About Me

Jenna Saidel Lebowich, MS, RDN, CDN

Registered Dietitian and Culinary Nutritionist

NY State Certified Dietitian Nutritionist

I have always been passionate about food and cooking, first teaching myself to cook by watching Julia Child after school and experimenting from my mom’s old copy of Joy of Cooking.  After working for a gourmet shop and caterer in high school (and serving homemade cold salmon mousse at my high school graduation party), I went off to the Cornell School of Hotel Administration to pursue my love for food and hospitality.  While in school, I discovered my talent for teaching and training, which I integrated into my work in hospitality operations after graduation.  I received my MS in Human Resources Development from Suffolk University and spent 15 years working in Human Resources management in the hospitality and fitness industries, and as an independent consultant specializing in organizational development and training.

The impact of my love of food was evident in my eating habits and my personal health.  I had always been overweight as a child and young adult, which made it very hard for me to recover from a back injury sustained in college.  In 2001, six months after the birth of my daughter, I decided to make a change in my eating and in my life.  I joined Weight Watchers and learned about the psychology of overeating and how to change my relationship with food.  I lost a significant amount of weight, found exercise that I enjoyed, and started to feel better both physically and mentally.  What frustrated me, however was finding so many recipes and diet programs that either centered on artificially processed foods and meal replacements, or were simply bland and boring.  Here I was, an accomplished cook, with my food choices limited to grilled chicken breasts and steamed vegetables or baking with sugar substitutes.  This was not how I wanted to live.  Food was too important to me to sacrifice flavor and taste in the pursuit of health.  I started to research and experiment, to seek out new resources, and to use my culinary knowledge and skills to create dishes that reflected how I wanted to eat and to feed my family.  I learned how to prepare and enjoy a variety of new vegetables, grains, fish, and lower fat meats, and how to incorporate real foods like butter, healthy oils, eggs, and cheeses into my recipes and menus with moderation.  Through my dietary changes and newfound enjoyment of exercise I have maintained a healthy weight and become much stronger and healthier, including significantly reducing my back pain.

The crash of November 2008 had a negative impact on my Human Resource consulting business as it did on many other companies around the nation.  With new found free time on my hands, I decided to follow up on my interest in food and nutrition and began a mutually beneficial volunteer relationship with the Nutrition Education Department at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester, assisting educators working in schools and community nutrition programs.  Motivated by their work in educating the public in healthy eating, I started to pursue coursework in nutrition at Westchester Community College and Lehman College, where I completed the Didactic Program in Dietetics–the academic requirements to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist– in December of 2014.  I completed my supervised practice through Hunter College’s Dietetic Internship program, qualified as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in July of 2016, and am a Certified Dietitian Nutritionist in New York State.  I am a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its Food and Culinary Professionals practice group as well as the Westchester Rockland Dietetic Association,  and hold ServeSafe food handling certification from the National Restaurant Association.

Combining my education and professional experience with my passion for food, I began teaching cooking and nutrition in the spring of 2009.  My goal is to help others to love eating and preparing great food and to understand how to choose foods and create meals that are both nutritious and enjoyable.  I believe that food should not only be good for us, but that it has to taste good and be a good experience as well.  I believe in the benefit of getting the majority of the nutrients our bodies need from whole, unprocessed foods, the way our bodies were meant to use them, and I believe in eating seasonally and locally whenever possible.  I know that I have been healthier these past fifteen years then ever before in my life, and I can see the positive impact of our diet on the rest of my family.  I want to help others to live better lives filled with good food and good health as well.

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