When did you become interested in food and nutrition?
I was a very over weight child (an adult size 14 clothes when I was only 10 years old), with this came a lot of bullying and low self esteem. My mother helped me lose the unhealthy weight when I was 10 years old and I never looked back. From there I started to understand how important good nutrition and exercise was. I wanted to help others build their self esteem and feel better about themselves whether they are a size zero or a size 20! People relate to me because I’ve been through it, I am living proof you can enjoy food and exercise without making it an obsession or a chore.
What are parent’s primary concerns when it comes to their child and food?
Many parents approach me about their children’s junk food habits. But my answer is simple – don’t have it in the house. It won’t stop your child eating when they are out and about but good nutrition starts from the top and if you don’t lead by example then how can you expect your children to.
What’s the most common advice you give to parents?
Lead by example and help them become little chefs.
Do they take it?
My success stories do, the others I may not hear from again!
Why do you think we are allegedly in the midst of a children’s obesity epidemic?
Processed food. Very few people take time to cook foods from scratch citing they don’t have time but when you know how, you can whip up delicious foods in no time at all. Preparation is the key.
What’s the single best thing we could do to help our children’s food intake?
Variety is the spice of life. Even if there is a food you don’t like (for me its peas!) don’t not buy it assuming your child doesn’t like it as my daughter loves peas. Never assume they will dislike something until you have tried it on them 4 or 5 times. Sometimes it’s the attitude that is presented with it – for example my daughter today insisted she didn’t like the Irish Stew I gave her for lunch and I just said ‘Well I love it’, made no big deal and carried on eating mine making the odd comment about how nice it was. She soon polished off her bowl!