Lesley Vogel is the Director of Nutrition at SAGE Dining Services®. To celebrate Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, I stole a few moments with her during a busy day of meeting with her team of Registered Dietitians, reviewing menu plans, and answering Managers' questions about allergens, ingredients, and recipes—read on to learn more!
So, Lesley... what's the coolest part of your job?
There's never a dull moment! I just got back from speaking about how to accommodate for food allergies as a disability in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act at the National Business Officers Association Conference in California. Tomorrow, I'm headed to a local college to deliver a nutrition presentation to our students.
That's a lot to keep track of! What keeps you inspired on your most stressful days?
My daughter has a severe tree nut allergy. I know how stressful and time-consuming it is to plan around an allergen—because I've been there. You'll never have to convince me, or anyone at SAGE, that an allergy is serious. We're transparent about the allergens present in the dishes we serve, and vigilant about avoiding cross-contact. Parents can schedule times to come in to see our kitchens and examine ingredient labels. Our online menu and allergen filter allow parents and students to plan ahead—and our diverse meal plans ensure there's something for everyone. I love knowing that, because of the work that we do, parents of children with food allergies can be confident that their kids will have a safe, delicious meal every day—just like every other student.
Speaking of meals—I hear you're one of those unicorns who preps them on weekends. Fill me in!
[Laughs] I don't know if it warrants unicorn status, but I do prep meals for the week on Sunday. I peel and chop veggies, wash lettuce and berries, hard-boil eggs, grill chicken, and make a big batch of oatmeal. It takes just a couple of hours, and it saves so much time and energy during the week! I also take inventory of anything that's going bad to avoid food waste and make the most of my grocery dollars—which means tomatoes become salsa, bananas become banana bread, and apples become applesauce.
Do you have any go-to snacks?
I'm a stickler for family dinners, even when it means pushing meals back a couple of hours for my kids' activities. I keep a Magic Bullet® in my desk drawer to make smoothies with almond milk, banana, and frozen fruit on nights when dinner will be late.
Sounds delicious! One last question. Are there any daily routines that keep you sane?
I have a 45-minute commute to and from work, so I take that time to listen to audiobooks or call friends (hands-free!) to catch up. And two or three times a week, I fit in a hot yoga class. But little things always throw you off schedule, don't they? Those 10 p.m. poster board runs for the project that's due first period tomorrow...didn't you have a month to work on this? [Laughs] So I'm about as sane as any parent of teenagers, I guess.
This is the first of a five-part Q&A Series with our Registered Dietitians. Look out for more in the coming months!