'This has to be the best charity in the world'

Cindy Magyar has always made healthy eating a priority for her family. Now she's spreading WCRF’s messages to the next generation

I'm Cindy, a school nurse at The Mount School in York.

An important part of my role is to promote overall health and wellbeing among the pupils. I do a lot of teaching about positive lifestyle choices, which includes healthy eating.

 

Walking the talk with my daughters

I've always been really interested in healthy eating and healthy lifestyle choices, and I’ve always walked my talk – I brought my two daughters up to focus on being, and staying, healthy.

I think it may be because I lost my Mum when I was only 13, which was a tremendous blow for me and my siblings. She was just 35 years old so it was so tragic to lose her so young. She had always been relatively healthy, and we don’t know what caused her sudden death, but when I became a Mum, I so desperately wanted to be with my children for longer than my precious Mum was able to be with us, so being healthy became even more important to me. My mantra is that consistency is the key to success so I try to make consistent healthy choices in what we eat and what we do.

Smiley bananas

One of the ways my husband and I got our two daughters into healthy habits was by sending them to school with healthy packed lunches. We’d do bananas with smiley faces drawn on the skin, cucumber batons, grapes, satsumas, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and healthy sandwiches with lots of greens. We always tried to make it fun, so we’d also put little messages in their lunchboxes – we felt it was important to send them off feeling nourished and loved. Our girls would come home saying their friends were always amazed and a little envious at what was in their pack-ups.

So, when I first came across WCRF and all the information it provides to help people eat healthily, I remember thinking: “This has to be the best charity in the world” because it is giving people the information and the power to keep themselves healthy and cancer-free. Knowledge is power – we can use it to help ourselves. They're not telling people what to do, it’s enabling us to reduce our cancer risk, so we can be around for as long as possible for our families too.

And now I'm so lucky that in my work as a school nurse at a girls’ school, I can continue to spread healthy messages too.

An important part of my role is to promote overall health and wellbeing among the pupils. I do a lot of teaching about positive lifestyle choices, which includes healthy eating and weight management. I also teach my students about mindfulness, meditation, compassion and resilience, and I firmly believe that a healthy mind and a healthy body go hand in hand.

Pinned on the board

I'm constantly researching the latest, evidence-based advice, so I use WCRF resources. I have WCRF’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations pinned on the notice board at school, for everyone to see. I also subscribe, as a health professional, to WCRF publications and e-news. There was a great blog about how walking counts as exercise – it inspired me to comment about the cancer-reducing importance of getting away from our desks and not sitting for too long.

I also regularly try new WCRF #realrecipes – I’ve just tried the one for parsnip soup and my family loved it! 

I love doing talks and demonstrations for the girls about things like the importance of eating a ‘rainbow’ of fruit and vegetables – it’s a really visual way to promote healthy eating, and the girls are always so interested and enthusiastic about how pretty the foods look.

My job is a real joy for me – I’m passionate about what I’m teaching; I get to change hearts and minds, and a new generation are growing up hearing these important messages. 

I think it's massively important to take control of your health and make informed choices. WCRF helped me teach my children about a healthy lifestyle and it gives us the ability to make those choices which are scientifically based. The whole nation would be in a better state of health, with a reduced risk of cancer, if they followed WCRF’s cancer prevention advice.