Meet Therese Bonanni! This mama can throw down in the kitchen and the workplace all while raising her adorable son Peter. Therese, a registered dietitian, has a genuine passion for nutrition and wellness. She showcases this in her recipes and her nutritional counseling at Navesink Wellness Center. Therese loves to develop new recipes with her son, whipping up deliciousness that she will be sharing with The Monmouth Moms!!! Read more about Therese’s life here in Monmouth County, and look for her recipes to be hitting The Monmouth Moms’ blog soon (psst…she knows how to feed a picky eater, game changer)!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I grew up in Wanamassa, NJ and, after a trek around the tristate area, have lived in Little Silver for the past 5 years.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
My son Peter is almost 4.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I eat dessert! (Love her)
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
My sister–who, luckily also lives in Monmouth County–offers me guidance, advice and best of all, babysitting! It helps to have someone nearby who has gone through it all.
Favorite things to do with your kid?!
I have always loved cooking with my son. As he grows up, so does his energy level–he can hardly sit still long enough to get through a recipe these days! But it’s still fun to choose simple tasks for kids to do, whether it’s tearing lettuce for a salad, prepping a muffin tin with paper liners or cracking an egg. Getting kids in the kitchen is a great way to connect with them, build their confidence and encourage them to try new foods. I’ve learned to embrace the mess!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
About a decade ago, I switched gears from the publishing world to the clinical field. I was previously an editor at Prevention Magazine, which piqued my interest in health and wellness–specifically working with the test kitchen to learn how to make healthy versions of comfort foods. I decided to return to school full-time and, after becoming a Registered Dietitian, completed my Master’s in Clinical Nutrition at NYU. I have worked as a clinical dietitian at three hospitals in the tristate area. Now, I see clients privately at Navesink Wellness Center in Rumson, NJ. In addition to weight management, I help correct specific conditions (such as IBS, thyroid abnormalities, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol) and pediatric concerns (such as picky eating). I also assist with mealplanning, prep and recipes for busy clients and their families.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
One of my favorite resources is The Monmouth Moms Weekend Roundup, which features local activities to keep moms sane! It’s not easy to be the unofficial ringleader of the family, so having a new destination or activity planned keeps everyone happy. I’m also looking forward to meeting some new faces at the upcoming events this year. Best of all, having a community helps us remember we’re not alone on the motherhood journey.
What is your favorite restaurant in Monmouth County?
How about my Top 5 (Helpful tip: always make sure to ask the server at any location about potential food allergens if your child has food allergies):
Kitch Organic— for dairy-free and gluten-free options
Trama’s Trattoria— a hidden date night gem with an old-school vibe
Kitchen Witch— for updated comfort foods or a post-beach salad (and a generally kid-friendly atmosphere) with a juice and smoothie bar
Talula’s — for the best sourdough pizza or brunch
Apple Street Kitchen (formerly Mumford’s)–for their commitment to locally sourced ingredients
Had to throw in an extra question because she knows the best spots. What is your favorite grocery store in Monmouth County:
Hands down, Trader Joe’s in Shrewsbury. It typically has everything I need under one roof and helps me keep my pantry stocked with snacks that don’t have fillers, artificial sweeteners or other additives. The organic produce may not always be local, but it is typically more affordable than other stores.
What is your favorite activity to do with your child in Monmouth County?
We love taking his scooter to the boardwalk and letting him get his energy out. Before we know it, we’re exercising too, just trying to keep up with him! The park system has some great bike trails and Dorbrook is one of our favorites–especially when the spray ground is open for the season. Whenever the weather allows, I put him in his seat on my bike (while I still can!) and we ride together–whether it’s to the park, or the store to grab an ingredient we need for a recipe, or just to get an ice cream cone. We’re fortunate to live in a small town where we can do that.
What are your Mom Goals?
Feeding my family is one of my top priorities. But I’m also striving to make a career out of the knowledge that keeping our families fed–and ourselves–doesn’t have to be stressful. Food is the fuel that keeps busy parents going and healthy kids growing. So, if you’re managing to get dinner on the table, you’re doing a good job. (Whether your kids choose to eat it is another story, but I’ve got strategies for you on my instagram feed @navesinknutrition!)
I’m also navigating my son through a minefield of food allergies just like any other mom. I can relate to this journey and help other parents expand the variety in their child’s diet, making sure they aren’t missing any major nutrient gaps.
Thérèse Bonanni, MS, RDN is a Nutritionist who counsels children, teens and adults at Navesink Wellness Center in Rumson, NJ. For nutrition counseling information, a grocery store tour or questions, email her at: [email protected] or call 732-533-4224. Please mention this article when calling for promotional package pricing. Follow her on instagram @navesinknutrition.
A former editor for Prevention magazine, she also created and developed recipes for The O2 Diet, Slim Calm Sexy Diet and The New You & Improved Diet books, which have appeared on The Rachael Ray Show and Access Hollywood. Her work has also appeared in Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest and Shape Magazine.