We wanted to introduce you to a few of the RDs on LINK to learn more about the field and what dietitians can do for your brand.
Jamie Lee McIntyre is a media dietitian and mom based in Connecticut. She has been a great partner of GCG and is always a pleasure to work with. Jamie Lee hosts regular tv segments in New Haven and often works in other markets, as well.
Below, Jamie Lee shares more about her experience as a dietitian as well as her advice for both brands and RDs.
Tell us a little about yourself – how did you get started as a dietitian and what do you do today?
I knew at 15 I wanted to be a Dietitian since meeting with one myself as a high school athlete and new vegetarian/picky eater. I was fascinated by nutrition having a major role in every body function and performance. I also felt it would be a rewarding role (helping people) and lucrative with job security since everyone needs to eat! I went directly to a college with a Didactic program and was accepted into an internship straight out of my undergrad. I started as a Clinical Dietitian (RD eligible) two weeks before finishing my internship because I could not wait to get out in the field and practice all I learned. Since then, I transitioned into Corporate Wellness and discovered I am quite comfortable in front of the camera and large audiences. I now work as a Corporate Dietitian part-time and independently as a Nutrition Communications Consultant appearing on morning news broadcasts and representing brands that align with my nutrition philosophy.
What is your mission as a dietitian?
My mission is to help people identify their personal path to optimal nutrition – in both mind and body. Nutrition is highly individualized – not just in our nutrient needs, but in how we fulfill them. There is too much misinformation leading people to believe there is only one restrictive path to health. No matter your cultural background, upbringing, economic status, genetics, personal likes/dislikes, etc., optimal health is possible for you through a variety of eating patterns and foods that are accessible to you. I aim to help people to identify what works best for them for long term health and wellness.
What do you look for when choosing new products to buy or recommend?
I was originally motivated to work with the media because I was frustrated with the misuse of food marketing and confusing labels interfering with my clients’ healthy efforts and intentions, as well as who I was seeing on local morning news touting nutrition advice (ie. uncredentialed enthusiasts). When I am approached to work with a brand, I look at ingredients, price, and the target consumer. I create messaging that calls attention to the nutrition attributes of the item and demonstrate how to best use it in an overall healthy eating plan – steering clear of messaging that claims the product alone will solve all nutrition problems, but rather how to work into your diet as a whole. As a working mom of two, a lot of my messaging calls attention to the convenience factor and why items can benefit busy adults and professionals or the family as a whole.
Why did you originally want to start working with brands/why do you work with brands today?
Working with brands is a no-brainer for me. Many of the brands I represent on-air are truly products from my own pantry and kitchen. Some brands may be new to me in which case I review nutrition facts, ingredients, taste, price, and the level of convenience. I consider how well the product/brand would fit into my personal health and wellness at home with my family, or that of my clients. Since I believe in an “all-foods-fit” approach to nutrition, I occasionally will work with a brand that I personally don’t use often but that I know my clients will consume. In this case, I feel responsible for crafting an honest message that can help improve the nutrition of consumers. It may involve discussing leaner cuts of beef, or safer grilling methods for animal proteins. It is clear to me that if Dietitians don’t have a hand in crafting messages for all foods, then it will fall into the hands of less-qualified uncredentialed people who may deliver a message that negatively impacts the consumer’s relationship with food or encourages the wrong approach to consuming the item. This is why I believe RDN’s need to have an active role in food promotions even if the food being promoted isn’t high on our top 10 list! People will buy/eat it regardless, so we can educate them on the healthiest way to enjoy it.
What was your first brand partnership?
I can’t remember which was my first, but some of my first partnerships were with The Grain Foods Foundation, Beef Check Off, Cabot Cheese and Canned Foods. Prior to partnering with brands, I represented my state affiliate of AND on local news to increase the reputation of the RDN with the public, and through this, I was able to build relationships with news sources and tv stations.
What are some unique ways in which you’ve partnered with brands?
My brand partnerships are exclusively on morning news broadcasts. In the future, I would like to include representing brands at large family fitness and running events – like the RunDisney Health and Fitness Expo!
What advice do you have for other RDs who want to connect with brands?
Think outside of social media and followers. See what your reach can be to your local community. Reach out to your newspaper, local news station, organizations, schools, etc, and create a professional reputation as THE nutrition expert. When you connect with brands, show them your reach and pitch why their brand will be well-received from this audience. You can literally put the product into the hands of the consumer with a lasting impression beyond what an Instagram Story can do.
Do you have any advice for brands who want to connect with RDs?
I don’t think there has ever been a time in my professional career when the public and consumers have wanted to hear facts from the EXPERTS more than right now when it comes to health. RDN’s are nutrition experts and can speak on a number of topics. We know how to fact-check, research, and apply nutrition knowledge to everyday life – this is what makes us different from online influences and health enthusiasts. If you want to keep your company out of hot water (which misinformation will land you in) and want positive, factual messaging about your product, consult with an RDN!
Just for fun, what is your go-to snack?
I always prioritize protein and fiber at snacks! Yogurt with granola if I am home and able to sit. A cheese stick and fruit is my typical on-the-go snack. Like most Dietitians, I am rarely without a snack on hand!