Veggiecator Educator of the Month: Andrea Krest | Veggiecation© a Culinary-Nutrition Education Program About Vegetables
Monday, 08 June 2015 22:55

Veggiecator Educator of the Month: Andrea Krest

There’s a theory, or a myth rather, that healthy food is boring. Not just in flavor, but also in presentation. The media traditionally portrays parents coaxing their child to eat foods that are good for them, bribing them with something more exciting that the broccoli on their plate, like dessert. While we admire the effort, there are so many fun things you can do to make healthy eating fun and exciting! We like to get kids cooking, but our Veggiecator Educator of the Month was a bit more creative with her own children. Read on to learn more about the fun games Andrea Krest played with her children to get them to love their veggies!

Andrea Krest of Westfield, NJ participated in one of our first Veggiecation Educator Training Workshops. Having always been interested in health and food, Andrea has dedicated her free time to learning how to cook and sharing that knowledge to help people live healthier lives. She graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute a couple years ago and in addition to teaching Veggiecation lessons, she offers cooking classes to adults at the Middlesex County College.


As mother of three grown children, Andrea knows how to get kids excited about healthy foods. She and her children used to play a game – a competition, really – at dinner, where the children would claim a favorite vegetable. They would make their case if more than one of the children wanted to claim it. She said it went something like this:

  • If a child wanted to claim cauliflower as their favorite veggie, they would say, “I win cauliflower.”
  • Then they would have to prove why it was their favorite.
  • The other children would either agree or disagree with those case made by their sibling.

Another way that Andrea used to get her children excited about fruits and veggies was “exotic fruit night” during Chanukah. It got to be one of the most anticipated nights, although, the exotic fruits weren’t always a hit. One exotic fruit in particular, durian, was not well received by any of the children until many years later, when Andrea’s oldest son, Matt, moved to China for work.

durian 1

Andrea works full time and does weekend Veggiecation workshops and events. Her favorite program was the Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA in Millburn and Kids Health Fair at Boys and Girls Club of Passaic. These community events are extra special to her because they bring together so many people in pursuit of bettering the lives of children and the adults that they become.

What has been the best thing about your Veggiecation training? and VEN membership?

Seeing the joy that children have from making their own healthy treats.

What's your favorite anecdote about an especially cute or picky child?

Andrea didn’t have an anecdote from teaching but shared a story with us about one of her sons. As many people do, she kept fruit on the table and one day, she left her son (age 2) in the kitchen for a few moments. When she came back, he was sitting on the table and had taken a bite out of every piece of fruit, looking for the ripest piece of fruit in the batch!

What are your favorite recipes to use?

All the smoothies are great recipes. My favorite is the Sweetheart Smoothie. They taste great and kids love them. They also love using the blender!

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