like lunges, squats and dead lifts in the gym.

Q: Do your children enjoy exercise?

Jenny: Yes. When they come back from school they don’t watch TV – they’re outside all the time. Pollyanna is a real tomboy so she climbs up everything and Connie really loves her sport. She does a lot of netball and athletics and she even does her own workouts in the back yard. I think it’s because she’s always seen me in my gym kit and it’s filtered through to her. She loves being active. Neither of the girls spend much time sitting around watching TV.

Q: If you could give our readers one health and beauty tip, what would it be?

Jenny: If I had to say one thing, it would be make sure that you get enough sleep. I have always been able to sleep well – sometimes I’m out of it at 9pm! I think it’s essential to all aspects of your health. You have to get in nine hours if you can. That’s my top tip.

Q: What TV shows are you working on at the moment?

Jenny: I was busy filming Food and Wine Adventures: Romania for the Travel Channel so that’s the main thing I’ve been working on. Also, not many people know this, but I have a place in Brooklyn, New York, and I go off there to do stand-up comedy when I can. It’s a little secret of mine!

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