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Ellie Krieger Talks the Power of Helping Others and How She Slashes Stress (EXCLUSIVE)

Plus, learn about her Substack Newsletter helping provide recipes and info on nutrition trends!

Passion combined with knowledge can be a pathway for change, and Ellie Krieger is living proof. An enthusiastic advocate for healthy eating, Ellie is well known as host of the Food Network show, Healthy Appetite, and as host/executive producer of Ellie’s Real Good Food on Public Television. Ellie is also recently launched the Substack newsletter where she provides delicious, easy recipes and trusted information on hot nutrition items.

The New York Times bestselling author is using her skills to not only teach people how to live healthier lives, but she’s also helping to alleviate food insecurity through her work with Feeding America.

 Bridget Moynahan, Phoebe Robinson and Ellie Krieger volunteering through Feeding America, 2023
Bridget Moynahan, Phoebe Robinson and Ellie Krieger volunteering through Feeding America, 2023Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Feeding America

“I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist,” the former model tells FIRST for Women. “My mission in life is to help people enjoy food that nourishes them, and you can’t do that if you don’t have access to healthy, good food. If people don’t have access to food on a regular basis and if they are experiencing food insecurity, then they can’t do that. So it’s such a wonderful gift to me to be invited to work with Feeding America. It’s an incredible organization.”

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Ellie Krieger partnering with Feeding America

Feeding America is a non-profit organization that is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks serving more than 5 billion meals through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other community-based agencies.

Ellie Krieger and actor Ryan Eggold volunteer with Feeding America and City Harvest, 2019
Ellie Krieger and actor Ryan Eggold volunteer with Feeding America and City HarvestKris Connor/Getty Images for Feeding America and City Harvest

“They have this incredible reach from a national perspective, but what I really like about it too is that it’s a network of local foodbanks and local organizations,” says Ellie, a New York City resident.

“I volunteer and serve at my Feeding America local foodbank, which there are several of them around me, and I’m working in my own neighborhood. I’m working in my own community helping the people that I may see every day in my area.”

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Ellie says there are misconceptions about hunger in America, and often the people who are experiencing food insecurity are people you might not expect.

“You can’t see hunger on people,” she says. “You might have certain assumptions of what hunger might look like or what food insecurity looks like, but very often it’s just people you might not expect. Oftentimes it’s your neighbors. When people go to the Feeding America website, they can find their local community food pantry. I know I love to be a help in my community. I just love that it’s national, but also local. It’s so important to help people have access to good food.”

Ellie Krieger shares her knowledge

Helping others is also good for one’s own health, and Ellie recently addressed that on her podcast, One Real Good Thing, on Apple podcasts.

The TV personality volunteers with Feeding America, 2014
Ellie Krieger volunteering with Feeding AmericaNomi Ellenson/FilmMagic/Getty Images

“Every episode looks at one thing you can do to make your life better right now, and I looked at this idea of volunteering,” she says. “I actually interviewed Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, who is the CEO of Feeding America, and talked about how volunteering helps the volunteer so much and I’ve talked about it in other episodes too.

“Recently it was brought up by one of the Harvard lecturers that I interviewed on the podcast that anyone who is an expert at happiness says the number one thing you can do to make yourself happy is to shine a light on other people, help other people shine. Volunteering not only helps other people, like the people in your community, it helps you. It helped me tremendously in terms of my own well-being to be helpful in this way. It does make you happier. That’s not why I do it, but it really feels good.”

Redefining what people think of food banks

Ellie says people might also be surprised at the quality of food distributed by food banks. It’s not just peanut butter, canned goods and crackers as some might expect.

“It’s everything,” Ellie says with a smile. “When I was there recently, I was giving out huge bunches of kale and oranges, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes and a ton of fresh foods. When people think about a food pantry they don’t necessarily always think of those fresh items, but we are giving out so much of that and people were so happy and so excited to be getting this fresh produce.”

MUST-READ: Air Fryer Parmesan Kale Chips Recipe Is a Better-for-You Snack — So Crispy + Easy

Ellie Krieger, Karolina Kurkova and Savannah Guthrie volunteering with Feeding America, 2014
Ellie Krieger, Karolina Kurkova and Savannah Guthrie volunteering with Feeding AmericaD Dipasupil/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City’s Community Kitchen & Food Pantry

Wanting to be healthy is a goal we all share, and Feeding America helps those who are struggling.

“One thing that dawns on me when I’m giving somebody a giant batch of kale and they are excited and tell me what they are going to make with it, everybody wants to be healthy. Everybody. There’s nobody if you ask them, ‘Do you want to be healthy in your life?’ There is nobody that’s going to say ‘no,’ and so it just feels so good to give people this tool for their own life to be healthy.”

Ellie’s best stress reliever? Rest!

In addition to good nutrition, Ellie credits rest and exercise for helping her feel her best. “I’m a big napper and I do that for stress relief,” she says.

“Sometimes I don’t even actually fall asleep, but I’ll lay down in a quiet room and close my eyes for a little while. I find it’s literally like a phone that needs recharged. It’s completely me recharging like that. It’s plugging myself into reset mode. I just need 20 minutes to close my eyes, rest my brain and escape the grind a little.”

MUST-READ: Ever Feel So Stressed It Seems Like The World Is Spinning? Why It Happens and 6 Ways To Instantly Feel Calmer

The TV personality and dietician in 2024
Ellie Krieger, 2024Rob Kim/Getty Images for CARE

When it comes to exercise, yoga recharges her body and soul. “I love yoga and it teaches me so much,” she says.

“My teacher is amazing. She always gives me something to think about. Once she said, ‘Be kinder than you have to be,’ and it just reset my whole mind for the week. I [thought] I’m a kind person, but maybe sometimes I’m the bare minimum. Maybe I need to take it step further and be a little kinder. She’ll say something like that every week to set me on a good path and I love that!”

Whether sharing healthy recipes on her shows, volunteering at her local food bank or just being intentional about sharing kindness in her daily encounters, Ellie is on a mission to help others live their best life and hopes you’ll join her on the journey.

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