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Meet Vicki Leaver

Mum of two, Perth

Vicki (37) and her partner Thomas MacDonald (37) live in Perth along with their two kids, Dylan (13) and Lily (23 months). 

What Vicki Says

Why is healthy eating so important to you and your family?

"I am a firm believer in the ‘you are what you eat’ mantra and I was inspired to eat more healthily after my dad died of cancer." 

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How did you get into cooking?

"Cooking is now a full-time hobby and I pride myself on making everything from scratch because it’s so important to know exactly what you’re putting into your body. I don’t buy any ready-made meals or even jars of sauces, but instead I make sauces and soups myself."

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How conscious are your children about healthy eating?

"My baby daughter Lily has a dairy intolerance so she has to be careful about what she eats. Dylan, 13, is very aware of healthy eating and making healthy choices, and he usually brings a packed lunch to school each day. I prepare large batches of fruit and veg for the kids and I encourage Dylan to snack on it after school and in between meals. My son Dylan helps with the weekly shop and picks out his favourite fruit and veg for that week. I’ve even taught him how to make his own meal plan at home. I also encourage the whole family to sit down and plan out the meals ahead for that week. Menu planning is a great way for everyone to get involved and have a say in what they want to eat. It reduces the possibility of the kids being fussy at the dinner table and it makes planning a whole lot easier."

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Are your kids ‘fussy eaters’?

"Dylan often leaves his veg on the side of the plate and will make up excuses not to eat it. In general, both of my kids are both good eaters. I think this is because I have exposed them to a variety of foods from a very small age. The key to getting your kids not to be fussy is by introducing them to a mixture of textures and flavours from a very young age. I’m lucky because my kids don’t like ready meals." 

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What are some of your favourite success stories when it comes to getting your kids to eat healthily?

"My favourite food success story is when my son’s friend came over after school and we all made fajitas for dinner. Dylan’s friend, who never liked avocados, helped prepare homemade guacamole. To her mother’s amazement, the friend actually enjoyed the guacamole with her fajitas as a result of her being involved in the overall preparation and cooking process. I also love to make soup for the kids as it’s a great way of ensuring that they get a healthy serving of veg without the fuss. I put any kind of veg in my soups. Once you blitz up the veg, you aren’t able to pick out what you’re eating anyway, so the kids eat their meal without complaint and they’re still getting a nutritious meal that’s full of essential vitamins and minerals."

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Vicki's favourite recipe

"Chicken and veggie fajitas."

Make your own fajitas with our Vegetable Fajitas recipe which can be ready in just 20 minutes:

Vicki's top tips

"Chop up different kinds of fruit and veg at the start of the week and keep it in the fridge so the kids can always have a healthy snack."

"Try swapping crisps and sweets for healthier options like cereal bars, dried fruit, plain popcorn and breadsticks."

This article was created as part of

Eat Better Feel Better

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Food & Eating Healthy Helpers Child (4-8 years)

Last updated: 10 Dec, 2018