Five Minutes with Amy, founder of Healthy Little Foodies
By: Roma Patel
Amy is the founder of Healthy Little Foodies and a Mum to two boys, Finlay (6) and Rory (3). Originally from Scotland, she currently lives in Sydney, Australia and loves it! She caught the travel bug at a very young age and as a child, she was lucky enough to travel within Europe and to South East Asia. Amy loves soaking up the different cultures, environment and cuisine. Lucky for us she also loved (and still does) visiting supermarkets and food markets abroad and trying all the different local foods which later led her to create Healthy Little Foodies. After obtaining a degree in Food Science and Marketing, Amy worked in the food industry as a Product Development Technologist, developing new products for the leading UK supermarkets. Later, she returned to University to obtain her Post Graduate Diploma in Education and worked as a Primary school teacher until her son, Finlay, was born. When Finlay was around 2, she started food blogging as a hobby. That hobby has now turned into a job and one that she loves! We chatted with Amy about food inspiration, trends and her mission for Healthy Little Foodies:
What exactly does a Product Development Technologist do?
My role as a Product Development Technologist involved me developing new food products and improving the quality of existing products. I worked closely with manufacturing but also the retailers (customers). Time was spent in the test kitchens (developing new ideas), on the factory floor (testing new products), at my desk (communicating with suppliers regarding ingredients, packaging etc.), customer interactions (retailers), checking packaging artwork, specifications etc.) It was a varied and interesting job.
What food trend do you see emerging right now?
I think real and simple food is a trend that is continually growing (and hopefully one to stay.) People are looking at ingredient lists more and don’t want to see hundreds of ingredients going into the products they buy. Gut friendly food is something I am seeing more and more of. My Instagram feed is full of fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles. Plant-based proteins are also growing in popularity. Pulses, quinoa, tofu, tempeh are featured more in the latest recipes that I look at. Concern about the environment is also growing and sustainable shopping is on the rise.
What’s the inspiration behind Healthy Little Foodies?
I started Healthy Little Foodies back when my eldest was 2. It was called “Feeding Finn” at the time and basically a diary of the food I cooked Finlay. In a world where unhealthy, processed food is made so appealing to kids. I wanted to make real, home-cooked food appealing too. At the start, it was merely a hobby and a way for me to easily remember recipes. In Jan 2016, I changed the blog to Healthy Little Foodies, but it still has the same concept of healthy recipes and snack ideas, featuring lots of fruit and veggies!
If you had to choose, what recipe would you want someone to try from your site?
This is hard… I guess it depends what you are looking for. One that I make often is my Coconut Mango Oat Breakfast Bites. (I’m a MASSIVE mango fan!) I make them and freeze them for a quick breakfast, snack or lunchbox filler.
You wrote a report called Marketing of Food to Children. Can you give us a cliff notes version of the report and what parents should be aware of?
I wrote this report back in 2000 and it is now a little dated. At the time, large food and drink companies were bombarding children with junk food advertising and it was a huge concern. Fast forward 18 years and it is still a massive problem.
Research showed that advertising plays an important role in promoting unhealthy eating habits and influencing the brands that children choose. At the time of my report, TV advertising was a huge influence. Now children can be reached in so many more ways through the increasing media platforms that are available.
Children are targeted through sports sponsorship and celebrity endorsements. Also, the use of cartoon characters on packaging, free gifts (happy meals etc.), and competitions all make these products more appealing to children.
As parents, we try hard to educate our children about healthy eating. These companies make is so much harder. They are spending a vast amount of money advertising unhealthy products to influence our children.
What’s an underlooked ingredient that we should all have more of?
I love lentils, I think they are great in dishes for young kids. I used them a lot when my kids were very young and struggled with meat. I use them in lentil bakes, savory pancakes, tacos, curry, bolognese, lasagna.
If you didn’t live in Sydney, where would you live?
This is a tough one. I love Sydney and have only lived here for a couple of years so I still have so much more to see and explore. We have moved so much over the last few years and Sydney just feels right for us. It would definitely have to be somewhere hot and beside the sea. Somewhere like Byron Bay would be nice!
Thank you so much, Amy! Find all her fantastic recipes and inspiration at the Healthy Little Foodies!
PS: If you ever need new weekly meal plans, Amy has a great series called Lunch Boxes! Check it out and let us know what you think.