Healthy Eating Teacher - Lucy Thomas
Lucy Thomas runs Mange-Tout (www.mangetoutkids.com). Mange-Tout classes provide children with the opportunity to explore and familiarise themselves with a variety of fruit and vegetables through creative food handling and exciting activities, in a relaxed, sociable and non judgemental environment.
Name Lucy Thomas
Location SW London - Battersea Clapham Dulwich Putney
Job title: Nutrition Teacher
What inspired you to set up Mange Tout? What is your background?
I had been a nanny for 10 years and realised how many parents struggle with the guilt and issues that arise when feeding young children and trying to give them a healthy varied diet. There didn't seem to be anything that offered parents help/support or a way for children to engage with food outside of mealtimes other than cookery classes for older kids. I graduated with a degree in drama and worked as a nanny inbetween jobs, but I also studied a Diploma in food and nutrition as healthy eating has always been top of my adgenda. Disillusioned with the acting industry I began to thing about how I could do something constructive and make a real difference using all the skills I had mastered. With my experience of working with children alongside my performance skills and nutritional knowledge I set up mange-tout.
Talk us though a class - what activities will the children be doing?
Mange-Tout gives parents and children the chance to explore 3 fruit and vegetables each week through creative food handling and exciting activities. Topical games and stories involving co ordination, colour and numbers will help children discover the fun in food and encourages them to recognise, touch, smell and even taste a new fruit or vegetable! During the class we never ask children to eat or try anything! We might get them tickling their tongue with some broccoli or painting their lips red with beetroot or even peeling and crunching our teeth marks into the leaves of brussel sprouts. As one Mum puts it - 'Mange-Tout has been an amazing find for my little boy. He absolutely loves the class. He is now more interested in food than ever before. I would recommend it to any Mum for both its enjoyment factor and the nutritional aspect'
Has it been hard sourcing venues for classes?
Not really , local church halls have always been extremely helpful and supportive, any other venues tend to be a little bit expensive but it is possible to negotiate a rate if you are booking a whole term.
How does running Mange Tout fit in with your family life?
I am single but even so running my own business never leaves me with a minute to twiddle my thumbs. However as a mother working for mange-tout, teaching classes fit in well for those with children at nursery or school on a full or part time basis.
What is the earning potential of being a nutrition teacher?
It really does depend on the position of the job and responsibility etc, but based on a part time position for a mum with children at school who taught 5 hours a day 3 days a week £12,000 PA.
How many hours do you work a week teaching?
I teach all the classes at mange-tout a total of about 20hours teaching. However this excludes food prep, setting up, class planning, and general running of the business
Is the job rewarding?
YES!!!! What can be more rewarding than seeing hundreds of children learning about fresh produce and how good it is for their bodies, and seeing the expressions on their faces when they taste a completely new fruit or vegetable. Even more rewarding are the comments and praise I recieve from parents who begin the course with a child completely averse to eating anything green and finishing the term with a child who now enjoys 5 new fruit and vegetables as part of their diet!
Do you think it is a job that fits in well with being a Mum?
Any advice for a Mum or Dad wanting to start thinking about becoming a nutrition teacher for children?
Give me a call - 0208 672 2400, as we are recruiting in September!
Any advice for a Mum or Dad wanting to set up their own business?
Give yourself plenty of time to research and market your idea. I spent a year puting mange-tout together before I went live! I have recently appeared on Sky News and in Time out and have also recieved a publishing offer from Penguin to write a book so that those who can't get to a class can enjoy the mange-tout experience in their home!
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