Meet Lorna Cooper

Mum of four, Paisley

Lorna (39) lives in Paisley with her partner John and her 10 year old son Kyle. Lorna has two older children, Ayla who’s 22 and Jamie who’s 20. She also has a step-daughter called Grace who’s 15 and stays with them occasionally.

Why do you want to become a Healthy Helper? 

I am keen to bust the myth that cooking healthier food from scratch is too expensive. 

Are your children ‘fussy eaters’ and how do you overcome this? 

Although healthy eating is really important to me, it’s a battle to get the kids to eat healthier food. When my son tries to avoid veggies, I’ve come up with a few ways of making sure he still gets some by blending them into my ‘go-to’ pasta sauce. By mixing together tomatoes, garlic, peppers, grated carrot, mushrooms, celery and stock, I cook up big batches up of this sauce and divides into jars to use in a range of recipes throughout the week. In my experience, it is much easier to try and get inventive with food rather than have fights at the dinner table every day. Trying to force the kids to eat something they don’t want to eat never ends well and instead I try to get them on board with substitutes or blended soups.

How conscious are your kids about healthy eating? 

I get my son Kyle interested in healthy eating by letting him see me prepare things from scratch. One of his favourites is chicken nuggets made with egg and a puffed rice cereal coating. This is a great option as they can be part cooked and frozen for use at a later date.

Do you like to meal plan and how do you go about this? 

I find the best way to manage my family’s meals is to create a weekly planner and lay out what I intend to make. If my family have any objections, this can then be discussed before I do the shopping to avoid issues and wastage later on. My weekly menu typically includes roast dinners, chilli, soups and lasagne.

What are some of your top tips for healthy eating? 

One of my top tips for getting my kids to eat healthily is to make homemade croquettes using pureed vegetable and mashed potatoes, coated with egg and then breadcrumbs. I sometimes use fun cookie cutter shapes and then roast them in the oven.

How do you make food fun for your kids? 

Once I got my Pokémon-mad son to enjoy turnip by mashing it up and calling it Pikachu surprise. 

What’s your most successful food swap? 

Freezing pureed banana to make an ice cream substitute. I also find frozen grapes make for good sweeties for kids as do apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon. 

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My favourite recipe

Crispy coated home-made chicken nuggets using smashed rice crispies always go down well with the kids.  For adults it’s ‘fakeaways’ – Lorna loves to re-create curries and Chinese recipes at home.

If you fancy making your own Chinese #fakeaway, try our Chicken Chow Mein recipe which costs £7 to feed a family of 4 and can be ready in 25 mins or less:

Lorna Cooper's top tips

Get the goodness of veggies into your fussy kids by pureeing them into sauces or mashing them up into roasted croquettes. If they won’t eat a veg at mealtimes try and compromise by offering a piece of fruit for dessert.