Vanessa Cruz


My passion for healthy food started when I was in high school, and my grandparents moved in with my family. They both had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and heart disease and required additional assistance. Watching my grandparents struggle to manage their lifestyle diseases inspired me to make better everyday choices, seek an education in nutrition, and teach others about the connection between health and diet.

I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Texas in 2020 with Honors in Advanced Nutritional Sciences and a distinction in leadership. I also hold a Master in Public Health degree from the UTHealth Science Center in Houston with a concentration in public health nutrition through the Dietetic Internship Program.

Before joining Whole Kids Foundation in 2022, I worked on two different research studies. One fostered hands-on gardening, nutrition and cooking experiences for elementary-aged children during the school day. The other was a behavioral intervention program focused on making dietary changes to manage diabetes through cooking classes.

My education and my experiences in nutrition, behavior change interventions, gardening and school food paved the way for my role with Whole Kids Foundation. Now at Whole Kids Foundation, I am most excited by our goal to increase access to and the consumption of fresh, nutritious, whole foods in schools.