Veggiecator Educator of the Month: Jenna Stock | Veggiecation© a Culinary-Nutrition Education Program About Vegetables
Tuesday, 05 January 2016 10:48

Veggiecator Educator of the Month: Jenna Stock

In April 2015, we conduct a group Veggiecator Educator Certification training for the Bergen County Department of Health (our home county, by the way!) At that event, we trained an inspired team of health educators, school faculty, dietitians, and health department staff.   We were fortunate to provide many of these group trainings last year, for health departments, non-profit organizations, and universities empowering the participants to “veggiecate” their community. The objective of our training is to give people the tools to effectively teach culinary nutrition education. We encourage each new instructor to “put their own flavor” in it. And one of the participants from Bergen County did just that! Jenna Stock is a dietitian for a New Jersey ShopRite Supermarket Chain. She not only brought the program to her store, but is passionate about continuing to bring Veggiecation education to her growing team!

Jenna was in-store dietitian for the Hoboken, NJ ShopRite when she took our training last year. She was recently promoted to the Manager of Corporate Retail Health & Wellness for Inserra Supermarkets and Registered Dietitian – congratulations, Jenna!

Jenna has been a registered dietitian since 2010. She’s always had a passion for good food and people and while in college, she was trying to figure out a way to blend those two passions together. She figured nutrition was a great way to connect with people through food, specifically healthy food! She worked in a couple of clinical positions before landing the great job at ShopRite three years ago.

As an in-store dietitian, Jenna’s role was heavily focused on the community surrounding her store. Some of the services offered by her and other in-store dietitians are: nutrition counseling, grocery store tours, weight management classes, cooking demonstrations and classes for adults and children. After taking the course, she brought the Veggiecation style of teaching with her to all of her kids cooking programs. She taught Veggiecation style classes in the local library, various after-school community centers, camps and in the store.  Like most of our programs, age levels ranges from pre-k to 7th grade, but she says the common thread between the age groups was that they all had fun!

And that’s what it’s really about – making food fun! Jenna says that the Veggiecation program gives her and her team the ability to reach a larger population at a single time while maintaining a fun and educational experience. She believes that the program has helped her team, who are all registered dietitians but who might be new to teaching, gain the skills of how to talk to children about food and nutrition.

Now that Jenna is in more of a managerial position, she focuses on planning events for her team, coordinating trainings, and assisting with large scale projects. One of the trainings she’s coordinating in 2016 will be with Veggiecation! We will be training all of the Inserra ShopRite Dietitians and we are SO excited to be growing our relationship with Jenna and her amazing team!

What do you think the partnership between Veggiecation and Inserra ShopRite will bring to shoppers and the surrounding Inserra ShopRite communities?

This partnership will continue to enhance our program. As ShopRite in-store Registered Dietitians we provide free nutrition services in our stores and to our respected communities.

Veggiecation has enhanced our creativity when leading kids’ events. The Veggiecation method of teaching classes has provided us with a great frame work to get kids even more involved in the classes. The recipes provided with the Veggiecation training are simple yet flavorful, they offer a fun variety of ingredients and they get kids to think of veggies in terms of colors and what benefits they provide to their bodies.

For example, I had consistently taught Veggication classes for kindergarten students at an after- school program in Hoboken monthly. Each visit was a month apart, and one special night I walked into the center and before even starting this class I had a child run up to me and ask – “What veggie is our star of the day today?!” Is there anything more exciting than that?!

I am excited to continue to provide my dietitian team with this special education and teaching method so they can continue to create veggie lovers in their communities.

What has been the best thing about your Veggiecation training?

I love the simplicity, variety and creativity of the Veggiecation recipes. I love the addition of the coloring pages and the idea of all kids participating in everything with their eyes and at least one step physically. When I started teaching kids classes I feared kids would be bored if they weren’t constantly doing something, but when I would try and “teach” little nutrition tips while they were busy cooking, I found I was very unsuccessful. With the Veggiecation method of teaching, I found kids were more attentive since they always wanted to know what the next steps were!

Children that don’t want to cook can color and still learn. The coloring pages are great conversation starters when they bring them home to their parents as well.

Another benefit of this style of class is that you are able to teach the lesson to a much larger group of children, therefore spreading the veggie knowledge and love on an even larger scale!

What are some of your own tips and tricks you’ve picked up while teaching the Veggiecation program?

Whenever there was a salad dressing creation involved I found it was a great opportunity to showcase some extra visual learning. I always used to make the biggest deal of this portion of the class! The kids loved when we would mix the oil and vinegar and mustard together and it would emulsify to create a vinaigrette dressing (like in the Crazy Crunchy Cool Cucumber Salad recipe). That demonstration in a clear cup always got me the biggest “oohhs” and “ahhs” and I found I had more children eager to sample after that presentation than anything else!

What are your favorite recipes to use?

  • Bright Broccoli Slaw
  • Minty Pea-sto
  • Crazy Crunchy Cool Cucumber Salad

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