About Magnificent Munchers

Magnificent Munchers, Therapy for Fussy Eaters, is based in Harpenden (AL5). We work with children and parents from all over Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.

Magnificent Munchers provide food therapy for children who eat a limited range of foods. We work with children with a range of diagnosis including those with ARFID (Avoidant Restricted Food Intake Disorder). We offer both individual and group therapy sessions. We have a holistic approach to assessing eating difficulties. We look at all aspects of the child including their motor skills, behaviour/learning, sensory needs, medical history and nutrition. Our therapy team consists of a Children’s Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Therapist, Dietician and two Therapy Assistants.


Thank you for all your help. It has helped us so much as a family to be less anxious during meal times


(attended Food School, 11 week programme)


All the staff at Magnificent Munchers are Mums ourselves so we understand the stresses and joys of family life. We are a friendly, approachable team and aim to make therapy a fun and pleasurable experience for your child. The team are all first aid trained.

Jacqueline Parkinson

Children’s Occupational Therapist
BSc (Hons)

Jacqueline graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 1997 with a BSc Hons in Occupational Therapy and has worked as a Children’s Occupational Therapist in the NHS ever since. Jacqueline created Magnificent Munchers having worked in the field of paediatrics for more than 17 years, treating children with a range of diagnosis, conditions and difficulties. Through running sensory workshops and talking with parents during assessments she realised there was a need for a food therapy service for children who were eating a limited range of foods, often due to sensory difficulties. Jacqueline completed the SOS (Sequential, Oral, Sensory) approach to feeding training, qualifying as an advanced practitioner.

Marian Browne

Speech & Language Therapist

Marian graduated from Sheffield University in 1986 as a member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and has practised in paediatrics since then. Following work at Cambridge Health Authority, she joined the staff of the Bobath Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy in 1990. There Marian became a specialist in the field of Paediatric Dysphagia (eating and drinking difficulties), continuing a role as therapist, clinical tutor and lecturer both at home and abroad in the field. For more than 10 years until 2014, Marian worked as a moderator of Postgraduate Dysphagia training at University College London and was involved in developing competencies for training speech and language therapists in the field.

Marian now works in independent practice with children who have a wide range of speech, language and eating and drinking difficulties.

Simon Beames

Children’s Dietician BSc (Hons) in Dietetics

Simon initially graduated from The University of South Wales with a BSc (HONS) in Sports Science in 1999. He then worked in Finance for 10 years before following a dream and returning to University in 2010 to study Dietetics.

He graduated in 2013 with a BSc (HONS) in Dietetics from the University of Hertfordshire. He has since worked as a registered Dietitian in the NHS across hospital and community settings.

For the last 6 years Simon has specialised in the field of Paediatrics. He continues to work across hospital and community settings and deals with a wide range of dietary issues. His main field of interest is food aversions, fussy eating and other eating difficulties especially in children with a diagnosis of Autism.

Hannah Perch

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Hannah graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2008 with a degree in Food Marketing Management BSc (Hons) and has worked in the food industry and charity sector.

Hannah attended our Mini Munchers programme for 2-4 year olds with her son and describes the impact of the group as “life changing.” She brings great enthusiasm and first hand understanding of having a child with an eating difficulty. Hannah has lots of experience of working with families through her roles as a breastfeeding counsellor, Carer and Brownie Leader.

Jane Nugent 

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Jane has been in the catering industry since leaving school. She was the Head Cook at High Beeches School in Harpenden for 13 years, leading a team of five cooks. Jane won the Runner Up prize for School Chef of the Year and was nominated for the Hertfordshire Catering School Team of the Year award out of 420 schools.

Shavalyea Gilbert

First Aid Trainer

Shavalyea graduated from James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA, USA) with a Bachelors of Business Administration and Masters of Education. She has been living in the UK with her family since 2015.

She was certified in paediatric first aid via St John Ambulance in 2017. She strives to use her passions to help others feel more comfortable when medical emergencies arise. She incorporates an informal, informative and laid back approach while teaching others first aid skills. At Magnificent Munchers Shavalyea leads a short training session on recognising the difference between gagging and choking as well as teaching techniques to deal with choking.

I wanted to share our success story!
E had found eating in social situations difficult for a long time and became very anxious when eating with anyone other than close family. I’ve struggled to know how to manage this, especially as sharing a meal with friends & family is one of my favourite things to do! Sometimes just managing other people’s reactions to E’s anxiety has been more difficult than managing the issue itself…

Since coming to Mini Munchers & having lots of fun with food with no pressure to eat it, E’s confidence has hugely increased. We have had such a great time together & I feel I’ve learnt lots too. At the end of every session I’ve told him to look around the room & see how many people he’s eaten in front of & said how proud of him I am. He repeated it back to me without prompting at the end of the last few sessions!

I’m so so pleased that E has found the confidence to eat socially. The change in him is just amazing!  Hannah


Mini Munchers