Behind the scenes of Enjoy Food – by Emma Luxton

Hi, I’m Emma. I’m the Editor and Content Producer for Enjoy Food here at Diabetes UK.

Enjoy Food is our source of healthy eating information and advice, designed to help families living with diabetes to shop, cook and eat with confidence and success. Managing diet, and understanding what to eat when you have diabetes, is highlighted as one of the most challenging aspects of living with the condition.

A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and this became something I discovered on a personal level. And, that’s why I’m here today! I wanted to help others with diabetes to understand that living well – and eating well – isn’t as intimidating and confusing as it may initially seem. I’ve always loved food and the occasions surrounding it, and there are definitely worse ways to spend the day than staring at pictures of low-carb chocolate cake… though it does make me pretty hungry.

My job is varied, exciting, (occasionally) messy and interesting – I’m always learning. Here’s a snapshot of the type of projects and responsibilities that fill my days here at Diabetes UK.

Creating new content

Developing new content that’s helpful to our audience is key. Everyday, questions about diet and diabetes are raised via social media, our Helpline, the Diabetes UK forum, in the news and a multitude of other ways – so we look at this to decide what content is needed. This could be a new feature, video, recipe, blog post or anything else that will help get the information across. We also ask people living with diabetes what they would find most useful to identity what might be missing in our content.

Of course, I need expert help on developing much of the information on Enjoy Food to make sure it’s accurate, appropriate and up-to-date. I work alongside dietitians, healthcare professionals, chefs and a whole host of other experts to create the content. For example, I’m currently creating a series of sports nutrition features with a sports dietetic specialist, and information on pregnancy, diet and diabetes with the help of NHS nurses.

I love writing so this is one of my favourite ways to spend the time. After features have been written, edited and fact-checked, I source images, build web pages and publish them online with the help of the digital team.

Photo and video shoots

One of the best parts of my job! Enjoy Food currently has around 450 online recipes, which are one of the most popular and well-used of all the charity’s resources. I’m guided by what’s popular: we recently increased our number of vegan and vegetarian recipes, and baking and dessert are always in demand. (Our most searched recipe is apple and cinnamon cake – go check it out).

While I’m on set I help with food styling and prep – although I’ve been banned from the cooking itself! I also get to try every dish that makes it onto the website, which is a big perk.

Monthly e-newsletter

Enjoy Food has a monthly e-newsletter featuring out latest healthy eating advice, brand-new recipes, cooking tips and articles, which is sent out to subscribers on the first Wednesday of every month. I really enjoy creating these newsletters as Enjoy Food readers are one of the most engaged of visitors to our website and we get a fantastic response. It’s wonderful reading feedback from families who are living with diabetes and hearing how much Enjoy Food has improved their diets, relationships with food, and, in many cases, their overall diabetes management. Moments like that make me realise how important and appreciated our work is, which is humbling.

Social media

I’m also responsible for all food-related posts that you see on Diabetes UK’s various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. It’s extremely useful receiving instant feedback from these posts, and helps me to tailor ongoing features and content. It helps that all of our food images are so vibrant and enticing – eye-catching content definitely encourages people to pause amid all that scrolling.

Healthy eating events

When I’m not penning an article about eating out with diabetes, or buying every variety of milk I can find at the supermarket for research, I sometimes help out at events focused on food and diet. Throughout 2016, Enjoy Food had a regular presence at the Good Food Shows in London, and I volunteered to help promote our resources. It was lovely to chat to people throughout the day: those recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, some who were told they were at risk of developing it, parents of children with Type 1 diabetes, and many others who were simply keen to make changes to their diet in a bid to protect their health. It’s important to maintain a presence and spread awareness to reach people and make a positive impact.

Using Enjoy Food at home

I’ve always been interested in healthy eating and I love to cook, and having diabetes has given this a new spin too. As I spend my days providing tips on healthy eating and promoting our balanced recipes, it would be a missed opportunity not to try them out myself. And so, I do! I’m not the best cook in the world by a long shot, but I’ve been pretty happy with how some of these have turned out. I can highly recommend the Gado-gado, Asian salmon fillet and black-eyed bean burger.

I’ve encouraged a lot of my friends and family – who don’t have diabetes – to use the recipes as well. There’s a saying that a diet which is good for someone with diabetes is a diet which is good for everyone, and this is something I firmly believe. Healthy eating, and keeping yourself in the best possible health, is so important. This really is a good place to start.

Some of my creations…

Channa dahl                                      Thai chicken stir-fry                        Quick chicken korma

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