Meet Our New HGG RDN, Jeni Hollifield!

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We are so thrilled to have Jeni working with us at Healthy Grocery Girl. Jeni emailed me over 4 years ago asking if she could help out / intern at Healthy Grocery Girl. At the time I was taking interns and also mentoring gals in their journey to booming RDs. Right away Jeni impressed me with her positive attitude, willingness to learn new skills and help with projects and her follow through and dependability. After a short amount of time as an intern, we hired Jeni to work for us part-time so that she could really be part of the team and more involved. Over the years through school and her internship, Jeni has helped with social and the HGG Membership and been such a blessing. Once she completed school and passed her RDN exam, she was ready to fully dive into HGG and we are so grateful and thrilled to have her join the team. As many of your know HGG consists of just Me, my husband and business partner Aaron and Jeni. We’re a small 3 person team, but HGG would not be where it is with the amazing work these team members contribute who are both family and just like family to me! 

Today we’re taking time to formally introduce you to Jeni and have her share more about herself! You’ll be seeing a lot more of Jeni around HGG now and we want you get to know our new Healthy Grocery Girl Registered Dietitian! 

Jeni, Hi! Tell Us a Little About Yourself!

I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, but attended the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!) where I played Club Soccer, lived in a house with 10 of my best friends and received my degree in Exercise Science. My plan was to become a Physical Therapist (PT) and travel around the world working. I moved to Dallas after graduating in 2013 and worked in a clinic as a PT Technician. Throughout this job and applying for PT school, I realized my passions were changing to nutrition and wellness because of my own health journey. After many closed doors, I decided to go back to school and become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist! After moving to Colorado Springs, I received my second bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from Kansas State University online. I did my dietetic internship through Utah State University and recently passed my RDN exam! 

My husband and I love living in Colorado with our kitty, Marty and dog, Murphy. We enjoy hiking in the mountains, seeing movies and are always around high school students because of my husband’s job as a Youth Pastor. We also are so excited to be pregnant with our first baby boy, who is due in late October! 

I’m a die hard Boston sports fan, coffee shop connoisseur and lover of all things 90’s, mainly NSYNC! 

You just passed your RDN exam, yay! What was the process like becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist? 

It was a long, but completely rewarding process! I wrote an entire blog post on this topic, so check that out here

How did you get started with HGG?

When I moved from Dallas to Colorado Springs about 4 years ago, I wanted to immediately get connected with some RDN’s. Megan was someone that I followed on Instagram and faithfully watched her YouTube videos each week! I absolutely loved how simple and delicious her recipes were. I decided to reach out to her about being an intern for a few hours each week. I had the awesome privilege of interning with HGG for almost 4 years and now ecstatic to be working for HGG full time! 

What is a typical day like working for HGG?

Each day looks different depending on the projects we are working on, but some of my main jobs include all things social media, writing and helping upload blog posts to the website and helping with the HGG Membership and HGG Member Recipe Club. Since I work remotely, Megan and I are in constantly communication throughout the day! 

Why are you passionate about Health & Wellness?

My health journey began in high school when I started having chronic migraines around my monthly cycle. They were brutal and would last 3 full days, where I spent most of my time in bed trying to sleep it off. These migraines continued in college where I tried taking birth control and another preventative medication to fix it. Once in Dallas, I became interested in the “why” behind my migraines. There had to be something going on internally and I didn’t want that masked by medication. After lots of research, I decided to try taking a magnesium supplement. After about 3 months of taking magnesium, my migraines were gone! Turns out my body was severely deficient in this (and probably a ton of other nutrients). This was a huge turning point in my life. I realized the power food and nutrition plays and I wanted to help heal my body as much as I could. I found out later that I have Endometriosis, which is why my cycles have always been so terrible. My diet is now personalized and tailored to my health journey and as an RDN, I hope to help people figure out what works best for their body too! 

What is your favorite HGG recipe?

Picking one is so hard! Before I even knew Megan personally, I was making HGG recipes weekly! But if I had to pick, one specific recipe that I come back to constantly is the Sweet Potato Noodles with Spicy Peanut Butter Sauce! Trust me, you definitely want to make this asap! 

What’s the most common thing people ask you for advice on as an RDN?

I think the most common thing people want to know is if their current diet is healthy. As I mentioned above, nutrition isn’t one size fits all, which means this “simple” question is quite complicated. Getting to know individuals and their health history is crucial before understanding and prescribing the diet that works best for them and is ultimately healing.  

Questions From The HGG Community!

I received a lot of questions about becoming an RDN, studying for the exam and even applying for internships! Check out my blog post here where I discuss this topic in depth!  

What does a typical day of eating look like for you?

I try to begin most days with a smoothie! This is such an easy way to get nutrients in at the beginning of the day. My go to is simple with frozen bananas, berries, spinach, peanut / almond butter, flaxseed and almond milk! I’ll sometimes add protein powder for an extra boost. I also love having overnight oats, avocado toast and homemade pancakes or waffles for breakfast. Lunch usually consist of salads, soups or leftovers from the night before. Snacks range from fruit, nuts, hummus and veggies/crackers or granola bars. I love simple recipes for dinner, especially on a busy schedule. My husband and I love stir fries, tacos, chilies, single sheet pan dinners and all HGG recipes! We normally end the night with some dark chocolate or banana “ice cream”.

What’s your favorite healthy snack in pregnancy? 

I haven’t had one favorite snack, but some I love are avocado toast, homemade trail mix, peanut butter & apple slices, yogurt & granola, ants on a log, bell peppers & guacamole, a protein smoothie and veggies/crackers dipped in hummus! Head over to the HGG Blog here and search snacks for some more great ideas! 

Has it been hard to stay healthy during pregnancy? 

The first trimester was really hard because I felt so sick. I definitely listened to my body, ate what I could and made sure I took my prenatal vitamin. Smoothies were the main way I was able to consume more nutrient dense ingredients. The second trimester has been a ton easier since I feel a lot better! 

What’s your favorite breakfast on the go?

My favorite breakfast on the go is definitely overnight oats! I love being able to grab something from my fridge and leave for the day. Plus, you can pack overnight oats with healthy fats and protein like nuts and seeds that will keep you full all morning. Click here for 3 of my favorite overnight oat recipes! 

Where’s the best place to shop for healthy food on a budget?

There are so many good stores depending on where you live such as Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Sprouts. Check these stores websites and download their apps for daily deals and coupons! Whole Foods usually has some great coupons throughout the month and their house brand 365 is also quite reasonable, especially if you’re also eating predominately fresh, whole, plant-based foods. One of the best ways to shop for healthy produce is by visiting your local farmers market! Not only are you getting fresh, great quality produce, but also supporting your local farmers. 

Let’s Stay Connected!

You can stay connected with Me and Megan on Instagram and also the HGG Membership here

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