How to fall in love with family cooking

Oct 20, 2022 | Podcast

Louise Keats, nutrition writer and granddaughter of Margaret Fulton sits down with host Amelia Phillips to discuss how to make home cooking easier, healthier and delicious with some simple hacks to amp up nutrients in our kids diet and get our fussy eaters to eat their greens!

Below is an unedited transcript of the podcast episode:

A few Sundays ago, I tried a new pulled pork recipe, slow cooked all day with plum and Chinese spices. I even got tacos for the kids and we were going to make a taco night out of it. I mean, this meal was cooked with a lot of love. They came rushing over and Lockey was the first to look at his taco and turn up his nose and say, This isn’t the meat we usually have.

This isn’t meat. It’s all stringy. And then that just set off the cascade. Charlotte Angus. And finally, a little Ella decided it was poison, my bubble was burst. They ended up eating plain cheese tacos and I had about two weeks worth of pulled pork leftover and felt very deflated.

This is Healthy Her with Amelia phs cooking healthy, delicious meals for the family week in and week out is no easy task and with so many takeaway or delivery options out there, it’s no wonder that less and less Aussies are cooking at home. In fact, the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the average Australian is either dining out.

Or getting take away 33% more than we were in 2010. So how can we home cook more easily? What are the foods that pack the biggest nutrient punch? And how can we satisfy even the fussiest of kiddies? To show us the way is the talented Louise Kes, granddaughter to Australian cooking icon, Margaret Fulton, publisher of five cookbooks, caught on blur graduate with a nutrition degree, plus the mom to Harry, who’s 11, and Charlotte, who’s five.

She’s also a dear friend that I have known since we were 10 years old. Lou, thank you so much for joining me today. Oh, such a joy to be here. Meals. Well having Margaret Fulton as your grandma, cuz let’s face it, we’re raising the bar pretty high. And Suzanne Gibbs, as your mom must have taught you a lot, not just about cooking, but about the food culture created in the home.

Looking back now, what lessons do you feel most grateful for? What I’m most grateful for, to start off with, is that we lived in the same street growing up, so you’ll remember because you visited my childhood home many times, but my grandma lived in the same street, so she was like a second mom to me and certainly a second kitchen.

So my sister and I were to down the street. She had beagle dogs when we were growing up so we could squeeze through her dog door. Plonk ourselves down at her kitchen table and just join in whatever she was doing, whether it was stirring the cus or shelling the peas, and there would always be a conversation there.

And we talk about the kitchen being the heart of the home, but in my case, it really was just because it was a hive of activity. So I think food was always such a priority for us. But what was magical about the food in my family is that it brought us together and that we all had a job to do. And there was always a story to tell.

And so it was a really. Cohesive sort of factor in our, in our childhood. And it was something that my family was excited about. It didn’t ever seem like a chore to my mom or grandma, though it must have been, but they certainly never let on because they were so, they are so passionate. My mom’s so passionate about cooking that it just brought that excitement to me as well.

So I think, you know, we learned to grow our own veggies. Take joy in what we, what we made and to sit down as a family. We always sat down. Television was always off. Share stories from the day, gather around the meal table. It was just a time to be together more than anything. And so do you remember set food philosophies that they would talk about?

Or was it more of a case of just learning through observation? Well, they both cooked for a living, so they were both food writers and had magazine columns. So mum was the food editor for New Idea and then for home Beautiful. So we had this sort of meals being cooked at home that would then later appear in a magazine.

So that, you know, that was a lot of fun. But ultimately, if I think about a food philosophy that that guided them. That infiltrated my childhood actually came from my great grandmother, Isabella Fulton, and we’re talking back in the 1920s meals. It’s a long time ago, but she used to boast that her family had the highest grocery bills, but the lowest doctor’s bills.

And I love that. Even a hundred years ago now, that even back then she understood that link between. What she fed her family and their health. And I think my grandma never jumped on nutrition fads. She always had the butter and the triple cream Bri in her fridge and she never switched to margarine and she had her nightly whiskey.

But I think when you eat. Just enjoying your food and, and, and eating whole foods. Everything in her fridge was in a form that you could sort of recognize from the earth. And I, I think that’s how we lived. It was just the simplest ingredients done well. And so what have you now carried on? And if we’re talking about.

The food philosophies or the trends that you have brought into your family now. Now you are a nutritionist. You don’t cook for a living. Mm-hmm. , But you are a recipe rider and you have a very full career. It’s not just about cooking. You’ve got lots of other amazing things going on. So how have you taken those learnings and then brought that into the modern world and into a busy.

Household with which you guys all live. I think the key learning that I have brought into my life is to try and sit down, set the table properly, and gather together at dinner time. And it’s hard now that I’m a mum. I marvel at my mum and grandma and I think, How did they do that night in, night out? Mum even had, we were talking about ironing the other day.

Mom even had, you know, press napkins and did everything really properly and I, I don’t think I set the bar even as high as she did. But if you can just. Sit down together. For me, that is the the number one rule, and everything sort of flows from there. Through my research, I’ve also learned about the incredible benefits that brings for kids.

So we know that teenagers who sit down and eat family meals are so much more likely to report that their mom and dad know what’s really happening in their life, that they’re much less likely to have an eating disorder. There’s much less likely to be drug and alcohol abuse. So there’s. Plus kids who eat family meals are also more likely to have nutritionally superior meals.

So we know that there’s, from the research, so many benefits for families in, in getting together and taking some care over. How you do things. You know, having some pride in how you do things. You, you teach your children that actually, even just within these four walls, what we do matters. How we talk to each other matters.

How we sit down together, it counts for something. We don’t just do it for other people, we do it for us. I think that that builds self-esteem as well. Well, I hear. The love that you talk about, the memories with your mom and your grandma and cooking at home, and I think, what memories am I creating for my family right now?

What are they going to say to their friends about their memories of cooking? My mom also was an amazing cook and she cooked dessert every night for us, which, you know, whether it was a right or wrong thing, I just look back on it with such excitement. Oh, what were we having for dessert? She just knew how to make the right foods for us for kids that we all enjoyed every night.

And so it’s funny because we are all so busy and we’re so exhausted and there’s so many great options out there, but I don’t want my kids to remember Uber Eats. I don’t want them to remember, you know,  that the pizza shop down the road. I want them to remember me cooking, but looking at you and you are the quinte.

Modern working mom, Both your kids are at school as well. So whilst we’d all love to have that perfect lunch box, we’ve also got to consider our kids preferences and the time that we have in the morning to get them out of the house. How do you juggle the packet food, which they all bake for, versus a beautiful homemade lunch box?

Look, I’ve, the starting point would be to say, Be kind to yourself, mom, like, let’s not try and keep up with the Joneses when it comes to our lunchbox. Let’s just all take a deep breath and she’ll acts here because, you know, it doesn’t make you a better mom if your lunchbox is, you know, better than the kid.

I do think there’s a lot of. Comparison than judgment that happens and it’s just a parents beating themselves up when they need, Well, I think also parents are lost because they come home and they do a beautiful lunch box and it comes home and they’ve hardly touched. Yeah. So my goal and rule is actually not to focus too much on lunch boxes cuz so often you’re not sure what’s even gonna get eaten.

So I make breakfast and dinner, then the priorities and lunch I, I care less about. So it, I think it’s so age dependent. My five year. Easy. I can put anything in her lunchbox and she’ll eat it because she’s only five and that’s sort of having a cool lunchbox thing hasn’t happened so much yet. Right. So for her look, I try and get some protein in there.

I might even put in like a lamb color or a chicken lego or some tuna leftover from dinner last night so that she’s getting a little bit of protein rather than just all fruit and veggies and so forth. But choosing your sandwich bread carefully can really help. Yeah, I try and use a whole meal spelt sourdough, and I find that if you give good bread to children from the GetGo, they’re less likely to be fussy about it.

So choose a good sandwich bread. Few fruit and veg and then a source of protein if you can. She’s the easy one. My son is the hard one because he now sees like his social standing as affected by his lunch box, so he doesn’t wanna be the dork with the super healthy lunch box . So he’s really difficult. So we’ve reached this compromise that.

I’ll give him a thermo of hot pasta. And I know that sounds like I’m going above and beyond, but really it’s very easier. I make the pasta ahead of time, so I’ve just got the cold pasta in the fridge, ready to serve up. I add some sa microwave, but, but what I do do is I add a good slug of really quality extra virgin olive oil, so he’s getting those good fats and the polyphenols and so forth, so at least he’s eating something good.

But. You asked about the process packaged food. I love the schools that have the nude food policy. I think we’re all doing other parents a huge favor if we can just strip the packets away. So even if I do let my kids have dark chocolate dipped rice crackers from time to time, I always take it out of the packet because I feel that’s where the power comes from.

I do it. So they don’t litter the school playground, but also as a kind of gesture to other parents to say, Let’s not bring that pest of power into our playgrounds. If all lunch boxes were stripped of packets, it’s so much better as a school rule. What do you mean by pest? The power. Oh, well, you know, my son or daughter would come home saying such and such has tiny tidies, or then they start dropping bread.

See? Yes. So they start pestering you according to the brands I love seen at school. And then, and then that comes into your home and suddenly you find yourself buying this brand that you’ve never even heard of and you certainly would never have bought before because they’ve seen it in the playground and the packet.

So interesting. And when the food comes out, it’s a little bit less interesting. And the other thing I would say to parents is don’t be fooled into thinking these healthier snacks are actually healthier. So yes, some of them are better than, you know, conventional versions, but usually those snacks that are marketed as healthier, they’ve usually got refined oils, lots of fillers, rice flour.

Lots of wheat. They’re not really healthy, so don’t buy them thinking that you’re doing your child some kind of favor. You’re much better off just giving them a carrot or something altogether different and not packaged despite all the marketing that goes into them. Yeah, it’s funny with the lunches with my kids, cuz there’s the four of them, it’s a full, the whole bench is taken up in the morning and sometimes I’m just.

I’m so tired, I think, where am I even gonna begin? So what I always begin with is I begin with the two fruit and the five veggies and I go, Okay, let me just pull out two pieces of fruit and let me just open the fridge and see if I can work my way around five veggies. And it’s never the right portion size, but if I can get at least a little bit of a rainbow in there.

And that’s why I love the crunch and sip as well. Yes, because at least you know. That they’re gonna be getting that in the morning. And also I feel like if your kids come home and they haven’t eaten their lunch for whatever reason, well they’re gonna have a massive afternoon tea, right? Mm-hmm. . So that’s another opportunity.

And I heard you say something really interesting and I wanna unpack this cuz it’s such a great idea. You said that you will often cook the veggies like the dinnertime veggies, and that’s their afternoon snack. Like you literally take dinner and bring it forward. Afternoon. Snacks are a pitfall. They are a massive common mistake that so many parents fall into.

Child walks in the door starving. That’s when you give them the big glass of juice or the big glass of milk or the. Muffin or the ice? Ice ice cream. Yeah. It’s actually walking from the school to wherever your car is parked or or wherever they’re catching the bus home at. Where my kids go to school, there is a chicken shop with the hot chips and all the kids rush to get the hot chips.

There is two ice cream shops to stop at. So those habits are really important to set and you actually might like to involve them in that. So, You might have one day per week and let them choose which day that you do go to the chicken shop, but never break it because the consistency, they know Then  the weakest link.

Yes. No. So afternoon tea I think is one of the most important meals of the day and what I do, my children walk in the door, they’re ravenous like every kid. And that’s when I let them have some screen time. But they know that screen time is screen time. Screen time, time. We love that. Say they. Yeah, they cringe.

But anyway. Because the lunch box can be a write off. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but when they walk in the door, I’ll have say, five different veggies there. It might just be some cherry tomatoes, some chopped up cucumber, carrot, microwaved peas. Yes. And some steamed beans. Frozen veggies, they actually eat them frozen, white, nutritious because they’re snap frozen.

And so they, and they’re so easy to prepare, and then what happens is they eat that happily because they get screen time at the end of it, or sometimes during it. And then dinner time is a breeze because I really don’t care what they eat. There’s no mealtime battles. They happily eat vegetables at that time because they’re really hungry.

And then when we do sit down for family dinner, and it might not be for a couple of hours after that, it can be really relaxed. They might just have some pasta. They might just have some steak. They might have more veggies at that time. But I. There’s no coercion. There’s no pleading. It’s just a relaxed family meal, and that means so much at that hour of the day.

So how do you plan your dinner times being as busy as you are? But so thoughtful about nutrition, cuz I know you really do put a lot of thought into your whole family’s nutrition, which I respect so much, but it’s exhausting. Like, tell me that you just, some nights go and order my order on Uber Eats, please.

Well, I don’t order Uber Eats cause I live on a farm and so there’s no Uber eat options, but I’m sure there were. I’d be on the phone. Look. Uh, one thing that blows my mind is to think that every cell in your child’s body is made. Of the food they eat. I know like that is incredible. Your child is literally built from food.

And when you stop and think about the power of food and how it changes their mood and how it changes their, how they’re gonna perform at school, how it changes their growth, I just don’t like to kind of waste any opportunity. But of course we have, you know, nights that we have fish and ships at the beach.

Pizza or whatever. Of course we have those nights and it’s important too because otherwise your kids feel like they’re from a freak family that are different from everyone else. And when we have those nights, I, I really enjoy them because, you know, yeah, you’ve earned them or you feel like it’s cause they’re not every night.

So what do you do ever? Like, do you do a meal plan? No, I couldn’t. I know Mostly I am a meal planner. Yeah. I just don’t like to live like that because I like the sort of freedom of opening the fridge and, you know, freestyle cooking and I, I rarely use recipes, which I probably shouldn’t admit to, but, um, so, you know, look, I do try and make dinner.

Good. But I also do recognize how hard it is. There are nights where I think, Oh my God, at six o’clock and I’ve gotta cook dinner. And what are we having, And I think if I’m thinking this, what are most moms and dads thinking who don’t have, Who don’t have that the skills that you have? The starting point is, I get how hard it is.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says that the average Aussie mom spends over an hour a day, including moms who work full time over an hour a day. Preparing family meals, and that doesn’t even include the grocery shopping. Yeah. So it’s incredibly time consuming. So my first tip is to be really prepared by doing batch cooking.

Yeah, if you can do that. Gosh. If your Sunday self can do some batch cooking, gosh, you’re doing your Tuesday and Wednesday self a massive favor. I like to make something like also buko for example, because for my husband and me, it’s a really lovely dish that we enjoy. But for my kids, what my son likes about that dish is he, we strip all the meat off the bones and I actually put a, put it in a bowl and put a puff pastry topping on it, and he gets like the world’s best meat pie.

So it’s trying to do adaptions like that where everyone. Their favorite dinner and there’s no your pulled pork example. For instance, if you had, I don’t know, maybe rolled that in puff pastry or something, made it fun. They might have all loved it so often it is just. How it looks that can turn a kid off.

So even something like a ragu or a Boase, you know, I might have that dressed up in a certain way, but my kids might have it on a jack of potato or as a taco feeling so forth. I like to make a beautiful chicken bone broth, and my husband and I will have it with coriander and ginger and chili and sober noodles and so forth.

But my kids might have it with pasta shapes and corn beans. So a meal like that that has one base that you can adapt. The family as everyone likes is really, really helpful. Well, you’ve got an awesome book, Something for Everyone, which I lived on when my kids were, uh, little, which is literally that it’s one meal done for the baby all the way through to the teenager, which I just, it was so fantastic.

Well, you’re much less likely to have a fussy eater if you do that, particularly from the beginning. And then I think the second thing is to just be so careful how you do your grocery shopping, so there’s no point. Buying a bunch of beru if you know that you’re never gonna cook it. So be realistic in your shopping and have ingredients on hand that you know can use.

Eggs are brilliant because you can turn them into so many different things in a flash, five minute omelet. Dinner’s done something like tined tuna or salmon that you know is an instant meal as well. Avocado sometimes. Cut and avocado in half and put olive oil and lemon juice in it, and that’s half a meal for a child.

So be realistic with your grocery shopping and make sure you have things on hand that you can turn into a five or 10 minute meal. Yeah, I often think that the French a superb when it comes to just a simple, delicious meal, a little tomato salad, a omelet, perfect nutritionally balanced meal that takes moments to make so much better than Uber Eats.

So I’d say you’re better to get it. Half right then. Perfect. At least you’re getting it done. At least you’re not resorting to take away something like that is so much better for you. The problem is though, a lot of the mums listening and myself included, even though I’m a nutritionist, I don’t, I don’t identify with being an amazing cook, would hear those words like an also Booo or a beautiful regu, and we would just break out in a cold sweat and go, I wouldn’t know the first.

Way to start with that. I, I, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. H how do you help unconfident moms to build up their cooking repertoire? Yeah, look, that’s a great question and I think the starting point is to have some signature dishes that you do well in Ace Yeah. And that you become almost obsessive about and that you really take pride in and ownership of.

So, uh, you know, we have no excuses when it comes to recipes. There are millions of free recipes on. Web. So starting point, just choose some signature dishes. Make them yours. When I say regu, that’s just bolognas, right? So most people know this sounds better when you say regu. , maybe that’s where I’m going wrong.

You need new titles. I need to just turn all my recipes into like a French sounding or Italian sounding. Put jean mushrooms, . But like once, you know what I love about cooking is once you learn that skill, no one can take it from you. Yeah. So if you’re gonna. Anything, this is about the most worthwhile skill you can adopt.

So true. Because you ha you’ll eat well. My parents would always say, We just want you to leave our home knowing how to cook because if you know how to cook, we know that you will eat well for the rest of your life. It’s like the lifelong gift that keeps on giving. And once you know how to do that, you know that Cause a lot of families like to have just the same five meals as their, and I, I would encourage people to move beyond that eventually, but if you can have that as your starting point, it’s really.

Well that does bring me onto my next question, which is the fu eat. Mm. Because as I told you earlier, all that love and effort I put into my beautiful pork pork, which was so delicious and you just get so deflated. And then did they even taste it? Yeah, no, I, I always, cuz our rule is that you have to try it.

Yeah, that’s good. Because one of them didn’t like it, the rest of them just followed suit. What are some of your top tips for the mums listening, shaking their. Going Mac and cheese and white pasta. That’s about. So look, we could spend hours and hours talking about fuss. Eating alone. I know it’s a big, but I will say this.

There’s avoiding fussy eating in the first place, and then there’s managing once it’s happened. So to avoid it in the first place, you really need to start basically in the womb. There’s, there’s two things to avoid it. The first is familiarity. So kids actually first taste in the second trimester in the womb, their amniotic fluid.

So all your pregnant moms have a really varied diet because that’s when your child’s first experiencing taste. Of course, they experienced also in the breast milk. Yes, we know that breast milk is flavored according to what you eat, so that’s a good time to start exposing your different flavors because they can’t say no.

Right? And then, Taste. Scientists believe that there’s a critical window period for flavor learning between four to seven months. So use that period to give your child lots of different flavors. Coriander, beru, you name it. Don’t hold back at that point, so long as it’s not a choking hazard. So long it’s safe for them, no sugar gonna salt.

But aside from that, Use that period to really expose them to as many flavors as you can, and always tell them the name of the food and show it to them in various forms. So don’t just give them peach puree, give them a whole peach. Let them touch the fuzzy skin. Teach them the word that familiarity a different foods helps to break down the neophobia that we see around two years of age, where they start to have these hurdles when it comes to new foods.

The second factor determining, uh, avoiding fussy eating is association. So, My husband will not eat brussel sprouts for love more money because he was forced to eat them as a child. He has a very negative association with them, so try and make meal times fun. You know, if mealtimes are unfriendly, stressful times, yeah, kids are more likely to never wanna eat that food again.

So try and keep mealtimes fun and positive. You as a parent, choose what gets. Served to your child, but they choose how much they eat. Yep. And try and keep the pressure off when it comes to overcoming fussy eating. Once you do have a fussy eater, again, I could talk for hours on this, but I’ve got five golden rules for you that I find really easy for parents to stick.

Too. So the first is to be a good role model. We do know that mom in particular, the amount of veggies she eats and fruit is very predictive of what her children will eat. So the more you eat, the more likely they are to eat you. I’ve seen that with my kids. I’ve seen them when they, they don’t wanna touch the zucchini and then I make some jokes and I start eating it myself and I see them literally mirroring what I’m doing.

Yeah. So that’s really vital that you, that you are that role model. Golden. Number two is persistence. So many parents give up after three or four attempts. They go, Oh, they just won’t eat that. They never buy it again. They never serve it again. Done. Yeah. But we do know that children need to taste food 12 to 15 times in order to form a liking for it.

So if your child says, I don’t like that you say yet, and you explain it to them, depending on your age of your child, I always. You don’t like it yet, but we’re gonna keep trying and it takes 12 tastes and you might even do upper chart sticker charts have been shown to be very helpful. Yep. In getting children to have those little tastes to develop that liking for something.

So persistence, don’t give up. And can I just say on that as well, one rule that I did with my kids is, It has to stay on the plate so you don’t have to eat it, or I do. I, I try to get them to try it, but you can’t pick it up and throw it on the floor or put it on my plate or move it off your plate. The food has to stay on your plate.

And I find that just the familiarity with it being there over time, they end up just eating it. Yeah. Like I always say, allow your child to surprise you, so I find that you’re dead. Sure they’re not gonna eat this because they didn’t the last four times, but all of a sudden, I just, I remember Charlotte saying to me, I like this now, Mummy.

Oh, I know. Go girl. You give them that chance. Rule number three is, and we spoke about this, is make sure your child is hungry. So, so many parents try a new food when their child’s just had a massive milkshake or a muffin. Of course, they’re not gonna want it, but if they’re hungry, they are more likely to try it.

That appetite is key, and that’s why I do the veggies after school. Yep. Rule number four is don’t reward food with food. It’s a mistake we all make. Oh, I do. Yeah, so bad. I, I tell you why eat your broccoli and you can have some chocolate cake. All you’re doing is making broccoli seem worse and making chocolate cake seem better.

But it, it kinda works. I tell you what though, does work. It definitely works. It works in the short term. Ah. But what it doesn’t do is it doesn’t work in the long term. They’re more likely to form a dislike for broccoli, and they’re more likely to want chocolate cake even more because broccoli becomes the chore.

Chocolate cake becomes the reward. The reward. So you are actually shooting yourself in the foot by doing that. However, you can reward. Having a taste with, like I said, a sticker or have a chart, tick it off. Maybe you get, you know, some small toy at the end of trying a new food 15 times, whatever it is.

Yeah. And. Yeah, making it about trying the food rather than clearing the plate. Because as you know from all your work, we don’t wanna create a nation of Labrador where they’re forced, they’re taught they need to trust their own appetite. Yeah. So it’s about having a couple of bites. If they want to eat the whole piece, that’s brilliant, but it’s not about you’ve got to eat that or you are not leaving the table.

That’s that. That does result in poorer outcomes and that the last golden rule is be strict on your shopping list. Not your child. So if, Oh, I love that. If you buy the chocolate biscuits and you know, Tiny Teddys and Yeah. And they’re in the jar up there and you say you’re not allowed them, all you’re doing is making your child want them more.

So that. Garden of Eden Apple that you’re not meant to bite. You do want to bite it. The forbid fruit does taste better. So we, we do know that having these restricted foods makes children want them more. So just keep them out of your house. You’re doing yourself a favor because you’re cleaning up your own act at the same time.

So my kids, Oh, absolutely. I can’t tell you how many times I. Go rumming around the treat box after the kids are all in bed and clear it out. . I know. So my house is really boring when it comes to treats because I, my kids just eat them and I, I don’t wanna have. Police that. Yeah. So I just keep them outta the house.

And that’s, like I said, it’s really important to have treats and have them, you know, special nights and so forth, but just don’t have them as a sort of daily ritual in your own home. So be strict on your shopping list and that way you don’t have to get into those. Head to head battles over. I don’t want you having that.

It just keeps the harmony, which God knows we . We need . You’ve got a knack for knowing the foods that pack a real nutrient punch. What are some of your favorite high nutrient foods that are in your house for both adults and kids that you kind of in during a week? You’re like, I wanna make sure I get these foods into my kids to really amp up.

Nutrient profile for them. I love avocado. You get those beautiful, healthy fats. It’s really satiating, but it’s also a vegetable, so, Well, you know, Fruit. Fruit, Yeah. What we’re calling vegetable, what we call it a so, you know, it’s, it’s a plant. It’s healthy fats. I love avocado. So many applications. That gets a huge tick.

I’ve already mentioned eggs. Never throw away the yolks. Please don’t make an egg white omelet. An egg is a protein shake and a multivitamin in one. Yes, the The whites are a source of protein, but the yolks are like the most wonderful nutrient dense foods. I even sometimes add a yolk alone to a smoothie, like a chocolate milkshake for the kids.

Yeah, all those healthy omega threes. Yeah, omega threes, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc. That eggs are brilliant. The most common childhood. Nutrient deficiencies. Iron. Iron. So iron is something you really need to be watchful of. Liver is a wonderful food. It’s, it’s so nutrient dense, but it’s a particularly good source of iron.

So that’s something Iactually, you know, you’ve cooked my, yeah, I’ve cooked your chicken friendly liver. That I would then freeze in little tiny individual portions and I would give my kids chicken liver pat on toast. I will confess that I have never liked Pat. But I love your chicken liver, pat. I would only do a little bit and I would never consider giving my kids pate, but it was so high in iron and it was such an important nutrient for kids from everything from mental health to wound healing to energy levels.

It’s across the board that and zinc as well. I’m always quite conscious about Zi as well. So zinc’s really important for immunity. So I also don’t give them chicken breast, give them chicken thigh. It has twice the dark meat has twice the iron and zinc of the white meat. Oh, that’s fascinating. Um, and if you’re cooking chicken or fish, don’t toss the skin.

It’s a great source of collagen. It’s let’s not waste where we don’t need to. So I always say keep that as well. I also love sardines. You and I both recently did this 23 me genetic testing, and my children have a variant that, let’s just say Omega threes are particularly important for them. So I am really focused on omega three s at the moment.

There’s basically not a single. Condition that isn’t improved with omega threes. It’s such an across the board. Wonderful. Uh, fat. So I give my children sardines again. I gave them as babies. The crushed up bones are a great calcium source. I know it sounds like an unusual food, but if you can start them young, they’re actually delicious.

And if you’ve got a child who’s like lots of teenage girls in particular wanna be vegan and vegetarian, I try and encourage them to still include oysters or some kind of shellfish in their diet because they are so nutrient rich. So, you know, if you do wanna give up meat, try and keep some of those nutrient dense seafood.

I. We’ve been taught to eat by the rainbow and we now know how important that is. Variety means you’re getting such a broader cross section of nutrients, but also your microbiome feeds on different colored fruit and vegetables, so having different colors, berries, dark leafy greens. If you’re interested in gut health and who isn’t these days, we know that we should be having probiotics, Yogurt cafe, Wonderful foods.

But also prebiotics. They’re what feed the good bugs in your gut and help your microbiome thrive. So I try and make sure my kids have foods rich in prebiotics, which are the fibers that feed the microbiome such as cashews and apples and be treated, and asparagus. They’re just great for gut health. So, um, that’s another thing to look out for.

Finally, Lou, for a mum listening who is the antithesis of Nigella , what is one parting tip to help make home cooking a little bit easier and a little bit less stressful? Online shopping? Don’t ever go into supermarket. Time was use your freezer batch cooking, but above all else. If cooking can become something that you actually enjoy rather than something that you dread.

You’ll have a such better time with it, even if it’s just one thing. I recently listened to a podcast on how to cook the perfect steak. Even if it’s just one thing that you become passionate about and that you master, you won’t dread it so much and you’re drawing your kids into the kitchen with you and bringing them on that journey with you.

It just takes the drudgery out of it and actually can ignite a passion in them and you that maybe you didn’t know was there. That’s all I’d say. Try and have some fun with it. I’m feeling motivated already. I’m gonna go back to my pooled pork kickstart, the Saturday sizzles again, Lou, hopefully you can come and join me one day.

Don’t judge too much. Should I be careful what I wish for? Yes, exactly. Thank you so much. That was. Fascinating. Thanks Neil.


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