Read more about our current featured member below. For previous Member Spotlight editions, head over to the archive.
Barbara R. Baron, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND
President of Barbara Baron Nutrition and The Family Meals Dietitian®
Tell us about your job.
Coach, consultant, blogger, and speaker working with parents, healthcare providers, and corporate groups who want more energy and better health. As a Family Meals Dietitian®, I understand the challenges of preparing healthy meals, especially as a full-time working mom raising two boys active in sports, now in their twenties. I believe in flexibility, encouraging parents to "Be your own 'MVP' with Moderation, Variety & Planning!" ®. Similar to the three legs of a kitchen-stool, combine right size portions(Moderation), varied food groups, and choices for taste and nutrition(variety) with good eating habits (a plan just like you would plan a vacation or achieve financial goals) to create balance, [and even if it sounds cliché, “to become your own “most valuable player”].
How did you get into this field?
Never underestimate the power of a passionate teacher. My seventh-grade teacher made science fun and sparked my interest in our amazing digestive and circulatory system. Think about it (most dietitians can relate) - we eat food and the body knows exactly how to break down that food into tiny essential nutrients to be absorbed and achieve health. A few years later, I became that typical weight-conscious high school teenager. Instead of following the diet of the month or another FAD --which I now label as “false affects of dieting”, I decided to ask my doctor for advice (Dr. Google did not have office hours when I was in high school). My doctor proudly handed me, a one-sheet with the title “1200-Calorie Diet for Adult Women”! EEK! I was a growing teenager-- not an adult! That paper only listed foods and their calories. Nothing more! Good thing I was sponge in my advanced biology class where quickly absorbed a better understanding about the critical nutrients in foods, not just their calories. This journey paved the path where I now spend my days working with busy parents and health-care- providers so they have more energy and time by eating healthy balanced meals!
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised In Brooklyn, NY, surrounded by family. Both maternal and fraternal grandparents, and my aunts and uncles all lived either on the same block or within walking distance. I learned a lot about buying and preparing food especially how to buy all types of vegetables from my mother and grandmother, they were good role models. Fun fact, the house where I grew up was around the corner from the nightclub where Saturday Night Fever was filmed with John Travolta! The best part of growing up in Brooklyn was being able to walk to different neighborhoods to buy, taste and experience different cultures. We were within walking distance of signature cuisines of the neighborhood. Literally easy access to all types of traditional food and grocery stores of traditional Chinese, Italian, Irish, Jewish, Middle Eastern and Hispanic cuisines!
Where did you go to college and/or complete an internship?
Went to Hunter College, CUNY for Dietetics/ Home Economics although the name was antiquated, the curriculum prepared you to know all about the function of food, nutrition anatomy and physiology, plus educational skills and finance. I completed my Dietetic Internship at NY Hospital (now NY Weill Cornell Presbyterian) in NYC for which I am grateful and smile when I honestly say “ All I need to know about Food and Nutrition, I learned at NY Presbyterian Hospital” - borrowed from the book by Robert Fulgrum “ All I need to Know I learned in Kindergarten”
Besides your profession, what are you hobbies?
Cooking and learning new culinary techniques, bike riding, yoga!
What are your favorite foods?
Eggplant Parmigiana and Swiss Chard and love to make the escarole filling from my grandmother’s recipe for Escarole Pie [bitly link: https://wp.me/p7OOnb-7l ] ; Ceriglione olives not as salty and so “meaty”; also love beef stew with mashed potatoes, okay I will stop now!
What is on your bucket list?
Finish my book about enjoying meals around the table; and return to Italy to visit my relatives again and this time make time for Capri and Sicily which I missed on my last trip.
How long have you been a member of NEP DPG? And why did you join?
Yikes, probably more than 20 years! I am a lifelong learner and love access to new ideas and educational tools to share with clients, I also enjoy the wonder networking opportunities NEP offers. I have met many fun and creative dietitian professionals through NEP.
Any other interesting things you would like to share with NEP members?
“Always make time for a meal with family and friends!’ Follow me on social media. @barbbaron