Brannan Robson is a busy lady – working, studying, and veggiecating! As a new resident to New York City, Brannan hasn’t wasted any time getting involved in her surrounding community – whether it’s working at a local yoga studio or heading from Brooklyn to the Bronx to bring her positive energy and attitude to students across the five boroughs!
Brannan joined the Veggiecation Team at the beginning of the year after stumbling upon the training program on Instagram. Having a background in childhood education and a passion for healthy eating, she was immediately drawn to the training because of its ability to combine two of the most important things to her- healthy eating and teaching children.
Currently, Brannan is getting her Masters in Early Childhood: General & Special Education at Bank Street College. Right now she is student teaching in a classroom with 3-4 year old children with special needs, as well as working as a nanny part-time and at her yoga studio. She also recently enrolled in the 200-hour teacher training there so that she may become a registered yoga teacher. Her goal is to gain as much knowledge about health and wellness in order to better help her students and future clients.
Even with her busy schedule, Brannan managed to teach a three-week program at a high school in the Bronx at the beginning of the summer, which turned out to be a completely new experience! As an early childhood educator, she had to reframe her way of interacting with students. She loved their enthusiasm and interest in what she was teaching. Most importantly, she witnessed immediate results in the kids she was working with – one particularly empowered student even made a decision to stop eating foods that contained ingredients she couldn’t pronounce!
Though her interest in health and food didn’t develop until later in life, Brannan has always been interested in working with kids. That interest was solidified into a definite career path during her undergrad where she learned the ways in which individuals develop in the family system and how childhood experiences affect the life and attitude of an individual. It was then that she decided that she wanted to and could be the positive influence in child’s life.
And then a couple years down the road, Brannan began to take a serious interest in her health and started to research the foods that she had been feeding her body throughout her life. After some time, she began to discover that a lot of the things she was eating were not even technically food, and what they were giving her body was not energy nor was it in good health. She felt as if she had been duped into believing that everything sold in the grocery stores was real food. After a bit of frustration, Brannan adjusted to a cleaner way of eating and began to feel better than ever. Being an educator, she immediately connected what she was learning to what she could teach to her students. She wanted to give her kids the opportunity to make the choices and changes that she wasn’t aware of at their age. As a teacher, she knew that kids can’t concentrate and really learn unless their bodies are full of real food to keep them going throughout the day. While she believes that what is done in the classroom is incredibly important, she recognizes that health and nutrition are of equal or greater value. Brannan believes that setting kids up with the information and a desire to learn more about the foods they are eating is the best way she can influence their future selves and the lives they have ahead of them.
Now that’s something we can absolutely agree with! Thanks Brannan and keep up the awesome work!
What has been the best thing about your Veggiecation training? and VEN membership?
I have thoroughly enjoyed the community that I immediately became a part of after completing my Veggiecation training. It’s kept me going knowing there are others that are out there teaching on this important subject with me. There are blog posts and tons of resources for me to get into, and as a part of the VEN network there’s always a dose of inspiration to be found. I feel super fortunate to have someone like Nina, the Assistant Program Director, who’s incredibly responsive and caring. She was available before I even got started on my training and has been so helpful ever since, she even came out to meet me for my first series. The VEN membership holds tons of worksheets, recipes, contracts and more -all of which are needed when starting your own business. It really feels like they’ve thought of all the key pieces needed to set you up for success in implementing the Veggiecation model.
What's your favorite anecdote about an especially cute or picky child?
Up in the Bronx, there was a group of three girls in a 9th grade class that I was cooking with. They seemed to want nothing to do with what we were talking about or cooking up. They kept to themselves, as sometimes 9th graders do, stating that they didn’t like honey or green peppers or any other goods we had going on up there. When we were done, their classmates were ooh-ing and aah-ing over the recipe, and what do you know - one at a time they asked for a little. By the end of class one of the young girls had asked for thirds. I was totally thrilled! I got to use this as a time to talk about how flavors can combine and create things we’d never imagine we would like, and how giving everything a chance or two is key to finding new foods we enjoy. I was given loads of examples of different times kids thought they wouldn’t like something when they were little, and were too scared to try. They all committed to being open in our time together, cooking up new recipes each week. Needless to say every time I met with this class after that, they were not only open to trying whatever we cooked up, but were so excited to get involved and take the recipes home! One of the girls came back and said she made our salad for her mom on her birthday. I was beside myself with happiness!
What are your favorite recipes to use?
My favorite recipes have been the Green Hummus, ZPB salsa and the Bumble Bee salad. I make the Bumble Bee Salad all the time, for my boyfriend and my friends - it’s so delicious with chips or by itself. I particularly loved the Bumble Bee Salad in the classroom series with the older students, because it has a lot of ingredients, a lot of measuring and mixing. They all really got to be involved in what we were creating and I could feel their sense of contribution when it turned out well.
(Bumblee Bee Salad)