Inside the Fridge Welcomes Melissa Joy Dobbins MS, RDN, CDE
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Inside the Fridge Welcomes Melissa Joy Dobbins MS, RDN, CDE

Melissa is an award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist and the owner of Sound Bites, Inc., where she promotes “sound science, smart nutrition and good food.”  In her blog “Lights, Camera, Nutrition!” Melissa interviews and promotes dietitians, sharing nutrition communications tips and tricks.  Melissa is seasoned communications professional who enjoys coaching dietitians individually on how to create more visibility and success within their own careers. You can check out Melissa’s blog, follow her on Twitter , and pinterest.

ITF: Where do you shop for food?
MJD: I’m kind of partial to Jewel-Osco supermarkets since I was their corporate dietitian 10 years ago.  Our family also enjoys our regular trips to CostCo. When my son was 3 years old he called it the “hungry store.”  I’m definitely one to shop at the “regular” grocery store instead of specialty stores, and that’s what most of my clients do as well.  The media is always asking me about how to eat healthy on a budget and it’s one of my favorite topics because I know how much of an impact your shopping habits can have on your eating habits.  I always tell my clients and reporters that it sounds so simple, but if you don’t buy it at the store you can’t eat it at home – and that can work for you or against you.  If you want to eat more produce then you have to make sure you have it on hand.  If you want to eat less junk food, it’s a lot easier to avoid if it’s not around the house. 

ITF: What is the single most important thing on your mind when you are shopping for food?
MJD: My goal is to have enough food on hand to make balanced meals for my family for the week.  This means trying to buy the right amount of fresh food and supplement with frozen and pantry items to limit or avoid waste.  It also means making sure things like vegetables end up on the grocery list and are not an afterthought.

ITF: How do you plan your weekly meals? Create a spreadsheet of fly by the seat of your pants?
MJD: Shopping smarter is my secret ingredient in meal planning. I keep it simple by thinking in terms of food groups and aim to have enough food from each food group to allow for at least 3 food groups at meals and 2 food groups for snacks.

ITF: What cooking utensil/piece of equipment/appliance do you live for?
MJD: My standing freezer is my saving grace.  That’s where I store extra veggies and fruits, bread, meat, leftovers and homemade soups in single serving containers.  Without it I would have to shop much more often than once a week.

ITF: How have your cooking/shopping habits changed over the last 10 years?
MJD: Now that I have children I definitely focus on getting more nutrient-rich foods at the grocery store. I find it easier to make healthful eating a priority when it’s for the whole family, not just myself.

ITF: What are your go-to food/nutrition/culinary/cooking website/s, book or cookbook?
MJD: My old stand-by cookbooks include Better Homes and Gardens and the Quick & Healthy cookbooks by Brenda Ponichtera RD. One of my NEWEST faves is Chef and RD Michelle Dudash’s new cookbook Clean Eating for Busy Families! What I really use the MOST is a binder of recipes that my mom and I put together a few years ago.


ITF: What is the most coveted food in the fridge right now for each member of the household? Why?
MJD: Our homemade chocolate yogurt.  I learned the “recipe” from a dietitian friend and the kids love it.  Simply blend hot chocolate mix into plain yogurt.  You can decide how much hot chocolate mix to use depending on your taste preferences.  It’s really yummy with fresh berries!

ITF: What words of wisdom or advice do you have for other folks who are doing their best every day to fill the fridge?
MJD: Definitely think “outside the fridge!” Healthy food does not just mean fresh produce- think in terms of “nutrient-rich” foods. And remember, dietitians are NOT the “food police” – we’re more like coaches than referees!  So seek the help of an RD if you want to improve what’s in YOUR fridge.

ITF: What are you working on these days that you’d like to tell us about?
MJD: In the past few months I’ve done media trainings and communications workshops for the University of Illinois Extension, the dairy council, state dietetic associations and a group of supermarket dietitians.  I’m also working with some really dynamic dietitians one-on-one to help them achieve their media or communications goals. I would love to see more dietitians in the media or doing more with public speaking, writing, social media.  That is why I’m focusing my biz on helping dietitians boost their communications skills.  I guess I’m what you would call a “Dietitian Enthusiast!”  I hope that anyone who might be interested will contact me for a free quote!

Thank you Melissa!

If you would like to be featured on Inside the Fridge please email Robinsbite Intern Destini Borchardt-

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