Ask the Nutritionist | Brenna, MS, LD, RD

By Jackie Cartier
December 1, 2016


Maybe you've heard Brenna Thompson, MS, RD, LD on our Dishing Up Nutrition podcast, she's full of information and is one of the most talented and experimental chefs we know. Many of the healthy recipes we share are her creations.

Lately we've been putting the Dishing Up Nutrition hosts in the hot seat with our 5 Questions series, giving them the time and space to dish on their backgrounds, how they make eating real food work for them and much more.

Without further ado, here's what we asked Brenna ...

What inspires you in the kitchen? How do you keep cooking fresh and fun?

Herbs and spices and my garden keep me inspired. Sometimes out of necessity. This past summer we had more kale than I knew what to do with, so I had to get creative and sneak it into salads since my husband is not that fond of it. I also learned how to pickle beets and make jam with our neighbor's rhubarb. We tend to eat very similar dishes each week, so our spice rack and marinades keeps things interesting for us. This past year we bought one-half of a grass-fed cow, which has made learning to cook different cuts of meat an adventure too.

Do you meal plan?

I try to plan about three meals each week, one of which is usually made in the crockpot. I always make enough to have leftovers for lunches or the following night's dinner. I used to try and do all the cooking myself, and then I got smart and started including my husband more. On nights I work late we plan a quick dinner idea that he can cook since he enjoys cooking and is quite good at it.

What is the most frequent question you hear from clients?

"How do I get my family to eat this way?" which to be honest is a really tough question. What I do know is that nagging kids to eat their broccoli doesn't work, and constantly telling your parents or spouse that their food choices are wrong just makes them more resistant. I think that quietly leading by example is best. I have never told my family what they should or shouldn't eat, but if they ask a question about why I'm including something or making a specific choice I tell them the reasons. This keeps the conversation open and doesn't make others feel bad about their choices. Of course, if you are really struggling with the vegetable issue, roast them in bacon grease and then sprinkle with parmesan or cheddar cheese. Who can say no to that?

What inspired you to become a nutritionist?

At first I thought I wanted to be a home economics teacher. In high school I asked for a Kitchen Aid mixer for my 15th birthday and made both of my prom dresses, but after one semester in college I knew that I really only cared about the food part. While watching TV during Christmas break I happened to see an interview with a sports dietitian, as well as an interview with the Today Show dietitian Joy Bauer. I looked at my mom and said, "That's what I want to do!" Thankfully, Minnesota State University has a great dietetics program, so all I had to do was change my major. Funny how things work out like that.

What is your food struggle and how do you avoid it?

Ice cream. I love it. I used to eat it every night when I was growing up and even worked at Cold Stone Creamery for several years in college. Once I start eating it, I can't stop, so now it just doesn't come into my house. Instead my husband and I will go out for ice cream a couple times a summer, and it's a major treat.

Do you enjoy reading these candid nutritionist answers? Explore some of our past 5 Questions archived posts to learn more about what our nutritionists think is the biggest misconception about nutrition, why they say slow weight loss is best and much more.



About the author

Jackie Cartier is Content Strategy Manager for Nutritional Weight & Wellness. She was once a client, seeking natural solutions to her achy runner knees and hormonal imbalances. From then she was hooked and eventually ended up on their team, spreading the real food message on the blog and through social media. 

View all posts by Jackie Cartier


Jeannie Reichel
I appreciate the honesty about food struggle and ice cream. I struggle with chips and crackers and wanting a salty crunchy snack. I ask my husband not to purchase but he can stop at a couple and wants to be able to have crackers when he wants. Any suggestions?
December 7, 2016 at 10:41 am


This is an common struggle. We recommend to have your own snack on hand to look forward to when he grabs for the crackers. Maybe it's pistachios, hummus and carrots? Maybe it's a deli meat roll up with pickles and cream cheese. If you're really missing the crunch we do think a small handful of this brand of crackers,, is a ok. 

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