An exclusive interview with Pilar Manzanaro, the founder of Purple Carrot Nutrition

Pilar Manzanaro is a passionate and dedicated nutritional therapist who has done much to educate and help local families. She does talks, runs cooking classes and workshops to help children and adults develop an interest in nutrition and food and is constantly looking at ways in which she can help families make meal times more interesting and get children enjoying eating nutritious and healthy food. She is an animated and inspirational speaker and is an understanding, warm and welcoming guide.  Below is an interview Mums In The Wood had the pleasure of conducting. 

Question:

What made you decide to launch PurpleCarrot Nutrition? 

Answer:

PurpleCarrot Nutrition is the result of my passion for all things nutrition related and love of good food. For me, there is absolutely no reason why tasty food can’t be really good for you or why healthy food can’t be totally delicious…and PurpleCarrot’s recipes are proof of that!

 

Question:

What do you feel is the ethos behind PurpleCarrot Nutrition ? 

Answer:

The ethos behind PurpleCarrot Nutrition is very simple: balanced nutrition and good food supports our health and wellbeing from the moment we are conceived. We offer personalised advice to support women’s health and children’s growth and development on two fronts: nutritional therapy and cooking and nutrition workshops to teach people of all ages to cook delicious and nutritious meals without spending hours in the kitchen!

 

Question:

What would you like Purple Carrot the brand to be synonymous with? What is your vision for the brand? 

Answer:

I would like people to come to PurpleCarrot Nutrition for its balanced approach to nutrition, well away from faddy diets, and because we promote delicious food that everyone can enjoy and prepare. We’d like everyone to understand the importance of a balanced diet, that includes lots of fresh and healthy food but also treats… because we should all be able to enjoy a glass of wine or a piece of decadent chocolate cake every now and again!

Our vision is to become the leading Nutritional Therapy practice for women’s health, family nutrition and fertility in London. We aim to help women and families improve their health and wellbeing with a uniquely balanced and science-based approach to diet and nutrition while making good cooking fun and accessible to all.

 

Question:

How do you balance launching and running your own business, with being a mum of 3? 

Answer:

Well, that has been a tricky one from day one! I’m still working on achieving my perfect work/family/life balance but there are two things that really have helped me get on the right track. Firstly, sticking to PurpleCarrot’s mission and learning to say no (although sometimes it was difficult to!) , to projects that didn’t 100% agree with its vision. Second, the most powerful tool we all have is planning. I am a compulsive planner and list-maker – on the phone, diary and one of my many notebooks – which helps me allocate my time efficiently and ensure I am home everyday to cook and enjoy dinner with the family!

 

Question:

You clearly have a passion for introducing new ways of healthy eating to adults and children. What first sparked your interest in nutrition? 

Answer:

Growing up with four siblings, dinner was the one time we all sat down together and talked over my mum’s wonderful food. Once I left home and moved to the UK, I started cooking for friends and flat-mates who no doubt endured my first attempts to get “creative” in the kitchen. In my mid-thirties while having a stressful job in finance my health started to suffer and I turned to diet and nutrition to help things along. Fertility was an issue and good nutrition together with acupuncture helped us get our family started. Once the babies came along, I became more and more interested in the nutritional properties of food and started researching the impact diet can have on long-term health…and from there the next step was clearly to head back to university to study nutrition!

 

Question:

What do you feel is most important when talking to children about food and nutrition? 

Answer:

I think the most important concept for children is balanced plates and that there are no bad foods, just too much of them. Also, that there are foods that are so good for us that we should eat them often to grow strong.   Getting children involved in choosing, planning and cooking meals is very important too: fresh food will always be more nutritious and tastier than anything out of a packet and if you teach your kids to cook with fresh ingredients that is an invaluable skill to have once they leave home, right?

 

Question:

What part do you feel schools can play when introducing nutrition into the curriculum?

Answer:

A huge part! Our kids eat at last one meal at school every day of their school life which is a fantastic opportunity to teach children about nutrition in a hands-on way.  Of course, nutrition teaching in the classroom is important to set good foundations –food groups, how to balance your plate, eating seasonally, etc but for me the way forward is to get children interested in cooking and discover how balanced meals don’t need to be boring – in fact they can be really tasty! And this is what PurpleCarrot’s school workshops deliver: fun cooking sessions with a good helping of nutrition learning!

 

Question:

What are your top 3 tips for parents with fussy eaters? 

Answer:

The first one is to be patient, give your children time to accept new foods. I know it is hard not to lose your temper when you’ve spent hours making a gorgeous meal and your little one decides that is not what they wanted for tea. Trust me, I’ve been there! But also, be firm and do not offer an alternative meal if they refuse to eat their dinner. Be firm because once you offer them cheese and crackers instead of your chicken curry, they know they can leave their dinner untouched anytime!

The second rule for me is to make meals about family time, time away from work, screens and homework. Sit down to eat with your kids, talk about your day and get them involved in the conversation (it will be easier as they grow up, I promise!), food is on the table to be enjoyed but the main thing is that you are enjoying it together.  As children grow up, it is important to allow them to help themselves from the serving plates  to give them control over their food. Just make sure they understand how to balance their plates first!

Lastly, get your kids involved in cooking. I can’t highlight this enough. The more involved our children are in the meal preparation process the more likely they’ll be to try new foods. It is also a great opportunity to practice reading with easy to follow recipes, teach them about measuring ingredients, where ingredients come from, etc.

 

Question:

Why did you choose to specialise in women’s health and children’s nutrition?

Answer:

Since my own fertility journey, I realised that nutrition can support women’s health in a gentle yet effective way. Not just in and around fertility issues, a good diet and professional nutritional advice can also help address hormonal issues that many of us have learnt to live with but can be improved by simple dietary changes including skin conditions, weight gain, PMS or peri-menoposal symptoms. Women’s health is a fascinating area where research is growing on a daily basis and doctors are increasingly working with alternative medicine practitioners like nutritional therapists or acupuncturists.

Children’s long-term health can be determined to a large extent by the habits they create from an early age: exercise, healthy weight, down-time, balanced meal, low sugar diet, etc. Some children suffer from allergies and intolerances that can make their diets less varied and more difficult to balance. Picky eater’s diets can also be challenging to balance. PurpleCarrot Nutrition can help not just by helping parents balance their family’s meals but also by providing them with tools to teach their children the importance of a healthy diet and how to achieve it in a fun (and tasty!) way. I specialise in helping parents through weaning and beyond including fussy eating, addressing food sensitivities, allergies and intolerances and helping investigate the reasons for failure to thrive or digestive issues.

Website: https://purplecarrotnutrition.co.uk/

Telephone: 07900 55 42 66

Email:  pilar@purplecarrotnutrition.co.uk

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