Randi has developed, led and advanced health promotion programs for extremely diverse populations. She is Certified Health Education Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Intrinsic Coach®. The majority of her work has focused on older adult wellness, but since leaving her full-time job 4 years ago, has crafted a cornucopia career encompassing personal training, active aging, health education, and community health.
She knew wanted to include children in the next phase of her career and assumed physical activity would be involved. But upon learning about Veggiecation, she knew she had found a program that fit perfectly with her goal of reaching kids and helping them to form healthy habits.
It was while working on her final project in Public Health at a Boys & Girls Club in Chicago years ago that Randi had an important “aha” moment regarding children, nutrition and health. She never forgot seeing the kids thoughtlessly snacking on chips, pastries, and sugary drinks and also complaining about being hungry. Now coming full circle, Randi recently partnered with another branch of the Boys & Girls Club to run Veggiecation classes!
Having taught over 30 classes since her training, Randi has taken so much away from working with younger kids. Early on, she learned how malleable kids food tastes and preferences are and that how it’s presented (Enthusiasm! Excitement! How cool! Everyone’s help is needed! Look what you accomplished and learned!) is what creates this positive, memorable experience that opens them up to trying healthy new foods. And she witnesses this firsthand with her own daughter.
6-year-old Rachel is not particularly picky, but does have definite ideas about what she likes and does not like. But Randi has found that by engaging her with simple Veggiecation recipes and continuing to offer foods over and over, Rachel’s list of approved veggies has grown.
We can’t wait to see that list of grow and grow as you reach more of your community, Randi!
What has been the best thing about your Veggiecation training? and VEN membership?
Not only the quality and comprehensiveness of the training itself, but also the ongoing support, its affordability, and the invaluable tips and tricks for teaching the class. Of course the recipe book is unparalleled. The VEN membership provides me with an abundance of resources and materials that are crucial for effectively running the class and administering the business end of it.
What's your favorite anecdote about an especially cute or picky child?
I had one little girl in my class who was just painfully shy, looked to be on the verge of tears all the time. Getting her engaged and involved in the process brought her out of her shell and she began to really enjoy herself. When her mom came in to pick her up one day, she told me how much her daughter was enjoying the class.
I can also recall a few times when a child was adamant that they did not like a particular ingredient. Yet, when they tasted it in the recipe, they loved it! It’s amazing seeing that transformation in a child.
What are your favorite recipes to use?
Super Snap Pea is always a winner – I feel that the familiarity of the corn may help ease them in to being open to the snap peas and the peppers! It’s pretty much a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Plus there are lots of jobs to do so everyone is super-involved.
The Apple Pie Smoothie is wonderful too. Everyone thinks the squishy tofu is cool and weird, but they love how yummy everything smells when we start putting all the ingredients together in the blender. I also like to keep the skins on the apple which gives me a chance to talk about fiber.