10 Sep Inside the Fridge welcomes Personal Nutrition Coach & Nut-Free Lover Rima Kleiner
Rima Kleiner, MS, RD, LDN, CLT is a nationally-recognized food and nutrition expert based in Greensboro, NC. She is passionate about food and health, and she helps connect the two for individuals and national organizations.
As a nutrition communications consultant, Rima helps translate nutrition science into bite-sized, impactful language that audiences will understand and appreciate. She also helps individuals pinpoint food sensitivities, manage nutrition-related conditions and eat well for optimal fertility and pregnancy as a personal nutrition coach. Central to her coaching practice is a belief that healthy eating must be approachable and realistic for your life right now; small steps add up to big changes.
Fun fact: Rima provides expert commentary in all forms of media—TV, print, radio and online (which has included the Washington Post, Family Circle, and TV affiliates of ABC!).
1. Where do you shop for food?
I have multiple go-to markets. I tend to do my shopping for items like dairy products, eggs and canned beans at the neighborhood supermarket, Harris Teeter. For produce, I belong to an organic CSA, or we’ll visit one of the local farmer’s markets. (A delicious locally-produced goat cheese by The Goat Lady is a reason in and of itself to draw me out to the farmer’s market!) When I am in the market for seafood or specialty products—say, Enjoy Life nut-free chocolate chips—I hit Whole Foods or Fresh Market. Trader Joe’s is an all-time favorite for affordable spices and canned items, but the nearest one to me right now is in the next town over, so I don’t get there as often as I’d like.
2. What is the single most important thing on your mind when you are shopping for food?
Getting the most nutrients for my buck.
3. How often do you shop?
I try to shop one weekend day each week, but inevitably have to do 1-2 small market runs during the week—usually for milk, yogurt or produce.
4. How many do you shop for? Ages?
I shop for my husband, our two kids and me. Our son and daughter have VERY different tastes in food—the 2½ is an adventurous eater but is allergic to nuts and the 4¾ is a less-than-adventurous eater. Everybody has different needs, wants, and aversions, so grocery shopping is always an adventure!
5. How many times a week do you eat out? (based on 21 meals/week)
We typically eat out 1-2 meals each week. We’ll usually eat out or get pizza delivered once over the weekend with the kids. My husband and I meet up for a nice weekday lunch occasionally, to have catch-up time that costs less than a dinner date… the meal is less expensive and no babysitting costs!
6. How do you plan your weekly meals? Create a spreadsheet of fly by the seat of your pants?
For years, I have wanted to plan out and shop/prep for meals on the weekend but I always dreaded taking precious time away from my family. However, with two young children who were always hungry the second we got home from work, it was evident that dinner needed to become more than a passing thought in the morning. In January, I finally sat down with a glass of wine after the kids went to bed and created a monthly calendar of dinners. I also made notes of new recipes for muffins or lunches I wanted to try. It was so easy and fun! I make it flexible so there is room to change our minds, but for the most part, we tend to stick with it. Every Sunday I look at the calendar and know what I need to buy for the week ahead.
7. Do you believe in leftovers?
Yes—I love leftovers! I try to make extra for the next day’s lunches. I love when I can re-purpose an item… if we have leftover grilled salmon, I’ll make a big salmon salad or salmon burgers. If we have leftover veggies, I’ll throw them into quinoa or a frittata.
8. What convenience product can you not live without?
I love pre-washed salad greens. It’s not difficult to wash and spin lettuce, but ready-to-eat fresh greens I can just throw into a salad bowl with lots of other veggies is SO easy.
9. What brands do you swear by? Why?
Enjoy Life nut-free chocolate chips, Sunbutter, SuperSeedz pumpkin seeds. Any brand that uses a dedicated nut-free kitchen is on my favorites list. My daughter has a tree nut allergy, so knowing a tasty product has been produced in a nut-free facility earns my loyalty.
10. What cooking utensil/piece of equipment/appliance do you live for?
My crockpot and VitaMix blender. I won the VitaMix in a cooking contest and LOVE it… Everything you’ve heard about this machine is true!
11. How have your cooking/shopping habits changed over the last 10 years?
I have a son who is almost 5 years old and a daughter who is 2½ years old, so my cooking and shopping habits have definitely changed in the past decade. My husband and I used to make leisurely dinners on the weekend, but that rarely happens now with two little ones running around! It’s more about efficient nutritious foods vs gourmet nutritious foods.
12. What are your go-to food/nutrition/culinary/cooking website/s, book or cookbook?
My copy of the Meal Makeover Mom’s No Whine with Dinner cookbook is stained and dog-eared from so much use! (I love their slow cooker dishes.) When I’m searching online, I tend to rely on Cooking Light for good recipes.
13. What words of wisdom or advice do you have for other folks who are doing their best every day to fill the fridge?
Use mostly fresh, non-processed foods, but don’t be afraid to complement or supplement those foods with convenient healthy foods, like pre-washed veggies, hummus, canned beans, pouch tuna and salmon, frozen veggies and fruit.
14. What are you working on these days that you’d like to tell us about?
I am really excited about my 52 Moms Talk Food blog series. I interview and collect stories from moms about how they get a healthy dinner on the table and find balance. I think each of us—whether we are nutrition professionals or not—have golden nuggets to share with other parents. It’s my exploration on how inspiring moms do it all.
15. Anything else?
A quick tip: make cooking fun! Prioritize what’s most important to you. While most of us would love to make our own whole wheat crackers, yogurt, granola, corn tortilla chips, whole grain bread and hummus all the time, one can go crazy trying to do it all. Determine what foods you feel are most important to eat fresh and concentrate on those, and rely on healthy convenient foods to round out the rest of your meal.
Thanks so much, Rima!
If you would like to be featured on Inside the Fridge, please contact Aimme at firstname.lastname@example.org.