Maria Biondi Registered Dietician Nutritionist uses her knowledge to inspire and help others live a healthy life. She fills the role of both adjunct professor in the Queens College Nutrition and Dietetics department and holds a full time position at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens as a NYPBeHealthy Wellbeing Coach. Maria works to support employees on their wellness journey. We interviewed Maria to gain knowledge from a dietician working with clients in New York City. Maria has insight on how to teach nutrition as well as how to share her knowledge in an effective manner.
Q. Please briefly tell me about the roles you fill professor, RD and chef?
A. I am an adjunct lecturer at Queens College for FNES 101: The Science of Food. It’s such a fun class to teach because we get to talk about food and then cook based on the topic. I also work full-time at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens as an NYPBeHealthy Wellbeing Coach. I support employees in meeting their personal wellbeing goals for healthy eating, stress management, sleep, smoking cessation, weight management, and more. I feel extremely grateful to have a lot of fun at both of my jobs!
Q. How would you describe wellness in one sentence?
A. Wellness is overall balance in one’s emotional, physical, and spiritual health. It encompasses everything from eating healthy, exercising, managing personal finances, or seeking guidance when needed. I think as New Yorkers were trying to balance everything and do as much as we can, so finding harmony in our tasks is crucial.
Q. Why do you think it is important to educate children on healthy eating patterns?
A. So many of our behaviors and habits can start in the early stages of life. I think it is a great start if parents can try to set the standard and get their children involved in preparing and experiencing different foods as early as possible. When I worked in pediatric nutrition for a short time, I was amazed to see parents serving foods they would never eat themselves. If you wince at the smell of broccoli, why would you expect your kids to enjoy it? Don’t be afraid to try new foods with your kids and have fun experimenting with new fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. Cooking does not need to be as daunting as many feel it is; if you have an extra set of hands, use them!
Children can help toss a salad, bread a chicken cutlet (which you can grill or bake for a healthy twist), or skewer some vegetables.
Q. What is your current favorite seasonal fruit/vegetable?
A. Summer is here so it’s all about watermelon and berries. I just went blueberry picking two weeks ago; if you haven’t tried it its actually really cool! When I have strawberries that are starting to get soft I like to turn them into strawberry jam, my family goes nuts for it.
Q. What inspires you to teach others about nutrition?
A. I was incredibly fortunate as a student to have guidance from registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) in the field, and now I think it’s my turn to give back to the future RDNs. My goal is to help others get where they want to go and expose students to their options on the field. It’s a great profession and there are a lot of paths you can take so I hope to help students find their path too.
By Alexandra Filingeri, Seasonal Sammy App