A MASTERCHEF winner whose successful restaurant business has made her a busy working mum has been sharing her secrets for eating well in a new book.

Thomasina Miers' latest publication is full of straightforward recipes with a Mexican influence from the founder of the Wahaca eateries.

At its core though, Home Cook is a reflection of "how we eat at home", says Miers, 41, and how having three small children and a restaurant empire affects that.

She added: "The food I cook now is very different to the food I cooked 20 years ago, when I had all the time in the world, "I'm a working mother, who comes home late sometimes and just has to get food out on the table, but equally, I want to feed my family good food."

The collection of recipes, she says, is also a "guilt-free joyous approach to food", in reaction to "all this neurosis about eating and what not to eat" that currently abounds.

"Healthy eating has become such a loaded, almost toxic subject," says Miers. "I grew up as a teenager full of hang-ups about food and always dieting, and it's such a bad way to live your life. Over the years, I've developed - I never say no to anything.

"The moment I say to myself, 'I won't do that', that's the first thing I want to do."

You have to work out what works for you, rather than letting trends and aspirational Instagram posts dictate your diet, she explains.

"Everybody's bodies are different; we all react to different ingredients in different ways, so it's nonsense to say one diet can be suitable for thousands of people, it doesn't work that way. It's about adapting your own likes and dislikes and eating the way that's right for you, and having fun with it.

"Basically, if you're cooking a bit from scratch at home, which you can do affordably and easily, then you're going to be eating healthily, and if you eat a few doughnuts along the way, it doesn't really matter."

Miers won MasterChef in 2005 and still appears on the series as a guest judge, which she says is "much more relaxing - although it brings all the memories back. It's amazing how food's moved on, so occasionally I just want to be doing it again, knowing what I know now."

Her advice for the latest crop of amateur chefs entering the MasterChef kitchen is: "Cook from your heart. The second you try and get too clever with cooking, you're found out pretty quickly. Food is a very sincere occupation, and a lack of sincerity shines out. You've got to cook from your heart and soul - which is what makes MasterChef so compelling, actually, seeing people putting themselves on the line."

Had she not wowed MasterChef hosts John Torode and Gregg Wallace, Miers is convinced she'd still be "in a similar place" to where she is now.

"I don't think MasterChef waves a magic wand over your career," she muses. "It definitely gave me the confidence to get into a kitchen and start cooking, but, like any reality show, it doesn't make your life, you have to make your life yourself."