4 Minutes With… Melanie Lionello

Melanie Lionello (aka Naturally Nutritious) has quickly become one of the most popular food bloggers in Australia, sharing her adventures in food and nutrition across her blog and Instagram. Her food philosophy is all about “real food recipes with a healthy dose of indulgence” which is captured perfectly in the drool-worthy videos and simple recipes she creates. We recently collaborated with Melanie on behalf of Maggi Marketplace, and created a series of six delicious and quick weeknight recipes.

We spoke to Mel about how she came to be Naturally Nutritious, her tips for anyone looking to take the plunge into blogging full-time, and her thoughts on how the wellness and clean-eating trends are evolving.

You describe yourself as a ‘nutritionist by trade, foodie by heart.’ Can you tell us how you became Naturally Nutritious?  

I actually kind of fell into it! I was studying at the time and really struggling with the huge biochemistry component of nutrition. I previously studied anthropology and linguistics so this was such a struggle for me as a mature age student to get my head around. My sister introduced me to Instagram over the Easter holidays in 2014 and I decided to start posting my cringe-worthy (omg if you had have seen!) photos with recipes. I slowly started to get better at photography, as I believe people eat with their eyes. By 2016 I had my first real partnership offer, which was creating a product that would go on to be stocked in every single Woolworths nationwide. Since then, Naturally Nutritious has evolved to share recipes that are generally easy to make and use ingredients that are easy to find. I also share recipes that are indulgent as well as healthy, as the page is really a reflection of how I eat, and I eat and drink everything – white sugar and wine included!

What would be your top tips for anyone looking to make a career change like you did or starting their own business? 

I know it’s cheesy but you have to have a strong passion for whatever you decide to do. So passion first, and I think something that really helped me was having the courage to say ‘yes’! If an opportunity comes your way, try to make it work even if you’re terrified or not confident or ‘ready’. A little push in the right direction is all you need sometimes to make a dream a reality….aaaaand we are done with the cheesiness!!

What kind of content does your audience engage with the most? 

My top three things are pasta, porridge and cakes! Which happen to be three of my favourite food groups 😉

Who are the five food bloggers you get most inspiration from? 

1: @natalie.zee – incredible photographer, such a hard worker and an all-round beautiful human being

2: @tohercore – she really has the ability to transport me some place else with her moody photography and cosy creations

3: @naomisherman_foodcreative – my mouth waters whenever Naomi’s images appear on my feed. She is also a brilliant story teller

4: @anisa.sabet – comfort food and cocktails, two of my favourite things!

5: @cookrepublic – beautiful veggie-full recipes that are easy to recreate

“Wellness” and “clean eating” have become huge social trends. Do you see them as fads or are they here for good? 

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I absolutely loathe those terms. I don’t like them because these movements seem to put a barrier between regular everyday people and eating healthily. Being healthy isn’t as difficult or expensive as the ‘wellness’ and ‘clean eating’ movements make it out to be, for example a raw, vegan salad with superfoods and organic vegetables can be as healthy as having a ham, cheese and salad sandwich for lunch. I think they will stick around for a while longer but I’m a huge advocate for ‘Healthy At Every Size (HAES)’, the moderation movement and mindful eating, which I’m excited to say are becoming very popular as well and are much more relatable to the everyday person because they are not a diet or way of eating in any way, shape or form J

What are your top tips for anyone looking to get into food blogging? 

Be genuine! Cook and share food that you love to your bones! Don’t follow trends, and listen to your audience about the kinds of recipes they’d like to see. If you share what you love, your audience will too.