Verena, you are the Co-Founder of ChewyMoon - a startup with the mission of making snacks for kids healthy. Tell us about your journey.
Nearly a decade ago, I was a nutritionist and trainer for athletes when, I realized something profoundly simple: changing behaviours is hard. Especially ones that have been learned from childhood. These behaviours are fuelled by public systems beyond any individual’s control. So, I completed more studies with an MSc in Human Nutrition and Public Health to understand the entire system influencing what we feed our kids -- from government to supermarkets to schools and advertising. Almost 3 years ago, me, Lijo Jose and Nick Christensen founded the startup ChewyMoon, with our mission of making healthy kids snacks fun!
You are passionate about raising kids with a mindful approach to eating. Why is this important for our future society?
Diet culture and the societal pressure to look skinny have impacted our relationship with food for many years. We have lost the ability to listen to our own hunger and fulness cues, and many grown-ups struggle to be positive, comfortable, and flexible with eating as well as matter-of-fact and reliable about getting enough to eat of enjoyable food. We are our kids’ role models, so we need to promote and encourage a healthy relationship with food and turn family meals into joyful, healthful, struggle-free events, free from drama and conflict.
ChewyMoon develops and markets healthy snacks for kids. Many people question, if we need more products or even start-ups targeting kids. What is your opinion on this?
We offer a range of different snacks, from fried fruit snacks, to biscuit and savoury snacks. We have been criticized in the past, for not offering fresh fruits and vegetables. I wish we could offer fresh fruits alongside our range, but that of course, is a whole different supply chain. We do however promote fresh fruits and vegetables as the number 1 healthy kids snack throughout our social media channels and campaigns. Kids snack between 1-2 times per day and sometimes their hunger striked when they are out and fruits or vegetables are not available. Parents are increasingly looking for a convenient snack option, they can pop in their handbag, so they are equipped to cope with any unexpected hunger pangs their little ones have.
Do you have a role model and how does this role model inspire you?
I am currently raving about Ellyn Satter, registered dietitian and family therapist. She connects childhood nutrition, health and mental health, offering a different perspective to childhood obesity. Instead of focusing on body weight and BMI, she looks at how to preserve or restore the natural abilities to control food intake and grow into a body that is right for us. With her psychodynamic approach she promotes body diversity. I absolutely enjoyed reading her books “Your Child's Weight: Helping Without Harming” and “Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook”, in which she gives science based, useful, plausible advice on raising healthy kids, who enjoy food and eating.
Which are future nutrition areas in which experts need to play a leading role?
Genetics, microbiota and non-diet nutrition.
What is nutrition - in one sentence?
Nutrition is nurturing our body and mind.
What do you like about Nutrition Hub?
Following the principle “together we are stronger”, NUTRITION HUB is a voice that shuts down #nutribollocks and pseudoscience, by connecting and endorsing inspiring nutrition professionals and scientists.
Connect with Verena here on Linkedin and have a look at her company ChewyMoon here: https://chewymoon.com/