Our fabulous Eastside mama crush this issue is Kate Wengier – dietician, veggie warrior, and the founder of Foost. She’s one of those lucky people who not only gets to work in a field she enjoys, but feels privileged that she can help create happier family mealtimes for others. Foost runs a range of pop-up cooking and nutrition sessions and has products that support Positive Food Education.

Kate, tell us a bit about you and your family. How old are your kids?

Apart from my family and friends, my next favourite things are travelling and cooking. I just love exploring new places and learning new things. I’m a mum to three boys (aged 13, 11 and 8) and one girl (aged 6). 

What were you doing before you had kids?

Studying nutrition/dietetics and health promotion, working multiple jobs (mostly waitressing and babysitting – it seems my entire life has been working with food and kids) and travelling. I had children shortly after finishing university. 

When you started cooking for your own kids, what was it that gave you the idea for Foost?

When I had my first son, I noticed all the struggles other parents were having and realised that I had strategies to help ease the eating journey. I wanted to share these with other families so everyone could enjoy mealtimes more.  If we inspire a love of fruits and veggies early in life, people will enjoy these for life. 

Throughout my entire career I have always enjoyed working with groups and making complicated nutrition information simple and digestible. Foost is the science of my dietetics and nutrition continuing education combined with the experience (and empathy) of having my own children. 

Tell us a bit about how Foost works, and what’s Positive Food Education?

Foost is a social enterprise, health promotion company that uses an approach called Positive Food Education (PFE). PFE includes eating colourfully and mindfully and creating positive food beliefs and behaviours.

Our services are for both adults (workplace wellness events and parent education) and children (kids cooking activities at events, festivals and school holidays programs in shopping centres). We also run education programs for early learning centres and schools, and professional development for teachers. 

Our products range from helping to organise food (meal planners and shopping lists) to involving children in cooking (child-safe knives) and fun foodie children’s books. 

What do you like most about what you do? Are your kids involved in the biz? 

Oh, favourite thing is a tough one! I love coming up with new ideas and seeing them come to life. But I also love systemising current ideas so we can reach more people. But the best thing is when we get positive feedback from our participants. 

My kids are the inspiration, models and chief taste testers for Foost. They helped to write the book What If Vegetables Were People. During busy times, they help pack orders and my eldest sometimes helps run the kids cooking classes. 

What’s your fav thing about being a mum?

The spontaneous hugs, handmade birthday cards and watching them learn and grow. I love the rare moments when you see your children helping one another or making the bed without you asking them, and you realise that having to repeat yourself often is well worth it.

What are your family’s favourite Eastside spots for food?

Koonang road, Carnegie for a quick and laid back family lunch or dinner (remember we have four kids!). Sushi at JayJays, Paradai Thai and Shyun Ramen Bar are our favourite places at the moment. 

Jack and the Beans Talk in Malvern East is a lovely café we like to have staff meetings at. It has a great outside area and delicious menu. 

Do you have any advice for mums who are about to start packing lunchboxes?

Don’t overcomplicate it and make sure your children can open their lunchboxes! At Foost we use a 1,2,3 GO method. Aim for some protein, grains and 3 colours of fruit and veg. If you want to make a fancy bento box, awesome, but if you don’t that’s fine too and a sandwich with some fruit and veggie sticks is a perfectly nutritious lunch.  

If any Eastside mums are thinking about starting a biz this year, what would be your top three tips?

1. Prioritise and organise: As a working parent there will never be enough time to get everything done. You need to prioritise and do one thing at a time and work down your list of priorities.  

2. Online lists and keep a clean inbox: I love lists and now use an online one which is on my computer and phone. My lists help me keep track of work and home and prioritise. A well organised email inbox is also a time management master tool! Check your email, respond and clear it out. 

3. Put things in the ice box: Ice box is a list where you put all your ideas. Rather than get frustrated that you aren’t getting everything done, you put it in the ice box and do it when you have time. 

And finally, care to share with us a funny parenting story?

When my son was about three and we were sitting down to dinner, he came out with a funny statement, “Broccoli is my worst favourite vegetable”. We have a “don’t be rude to food” rule in our house and I think he was trying to express his opinion whilst respecting the rule!


Find more amazing mama interviews here!