When I was first considering going to school to study nutrition, there were only a few main career paths you heard about: private practice, clinical, community, and foodservice. As you guys know, I love to highlight dietitians and other wellness professionals doing cool stuff in the field and living life a little outside the box. Today I’m sharing some Career Q & A with dietitian Kristina Todini of the popular blog, Fork in the Road. If you guys haven’t yet, you’ll definitely want to check it out!
How did you find your way into the nutrition world?
I am a second career dietitian and worked in supply chain logistics before going back to school to become a dietitian. I’ve worked in the food industry in some way, shape or form since my first job in a restaurant at the age of 15, but I always knew I wanted to study health and nutrition. It was a big sacrifice to return to school as an adult to become a RD, but it was absolutely worth it.
[So now] I am a registered dietitian with a background in public relations and nutrition communications, specifically working with the agriculture industry in sustainable nutrition. Now I run the food, nutrition and sustainability blog Fork in the Road and also produce creative content for brands, bloggers and other RDs through photography, video and design. In addition I am the Director of Communications for the Nutrition Entrepreneurs dietetic practice group in the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, and also the President-Elect of my local dietetics chapter.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is very different, which is what I love! Most days are filled with writing articles for my own blog or others that I contribute to, researching and writing recipes, photographing and styling food, and meeting with a client about future projects. There is a lot of technical, behind-the-scenes work of running a blog and I spend a lot of time researching and learning how to keep a website up and running. It’s a lot of work, but I love every minute of it!
When you first set out to become a dietitian, what did you think you’d be doing with your credentials? What’s been surprising along the way?
Like most nutrition students, when I set out to become a RD I had a very black and white view of what nutrition entailed, but quickly realized it is a complex issue and there is never a cookie cutter answer for each person. I envisioned myself in private practice counseling patients, but quickly realized my love of writing and creating visual content was my real passion. I was able to dive deeper into food sustainability while working in public relations and now I combine both by writing about food and sustainability and pairing that work with visually appealing photography.
Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! How did you learn food photography?
I’ve always had an eye for design and loved photography, but had no idea what I was doing. I’m completely self-taught but I also invested in a few online courses and in-person workshops that have helped me to refine my style and composition – and never discount the value of YouTube videos! There’s a period you go through when gaining any new skill where you know good work when you see it, but your own skills are not at that level. It’s frustrating and makes you want to quit, but you keep doing it because you love it. You evolve and get better each time. It’s a slow process, but I love it and it allows me to present food, nutrition and health in a new and exciting way.
What are some of your favorite parts of what you do?
I love that every day is different, I am a wanderer at heart and am always looking for the next big thing so having a career that allows for flexibility and creativity is essential. I find writing about food to be my favorite part of of the gig, I never get bored of talking about it!
You wear a lot of hats! Any secrets you’ve learned along the way for balancing your energy and making sure everything gets done on time ?
This is something I struggle with because I have a hard time saying no, but I’ve learned the hard way (over and over again) how important it is to prioritize your time and your own health. Planning and organizing my time is key to make sure I’m staying on top of all responsibilities, but I also plan white space in my week. I shut off the computer by 6pm, stay off my phone in the evenings (easier said than done), and spend time reading before bed each night. It’s the little things every day that count, we shouldn’t be waiting for our next vacation to take time for ourselves.
What advice would you give someone who’s curious about going into nutrition communications?
Just do it! It’s a fun and exciting field and you can make it anything you’d like it to be. Are you a writer? Start a blog or write for others. Are you a great speaker? Start a YouTube channel or do Facebook Lives and Instagram Stories. The sky is really the limit and it’s all about thinking outside the box and positioning yourself as the expert in your specific niche. Talk about what you do, put yourself out there and make great connections. The rest will fall into place.
What are some of your favorite foods to eat to stay energized on a busy day?
I try to eat as seasonally as I can so I love hitting up the farmer’s market and finding in-season produce to munch on throughout the week. I was late to jump on the smoothie bandwagon but lately I’ve been enjoying a mixture of fall fruits and leafy greens with a plant-based milk blended with ice. It’s the perfect refreshing afternoon pick-me-up.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I’m inspired by many things but traveling is hands-down my number one muse. I love immersing myself in a culture, eating traditional foods and learning about the food traditions of different countries and cultures. I love trying new fruits and vegetables and testing new flavors and spices. There is so much to learn and I love sharing that with my readers.
How can people connect with you?
Thank you, Kristina!
How about you guys—Have you ever changed careers?
This has been another installment of the Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where randomness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.