Meet Julie Given

Mum of two, Barrhead

Julie (34) and her husband Richard (33) live in Barrhead with their two children Madison (4) and Peyton (20 months). 

Why is healthy eating important to you and your family? 

As a former fitness instructor and cheerleading coach and now a full-time mum, healthy eating has always been a big part of my life. I am a fussy eater myself so I didn’t want my kids to follow in my footsteps. I want my kids to eat healthily and to cultivate healthy eating habits from the start. I love to cook and bake - it’s my passion. And I want to do the very best I can and provide them with the best nutrition.

How conscious are your kids about healthy eating?

My kids are very conscious of healthy eating and my daughter Madison already knows the difference between healthy and unhealthy food. For example, she understands that fruit is a healthier choice than chocolate. 

Are your children ‘fussy eaters’?

My kids are not fussy eaters however Madison doesn’t seem to like cooked carrots but I persevered and discovered she did like raw carrot. Whenever I come across something the kids aren’t too keen on, I try to find different ways of cooking them such as chopping up veggies into sauces – Bolognese is perfect for this.  

How involved are your children when it comes to mealtimes? 

I try to get Madison involved in cooking as much as possible, because I think that getting kids in the kitchen is the secret to them being ‘good eaters’. It’s important to let kids get their hands dirty. If you let them get messy and experiment with food, they are more likely to enjoy different types of food. I like to get Madison to help out with the grocery shopping, and I’ve been teaching her to identify different ingredients and to put them into the trolley. I also let Madison help prepare meals and encourage her to make special requests about what she wants for dinner.

What special lengths have you gone to in an attempt to get your kids to eat healthier food? 

One of the ways that I encourage Madison to eat healthier snacks is chopping up fresh fruit and using them to create pictures of animals or butterflies. 

How did you get into cooking and how long have you been cooking?

I have always loved cooking and I often share tips and ideas for healthy eating with friends and family. Cooking has always been a passion of mine so I’d love to offer my advice and recipes to other mums and know that I am making a real difference in the community.

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My favourite recipe

Spaghetti Bolognese 

This is by far one of the easiest recipes to make for the kids and it’s great if you’re in a hurry. I make my own sauce and that way I know exactly what I’m putting into it. It’s my favourite recipe to make for the kids and it’s my go-to when I don’t have much time on my hands. 

Make your own Spaghetti Bolognese with our recipe which costs less than £4 to make and can be ready in 35 minutes:

Julie Given's top tips

It’s important to let kids get their hands dirty. If you let them get messy and experiment with food, they are more likely to enjoy different things.