Agnes Anderson, 35, is mum to Anne-Marie (13) and David (10). She is very knowledgeable about healthy eating, healthy choices, cooking and nutrition as a result of her two children having medical conditions that restrict their diet.
What Agnes says
Why is healthy eating so important to you and your family?
"My daughter Anne-Marie has type 1 diabetes as well as autism, which means that her diet is highly restrictive of carbohydrates, with every gram of carbohydrate having to be counted and allowed for every day. I first learned about how to count carbs and prepare low-carb meals for my daughter by going to nutrition classes run by the NHS and by consulting a dietician at Yorkhill. My son David has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and coeliac disease, which means that his diet must be free from gluten. As a result of having Crohn’s disease, David also has difficulty digesting certain kinds of food that are full of fibre, like fruit and veg. Healthy eating is obviously extremely important to keeping my family healthy."
Why do you want to become a Healthy Helper with Eat Better Feel Better?
How conscious are your children of making healthy choices?
"Due to growing up with restrictive diets, my two kids are very aware of how to make healthier food choices. My kids and I like to sit down together and plan meals for the week ahead. Meal planning is a great way for the kids to see the entire process of cooking from scratch. My kids love to go to the shops with me and choose the kinds of fruit and veg we will have. The kids also help me prepare recipes so that they can see how you can take a raw ingredient and use it to make soup, chilli or a sauce. It gives them a great perspective into how the cooking process works. Since my kids were little, I encouraged them to try different kinds of food and never pressured them into eat something they didn’t like."
Are your children fussy eaters?
"I battle with the kids at the dinner table one or two times a week. My daughter refuses to eat anything from a tin, including fruits, lentils or beans. My son doesn’t like fish but to fix this problem, I’ll cook fish and put it into a pasta or risotto to mask its taste and texture."
What’s the funniest excuse your kids give when they don’t want to eat something?
How did you get into cooking and how long have you been cooking?
"I’ve loved to cook most of my life, especially since I was the only vegetarian in my family. My love for cooking and experimenting in the kitchen grew once my kids were diagnosed with their medical conditions and I was forced to find alternative ways to provide nutritious meals for them. I’ve learned how to become an innovative cook on a budget. There are numerous healthier options out there for you to choose from. You just have to think outside the box and get a little creative."
What are some of the myths that you want to debunk about healthy eating?
"I want people to know that it is possible to eat well and stay on a budget. A lot of people would rather have a ready meal because they think it’ll save them time and money, when in reality it’s quicker to cook recipes yourself and cooking from scratch actually saves you more money in the long run!"
Agnes's favourite recipe
"Lasagne. It’s a great pasta recipe because it has protein, veg and dairy all in one meal. It’s very affordable as well, as I bulk it out with lentils. I also grate the carrot into the recipe so it’s easier for my son to digest since he has Crohn’s disease."
If you want to make your own lasagne, try our Vegetable Lasagne which costs less than £4 to make and can be ready in 1 hour: http://www.eatbetterfeelbetter.co.uk/recipe/vegetable-lasagne.
"Sit down together as a family and plan the week’s meals - the kids will really enjoy it and I’ve found that they’re more likely to eat a meal that they’ve been involved in."