Published on Clean Plates
It’s no secret that moms are superheroes, capable of running a global company or inspiring nonprofit while also feeding their kids healthy meals, helping with homework and cheering the loudest at the soccer game. The 50 moms we’ve chosen to spotlight here are raising families and also focusing their exceptional energy, talents, and skills on making the world a healthier and better place for us all. Whether they’re working to end childhood obesity or championing local and sustainable farming, they’re making the world a better place, and serve as inspiration to us all. Learn more about each remarkable mom, then let us know via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram whom you’d like to nominate for our next annual Moms On A Mission list by tagging Clean Plates and #MomsOnAMission.
Kids: 2 daughters; Bio: Cofounder of the Obama Foundation, former First Lady
Why We Love Her: The former FLOTUS took advantage of her time in the White House to champion children’s health, diet, education, and other social work. With the help of elementary school kids, she planted a 1,100-square-foot vegetable garden on the White House’s South Lawn in 2009, then developed the Let’s Move campaign to address childhood obesity the following year. Her work led to healthier school meals and snacks for 50 million kids; galvanized changes on the Nutrition Facts label on 800,000 products; and got the national conversation about healthy eating kickstarted. (She also created the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ State Dinner, with Clean Plates‘ Editorial Director, Tanya Steel and a few others.) Next up: She and the former POTUS will “build programs to inspire us all to be better citizens and to help young leaders develop their ideas” through their Obama Foundation. Favorite Healthy Snack: Apples; the Obamas kept the fruit at easy reach throughout the White House.
Kids: 2 daughters; Bio: Co-founder of The Honest Company, actress
Why We Love Her: Alba co-founded The Honest Company in 2011, a service that ships diapers, formula, sunscreen, vitamins and other kids’ essentials directly to families as well as selling in retail stores. All of the products are made without potentially health-compromising chemicals or compounds. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Be present,” Alba says. “When you’re at the office, focus on work, and when you’re at home, focus on spending quality time with your family.”
Kids: A daughter; Bio: Chef, author, food activist, founder/owner of Chez Panisse
Why We Love Her: Known for championing local, sustainable agriculture, Waters opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, in 1971, decades before kale became the rock star it is today. In 1995, she founded the Edible Schoolyard Project, which teaches kids from kindergarten through high school about growing food, cooking and making healthy choices. She’s also been the vice president of Slow Food International since 2002, and has earned many awards, including the National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Obama in 2014, and Harvard Medical School’s Global Environmental Citizen Award in 2008. Favorite Comfort Food: Grilled cheese
Kids: A daughter and 2 sons; Bio: TV personality, ambassador for OneKid OneWorld
Why We Love Her: As an ambassador for OneKid OneWorld, the former Laguna Beach star has raised funds to support the organization’s efforts to bring education to impoverished nations, and traveled to Kenya and El Salvador to dig ditches, paint classrooms, and teach in the organization’s schools. She has also supported campaigns for AIDS and HIV awareness, PETA, and marriage equality. A proponent of healthy eating and wellness, Cavallari’s first cookbook, True Roots, is due in 2018. Favorite Healthy Snack: Homemade beef jerky
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: Fitness expert Why We Love Her: The world knows her as a tough-love fitness coach on The Biggest Loser, but Michaels is also a champion of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, working with schools, companies, doctors and community organizations to reduce childhood obesity. Also, through her company Empowered Media, LLC, she has invested in healthy brands such as Thrive Market, Greensbury Market, and Lucky Jack Coffee. Favorite Healthy Snack: Jerky
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: Supermodel, founder of Luz Foundation
Why We Love Her: Although she’s more known for being a supermodel and wife of Tom Brady, Bundchen is also an active philanthropist. In 2007, she started the Luz Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to eliminate childhood poverty and ensure children’s access to healthy food and education. Favorite Healthy Snack: Homemade herbed almonds
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: Co-founder of Foodstirs, actress, author
Why We Love Her: Actress-turned-entrepreneur Gellar was disappointed by the selection of baking mixes in stores. She wanted something with real ingredients that she felt safe making and eating with her kids. So in 2015, she co-founded Foodstirs, which makes organic, non-GMO kits and mixes for cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and other desserts. And although the baked goods all turn out Instagram-worthy, each is easy enough for kids to make, so the family can have fun together. Favorite Healthy Snack: Activated Turmeric Bites
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: Professional boxer and wellness entrepreneur
Why We Love Her: After boxing professionally for eight years, Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali, appeared on several reality TV shows, including Chopped: All Stars in 2013. Now a health and wellness expert, she has a podcast, Laila Ali Lifestyle, that offers holistic lifestyle advice. She also has a cookbook coming out later this year featuring comfort food recipes made healthier. Work/Life Balance Tip: “After the workday is done, I do my best to leave work-related stuff such as emails and projects alone until the next work day,” Ali says. “It’s not always easy, but the goal is to shut off the ‘business switch’ so that I can be present and fully engaged in my children and my husband.”
Kids: A daughter; Bio: Founder of MillionTreesNYC
Why We Love Her: Ten years ago, Bette Midler, who’s also the founder of New York Restoration Project, helped launch MillionTreesNYC, an initiative with the goal of planting 1 million trees throughout New York City’s five boroughs by 2017. The organization reached its goal two years early and planted the millionth tree in Joyce Kilmer Park near Yankee Stadium in October 2015. The trees increased the city’s urban forest by 20 percent, bringing along the benefits of cleaner air and water; higher property values; energy savings; and more attractive neighborhoods. NYRP also restored and maintains 52 community gardens throughout the city.
Kids: A daughter; Bio: Model, cookbook author
Why We Love Her: Last year, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model Teigen released her first cookbook, Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat. Just like her foodie social media posts, the book is filled with recipes for real food, including cornbread, pasta, and wings, highlighting her healthy attitude about enjoying cooking and eating. In addition, Teigen is active with charities including husband John Legend’s Show Me Campaign, which works to give children access to quality education, and the Andy Roddick Foundation, which focuses on bringing after-school and summer enrichment programs to kids in low-income communities. Favorite Healthy Midnight Snack: Tuna sashimi in seaweed with wasabi
Kids: 2 daughters and 2 sons; Bio: Author of The Unhealthy Truth
Why We Love Her: O’Brien didn’t think much about the ingredients in our food until her youngest daughter had a violent allergic reaction to eggs. She began to look into our food supply and the workings of packaged-foods companies, and discovered hidden toxins, which some link to increasing rates of allergies in children. O’Brien documented her findings in her 2009 book The Unhealthy Truth, in which she also offers families tips for weaning off unhealthy food additives. She founded the AllergyKids Foundation, which aims to make safe food affordable to all families. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Exercise: It’s something that I do every day, like brushing my teeth,” O Brien says. “It’s as much for clearing my head as anything else. If I have that balance and clarity mentally, I can tackle anything personally or professionally.”
Kids:A daughter and son; Bio: Founder and CEO of Every Mother Counts
Why We Love Her: Supermodel Turlington founded Every Mother Counts in 2010 to raise awareness of maternal health challenges and childbirth complications. The nonprofit also invests in programs worldwide such as Tazania’s FAME, HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh, and Syria’s Circle of Health International to ensure all women have access to quality maternal healthcare. In 2015, Every Mother Counts raised more than $4 million and invested $1.4 million in 12 programs in eight countries.
Why We Love Her: O’Loughlin was CEO at Clif Bar for more than nine years and founded Plum Organics in 2007 before joining REBBL in 2015. The company’s coconut milk-based drinks are made with organic ingredients that are also fair trade when possible. The company works with suppliers who support their communities, helping to provide benefits like medical care, housing, and clean water. REBBL also donates 2.5% of revenue to Not For Sale, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending human trafficking. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Know when to say ‘That’s enough for today,'” O’Loughlin says. “There is always more to do, so it’s tempting to send just one or two more emails, or put just a half an hour more into that presentation. But you need to recharge in order to be effective. So get used to the feeling that there will always be more to do, and shut it down for the day anyway.”
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: Founder and executive director of Build Our Kids’ Success (BOKS)
Why We Love Her: After reading about how exercise helps children perform and behave better in school, in 2009 Tullie created a fitness program and rallied fellow moms in her community to go into elementary and middle schools in the morning to get kids to participate. Since then, the initiative has grown into Build Our Kids’ Success (BOKS), which gives children in 1,200 schools organized physical activity before the day begins. Kids do a running activity, practice a physical skill such as pushups, play a game that promotes teamwork, and then discuss nutrition while cooling down. A report by BOKS shows that children in the program score higher on standardized tests, and that they are more likely to be in the “advanced” and “proficient” categories for math and reading than their classmates.
Kids: A son; Bio: Co-creator of Whole30
Why We Love Her: Participants in the Whole30 plan cut out “psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups” such as dairy, grains and legumes, for a month so your body can heal and recover. Certified sports nutritionist Melissa Hartwig created the diet with her then-husband, Dallas, in 2009. Since then she’s become a New York Times‘ bestselling author and has appeared on Good Morning America, Dr. Oz and other national television shows. She also regularly interacts with the more than 1.5 million monthly visitors to Whole30.com by answering their questions in the free forums and posting tips, recipes, and encouragement on the blog at least once a week. Work/Life Balance Tip: “I only focus on one task at a time,” Hartwig says. “If I’m home with my son, I’m home, not playing with him between emails or social media posts. When I’m in my home office, I work. I don’t jump between work and laundry or meal prep. My time isn’t always equally distributed between work and home, but it helps me to know I’m being as productive as possible when I’m working, and fully present and engaged when I’m home with my family.”
Kids: 2 daughters and a son; Bio: CEO of Chef Ann Foundation
Why We Love Her: Fleishman has been involved with the Chef Ann Foundation since its inception in 2008. She brings 20 years of experience in the natural foods industry, including 12 at Whole Foods, to the foundation, which helps support school districts nationwide so they can provide children with healthy meals made from fresh food. Work/Life Balance Tip: “You have to think about what makes you feel like you have balance,” Fleishman says. “For me being able to pick my kids up from school and talk about their day is really important and makes me feel present in their lives, so I go to bed early and wake up early. I also I multitask my free time. So instead of meeting a friend for coffee, I will see if they want to go on a hike, and that takes care of my and my dogs’ exercise for the day.”
Why We Love Her: Morrison, a veteran executive at companies such as Kraft and PepsiCo, was a founding member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to reduce childhood and adult obesity.The organization offers schools and parents free resources such as worksheets, curriculum, and e-cookbooks with tips on how to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. It also provides grants to schools to support early childhood education, PTA programs to teach families about healthy cooking and staying fit, and to help low-income schools build playgrounds.
Kids: A daughter; Bio: Cofounder of Share Our Strength
Why We Love Her: Back in 1984 the sister-brother team of Debbie and Bill Shore founded Share Our Strength with one mission: Make sure every child in the U.S. gets the nutritious food they need, every day. Since then, government officials, business leaders, and everyday citizens have joined in the organization’s effort to connect families to nutrition programs available to them in and out of school. Share Our Strength also created the Cooking Matters program that teaches low-income families how to shop on a budget and cook delicious, healthy meals. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Do it all,” Shore says. “Family, exercise, work, community, and play—in no particular order—are all key to my happiness, and I try to do them most days.”
Kids: 3 sons; Bio: President and CEO of the US Fund for UNICEF
Why We Love Her: As president and CEO of the US Fund for UNICEF, Stern travels the world and works to provide kids with a variety of essential services, such as getting immunizations and water to disaster relief areas and offering counseling and support to child refugees. Her organization also educates Americans about these issues so they can be inspired to get involved.
Kids: 3 sons; Bio: Celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor
Why We Love Her: Along with teaching yoga to Tina Fey, Savannah Guthrie, Steve Martin, and other celebrities, McGee has also brought the healthful practice to the masses through videos and books like her recently launched Chair Yoga: Sit, Stretch, and Strengthen Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You. The book, which offers yoga moves you can do from your office chair, aims to help reduce stress and correct poor posture that can cause neck and back pain. Work/Life Balance Tip: “When I find myself working too much, I remind myself that I will always remember the moments with my children and family and not the hours in the office or working,” McGee says. “I suggest that at times of work overload and stress, sit down, take a deep breath, and allow your mind to travel to good thoughts about the family you have.”
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: Author and photographer of Against All Grain
Why We Love Her: After being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at 22, Walker overhauled her diet to alleviate the disease’s painful symptoms, removing grains, lactose, and legumes. As she taught herself to cook delicious Paleo recipes, Walker began blogging to help others with her condition. Her website now draws more than 2 million views per month, and she’s gone on to publish three cookbooks. Favorite Healthy Snack: A piece of freshly roasted turkey rolled up with avocado, sauerkraut, and mustard
Kids: 2 sons; Bio: Author of The Big Fat Surprise
Why We Love Her: Investigative journalist Teicholz turned everything we thought we knew about fat on its head in her 2014 book The Big Fat Surprise, named the No. 1 science book of the year by The Economist. In The New York Times‘ bestselling book, she argues that saturated fat is part of a healthy diet and that the low-fat recommendations by the government are actually harmful, all backed up with extensive research. Favorite Healthy Snack: Cheese
Kids: A daughter and 2 sons; Bio: President of the Walmart Foundation and Chief Sustainability Officer for Walmart Stores
Why We Love Her: Under McLaughlin’s direction, the Walmart Foundation gave more than $1.4 billion in cash and donations worldwide in 2014 within its three main areas of focus: Creating economic opportunity for individuals; enhancing the sustainability of food, apparel, and general merchandise supply chains; and strengthening the resilience of local communities. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Instead of thinking of work-life balance, think in terms of which activities restore your energy, and which deplete it, whether at home or work,” McLaughlin says. “Try to tilt the mix toward what gives you energy.”
Kids: 2 sons; Bio: CEO of New Seasons Market
Why We Love Her: You can feel good about shopping for everything from local, organic produce to Frosted Flakes in the 20 New Seasons Market stores in the northwestern U.S. The company donates 10 percent of profits to local charities that help fight hunger and support schools and the environment. Collie, who joined the team in December 2012, is also on the board of the nonprofit Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Carve out time for yourself to make sure you’re exercising on a regular basis, get up and take walks when you need to—including at work—and take time to be mindful, doing something such as journaling,” Collie says. “Since the kids were little, I’ve always made it home to have dinner with the family.”
Kids: 2 daughters; Bio: President and CEO of Lifeway
Why We Love Her: When Smolyansky started as CEO of Lifeway Foods in 2002 at 27, she became the youngest-ever female CEO of a publicly held firm. In her time leading the company, she has expanded distribution and grown annual revenues from $12 million to more than $130 million. Lifeway uses only all-natural, hormone- and GMO-free ingredients in its products, supports sustainable farming and makes its products as environmentally friendly as possible. The company also donates funds and products to and sponsors events for charities such as Charity Miles, Girl Up, Food Corps, and Every Mother Counts. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Self care is critical for leaders. You have to put your oxygen mask on first if you have a desire to help anyone else,” Smolyansky says. “I schedule my workouts and I try to make sure and do them in the first few hours of the morning. Otherwise, I push them off and lose track of the day.”
Kids: A daughter and 2 sons; Bio: Founding partner and managing director of VMG Partners
Why We Love Her: Though VMG Partners keeps a fairly low profile among consumers, the private equity firm invests in well-known brands such as KIND Snacks, Vega, and Babyganics. Cissell-Roell not only strives to make healthy options affordable for families, she also encourages women to become entrepreneurs and leaders.
Why We Love Her: Snyder helped launch the green smoothie craze with her now world-famous Glowing Green Smoothie. Her Beauty Detox books and blog preach creating beauty from the inside out, both by eating healthy foods and by having a healthy mindset. After visiting Rwanda in 2013 with Gardens of Health, she created the Cedric smoothie after a child she met there. A portion of the smoothie’s sales at her juice bar is donated back to the organization. She also hosts fundraisers, donates herself, and encourages her thousands of followers (Instagram and Facebook) to donate to the organization. Favorite Healthy Snack: A green smoothie
Kids: 2 daughters and a son; Bio: President and co-founder of Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.
Why We Love Her: Epstein used to be a fro-yo addict. But when she became pregnant, she started paying attention to ingredients and wanted to satisfy her cravings without any artificial ingredients or corn syrup. She began blending frozen fruit, water, and some organic cane sugar as treats for herself. Eventually, she turned her creations into products, and now her soft serve and pops are sold in stores nationwide. Chloe’s also donates money to local schools and the popsicles to events. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Two things I am religious about in an effort to stay sane, healthy, and happy are a daily workout (no exceptions), and unplugging—no phone, computer, or other technology while having dinner with the kids and putting them to bed,” Epstein says. “As they get older, chattier, and more sophisticated, they have figured out how to extend that time, so we will see if I can maintain the effort.”
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: CEO of Common Threads
Why We Love Her: Founded in a church basement in 2003 by O’Keefe, chef Art Smith, and artist Jesus Salgueiro, Common Threads is a nonprofit that works to fight obesity in low-income communities. The organization, which provides training and programming to more than 500 schools in nine cities, teaches kids how to cook and serve healthy food, educating them in social skills and teamwork as well as health. Work/Life Balance Tip: “For me, it is about choosing to prioritize whole-heart health before anything else,” O’Keefe says. “It is about marrying my passions and aligning my values to my day, and trying to be present and in the moment with the people that matter most to me. I don’t have it down yet—it is very much a work in progress—but I am trying.”
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: Author and founder of Weelicious
Why We Love Her: After struggling to find fresh, healthy, kid-friendly recipes, McCord decided to develop her own and launch a blog featuring her creations. There she also encourages parents to teach their children about healthy eating, and to make cooking a fun family activity. She’s also authored two books, Weelicious and Weelicious Lunches, which feature easy recipes that even picky eaters will love. Favorite Healthy Snack: Salted peanuts
Kids: 2 sons; Bio: Author and blogger at Nom Nom Paleo
Why We Love Her: Self-proclaimed “food nerd,” Tam decided to try the Paleo diet in 2010 to improve her health and lose some weight. She began blogging about her adventures, posting recipes, tips for eating out, reviews of cooking gadgets, and more. Her site now gets more than 100,000 views daily. Along with her husband Henry Fong, Tam released a cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo in her funny, cheeky style in 2013 that became a New York Times’ bestseller and was nominated for a James Beard Award. The pair has another cookbookdue out in August. Favorite Healthy Snack: A mini-meal of leftover chicken and roasted broccoli
Kids: A son; Bio: Founder of Moon Juice
Why We Love Her: While working as a chef in 2006, Bacon began learning about raw foods and adaptogens. She changed to a diet of mainly vegetables and legumes from her local farmers’ market to see if it would help with the symptoms of her hypothyroidism—and it did. After blood work showed that her thyroid hormone levels were back to normal, she decided to leave her job in fine dining and launch Moon Juice. The company now sells “moon dusts” (powders with adaptogenic ingredients), cleanses, snacks, and more online and in its Los Angeles stores. Amanda is also a passionate supporter of what Kiss the Ground is doing. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Meditation—sitting alone in silence for 30 minutes—puts me into straight bliss,” Bacon says. “Otherwise, don’t think too hard, or it all comes crashing down. Just keep going, don’t give up, don’t stop to sit around and feel bad for yourself, and move on.”
Why We Love Her: After cofounding Cookstr.com in 2008, Katie Workman went on to publish two cookbooks, The Mom 100 Cookbook and Dinner Solved!, both featuring easy, delicious, and healthy family recipes that you can make on busy weeknights. She also has fought child hunger for 20 years by working with No Kid Hungry/Share Our Strength. She also sits on the board of City Harvest, New York’s leading food rescue nonprofit. Work/Life Balance Tip: “I’m not so great at it, but I try hard to make most of my boys’ sports events, because that’s important to them,” Workman says. “Luckily the result of a lot of my work is family-friendly food, so the end sometimes justifies the means.”
Kids: A daughter and 2 sons; Bio: Chef, restaurant owner, cookbook author
Why We Love Her: After working at some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the U.S. (including Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse), Suzanne Goin opened Lucques in Los Angeles in 1998, rated one of the city’s best restaurants by the LA Times and featured in Bon Appetit, Sunset magazine and others. Since then she has opened others (including AOC and Tavern), written two cookbooks, and won multiple awards, including Outstanding Chef of Year 2016 at the James Beard Foundation Awards. She is also a founding member of Lunch Matters, whose mission is to provide kids with healthy and sustainable lunches while also teaching them about gardening and cooking.
Kids: A son; Bio: Director-producer of Food Matters
Why We Love Her: When Bosch’s father-in-law was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, and Western medicine didn’t offer the help they wanted for him, she and her husband searched for alternative ways to improve his health. After he found relief via a natural foods diet, the pair studied at the Global College of Natural Medicine and went on to produce the documentary Food Matters in 2008 to teach others about powerful natural remedies. Four years later, they produced a second documentary, Hungry for Change, about the diet, weight loss, and food industry. Both documentaries have been viewed by millions, and they continue to educate followers on the Food Matters web site.
Kids: Both have 2 daughters; Bios: Cofounders of SoulCycle
Why We Love Them: Since the first SoulCycle studio opened in New York City in 2006, the cardio “party on a bike” has grown to reach 20,000 people per week in 85 locations nationwide. But cofounders Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice (who resigned last spring) aren’t only about tapping it back. The SoulScholarship program they founded allows underserved adolescents to take classes and attend workshops about nutrition, health, and college and job prep. SoulCycle also sponsors charity rides each year that raise more than $2 million annually for local schools, cancer research, and more. Favorite Healthy Snacks: Cutler travels with bags of cherries and raw almonds; Rice likes popcorn
Kids: 2 sons; Bio: CEO and founder of Late July Snacks
Why We Love Her: When she was pregnant and craving saltines, Dawes couldn’t find an organic brand. So she turned to her father, Steve Bernard, who had founded Cape Cod Potato Chips. The two worked together and launched in late July of 2001. The company really took off when they starting making tortilla chips in 2010. The organic snack brand donates 10 percent of profits to causes benefiting children and the planet such as Edible Schoolyard, Just Label It, Only Organic, and the Greater Boston Food Bank. Work/Life Balance Tip: “When you’re an entrepreneur, you never stop working,” Dawes says. “So for me, work-life balance is less about compartmentalizing and all about periodically checking in with myself to ask, ‘Am I feeling balanced? Am I happy?’ Then I take a hard look at my answer.”
Kids: 2 daughters; Bio: CEO of WaterAid America
Why We Love Her: WaterAid’s mission is to ensure that everyone has access to clean water and safe sanitation. In the last 36 years, it has reached 23 million people with safe water; in the last 13 years, it has brought improved sanitation to 21 million people. Prabsi joined the nonprofit in 2014. The international organization offers its local partners skills and support to help their communities. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Schedule in breaks, long weekends, and personal and family time in advance,” Prabasi says. “Deliberately creating the space and prioritizing is the only way I can make sure I have enough time for the things that rejuvenate and refresh me and keep me a balanced human being.”
Kids: 2 daughters; Bio: Executive director and cofounder of National Young Farmers Coalition
Why We Love Her: In 2009, Shute and two other young farmers in New York State’s Hudson Valley were discussing the challenges they face. They realized the need for a national organization for independent, young farmers, and later that year the coalition was formed. It works with farmers, consumers, organizations, and the government to help the next generation of farmers access affordable land, pay down student debt, secure loans, and face other common obstacles. Favorite Healthy Snack: Golden russet apples from a local farmer
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: Founder and CEO of Happy Family Brands
Why We Love Her: Visram came up with the idea for Happy Family when she heard a friend say that she was unsatisfied with commercial baby food options, but that it was hard to make her own. On Mother’s Day 2006, Visram launched her company to give babies, toddlers, kids, and expecting mothers nutritious, organic foods. The company also donates more than 10 percent of its profits to various organizations and nonprofits that help feed children and make our world healthier, such as Project Peanut Butter and The Small Things. Favorite healthy snack: Rice cakes with sunflower seed butter and honey
Kids: 3 daughters; Bio: Cofounder and Chief Impact Officer of Revolution Foods
Why We Love Her: Tobey cofounded Revolution Foods with Kristin Groos Richmond in 2006 to provide kids healthy, affordable meals free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners. Through their Feeding Good Fund, they donate 1 percent of retail sales to schools to help them afford the equipment they need to feed students freshly made meals. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Don’t put off finding balance until later,” Tobey says. “We sometimes find ourselves saying, ‘Once I get through this crazy phase, I’ll get around to XYZ.’ Instead, make sure you are living the life you want to live today.”
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: President and CEO of Capital Area Food Bank
Why We Love Her: Roman is president and CEO of Capital Area Food Bank, which works to solve hunger and its companion problems of chronic undernutrition, heart disease, and obesity. Capital Area Food Bank collects, stores, and distributes 46 million pounds of food to 540,000 children and adults per year. The food bank works with 444 food assistance partners to provide programs such as Cooking Matters, which teaches families at risk of hunger how to cook for themselves on a budget, and Summer Meals, which provides children healthy meals and snacks during the months they’re not in school. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Commit to family dinnertime,” Roman says. “You can always get back to work after the kids do homework and get to bed. But family time at the table is irreplaceable.”
Kids: 2 daughters and a son; Bio: Cofounding director of One Step Closer to an Organic Sustainable Community (OSC2)
Why We Love Her: Dickinson works as a private consultant, helping natural product companies grow profitably and sustainably. She cofounded OSC2 in 2012 as a community for leaders of sustainability-focused companies to work together to address issues facing the industry and environment, such as removing petroleum-based flexible plastic food packaging from landfills and oceans. The organization’s current initiatives focus on developing awareness and a clear path to action so the natural foods industry addresses climate change in their supply chain. OSC2’s goal is to have 1,000 natural products companies make 3,000 climate commitments by 2019. Favorite Healthy Snack: Coconut chips
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: Cofounder of Fink Family Foundation
Why We Love Her: Married couple Betsy and Jesse Fink created the Fisk Family Foundation to help support environmental causes. One of their primary focuses is to reduce food waste. In 2015, they helped launch ReFED, which develops recommendations and tools for businesses, governments, and nonprofits to reduce U.S. food waste by 50 percent by 2030.
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: Cofounder and CEO of Belcampo Inc.
Why We Love Her: Belcampo’s mission is “to craft exceptional, sustainably produced food and make it available on a larger scale than ever before.” Founded by Fernald and Todd Robinson in 2011, the company runs organic farms, butcher shops, and restaurants, plus an agritourism destination in Belize. Every piece of meat from the company is organic, sustainable, and humanely raised. Favorite Healthy Snack: Carne cruda
Kids: A daughter and son; Bio: Founder of Hot Bread Kitchen
Why We Love Her: Given the name, you can guess what Hot Bread Kitchen makes. But founder Rodriguez takes it beyond baking up tasty loaves. Since 2007, the company’s Bakers in Training paid on-the-job program has helped low-income women learn not only baking skills but also everyday skills such as English, math, and science. The company helps place 100 percent of graduates seeking jobs in fair-wage positions that have opportunities for advancement. In 2011, the company launched HBK Incubates, which has helped 169 food businesses grow by providing commercial kitchen space and business planning support. To date, they’ve trained 154 low-income women from 34 countries and created more than 70 permanent jobs in East Harlem, where 40 percent of residents live below the poverty line. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Laugh as much as you can,” Rodriguez says.
Kids: 2 sons; Bio: Policy director of the Good Food Institute
Why We Love Her: Food law expert Nicole Negowetti, JD, knows how complicated food regulation is. Prior to joining the Good Food Institute, a 501(c)(3), she spent five years teaching and researching food law, regulation, and policy at Valparaiso University School of Law. At GFI, she has mapped out the regulatory pathway for clean meat, which is meat grown directly from cells without having the breed, raise, or slaughter any animals. Negowetti also cofounded and serves as vice chair with the Northwest Indiana Food Council, a nonprofit that works to build a sustainable local food system. Its work includes educating school children about food waste and providing counseling for beginning farmers and entrepreneurs. Work/Life Balance Tip: “Even though I am super busy raising two kids and working full time, I schedule time to exercise daily,” Negowetti says. “Staying fit and healthy gives me energy to keep up with the kids and be productive at work. It also helps clear my mind and empowers me to tackle life’s challenges.”
Kids: 2 sons; Bio: Executive director of New Mexico Appleseed
Why We Love Her: Founded by Ramo in 2009, New Mexico Appleseed is part of a national network of legal and policy centers that works on creating policies that try to give people traction to get out of poverty, have enough nutrition to thrive and stay healthy, and have a safe family environment. Recently the nonprofit created a bill to ensure that no matter what debt a child’s parents owe, that child can a nutritious school meal and be spared lunch shaming. And about 116,000 elementary school children from low-income families get breakfast every morning thanks to New Mexico Appleseed’s work. Favorite Healthy Snack: Hummus and carrots
Kids: A daughter; Bio: Director of Nutrition Services and Outreach Programs at Montefiore Health System’s Community Programs; Spokesperson at the American Association of Diabetes Educators, MPH, RDN
Why We Love Her: With more than 10 years of experience as a dietitian in diabetes and obesity prevention and management, Arévalo is devoted to improving the health of underserved families. Through her work with South Bronx Health Center, she facilitates nutrition education programs for people of all ages. These programs include teaching moms how to gain a healthy weight during pregnancy, diabetes prevention, and teaching microwave cooking to families in shelters. Arévalo also volunteers for a mentoring program that helps college students interested in nutrition to learn more about the profession and obtaining “real life experience.” She won the Award of Excellence from the National Hispanic Medical Association in 2014 for her leadership in nutrition services serving Latinos. Favorite Healthy Snack: Yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt