10 Things You Didn't Know About Ellie Krieger

10 Things You Didn't Know About Ellie Krieger
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10 Things You Didn't Know About Ellie Krieger

Read on to learn more about Ellie Krieger.

Her childhood eating habits

"I was born loving food, and my mother says that me becoming a nutritionist is like a pyromaniac becoming a firefighter!" Ellie reveals. "I was actually an overweight child, and was always fascinated by food. In my early teens, I started to pay attention to healthy food and became more active in my life. I feel like I learned how to love food in a healthy way, and then eventually it became my mission to help other people do that as well."

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Earliest memories in the kitchen

When Ellie was a child, her mother worked and went to school at night, so most of her memories of family meals took place at her grandmother's house. "I have a lot of memories in my grandma's house, especially stirring pudding," Ellie says. "Still, to this day, I just love making pudding from scratch. Taking that little bit of time it takes to have to stir it, making sure it is creamy and thickens, and then waiting for it to gel. All of that anticipation, I remember. When you are five or six years old, waiting is a form of torture, but there is something really beautiful about the memories," she shares.

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How her daughter influences her

Ellie explains that in a lot of ways her daughter has made her a better eater. "I would be less likely to have a handful of chips at lunch because I'm sitting there with her, and I don't want her to just eat a bunch of chips," Ellie says. "I'd be more likely to put crunchy vegetables out—because it is not what you say, but what you do that really matters when you are teaching kids about nutrition."

It isn’t all about food for Ellie and her daughter either. It's also about perception. "I want her to be more concerned about how she is fueling herself rather than being skinny," Ellie says of her daughter. "It is the conversation you have around food that becomes so important in shaping someone’s perspective on herself, and her attitude toward food."

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Indulgence she dislikes

"I don’t like breakfast in bed," admits Ellie. "I feel like most people are supposed to like breakfast in bed but I want to get out of bed! I remember I had a boyfriend who brought me breakfast in bed and I didn’t have the heart to tell him I really don’t want to sit in bed and eat. I want to eat at a table!"

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Her greatest influences

"I love Jacques Pepin," Ellie reveals. "He is someone who I have a great admiration for in terms of his style, his incredible professionalism and ability to really reach people. He is an incredible chef and lets the average cook feel like they can do it."

Jacques isn't the only person who's inspired Ellie. "Of course, Julia Child is such a great example, because she took her work very seriously, but didn’t take herself very seriously. She could mess up in front of the world on camera and just roll with it. For that matter, I think Lucille Ball is such a great example for me. She wasn’t so concerned about image. She just wanted to make people laugh. I think very often, in the media world, we can get very wrapped up in controlling our image. When we can let go of that a little, it is like we can really give people something and be super genuine," Ellie says.

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Strangest thing she's ever eaten

"The strangest thing I’ve eaten is a duck testicle," Ellie shares. "It was a little bit liver-y tasting."

Ellie didn't know what she was eating at the time, and says it's probably better that she didn't. "It was at a fancy party — that is when I go home and have a bowl of cereal," Ellie admits.

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Her unexpected nutrition client

Ellie was in a private practice for a number of years and had many celebrity clients, but one you may not have expected was Howard Stern. "I adore him by the way," she says.

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The food she still can't master

"I haven't gotten to make the perfect omelet," Ellie admits. "I don’t have any omelet recipes. I have a frittata, which I’m really good at."

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Her favorite scent

"I love the smell of lavender," Ellie shares. "Lavender is one of the ingredients in Herbes de Provence. I don’t love when food is really floral tasting. It reminds me of soap, but it is really nice in balance. My soap is always lavender. I love to get lavender sprays."

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What Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign taught her

When President Obama first came into office and Ellie read that Michelle Obama was planting the garden, she was so inspired that she sent her a letter. "I literally felt like I was sending it to Santa Claus," Ellie remembers. "You just feel like you are writing to the North Pole. I wrote her a letter saying I was so inspired by her and if I could ever be of service in this effort, feel free to reach out to me."

Michelle Obama's press secretary contacted Ellie inviting her to be part of the nutrition education aspect of Mrs. Obama's campaign. "At that time, she announced the Let’s Move program, and she announced something called the HealthierUS School Challenge. Listening to this -- my daughter was in public school at the time -- I was thinking, 'Why aren’t we doing this with our school?'" Ellie then reached out for support at her daughter's school, and managed to make an impact on the health of its students. Two years later, the school became the only New York City school to win the HealthierUS School Challenge award.

Ellie says it was very exciting, and quite an education for her. "It is one [thing] to be in the public eye in a public forum, being a leader, doing this and rallying people to make changes in their communities," she says. "Then there is the other side of it, of being in the school and cutting cauliflower for 700 kids and trying to get parent volunteers to be there on time. I think understanding it from both sides of the equation has been a really great education for me [in terms of] what it takes to really do this."

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Ellie Krieger is a best-selling author, registered dietitian and host of Food Network's Healthy Appetite. From her eating habits as a child to her greatest culinary influence, Ellie shares a few facts you don't know about her—including how she got involved with Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign.

Check out the slideshow above to learn more about Ellie Krieger.

Check out more of Ellie's story on MAKERS.

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