Real Women Doing Real Things: Jaclyn London, Director, Good Housekeeping Food & Nutrition Brand Lab

You guys know I’m all about healthy eating, which is why I was super excited to interview Jaclyn LondonGood Housekeeping’s resident Nutrition Director, for this week’s #RWDRT!  Jaclyn is an RD and New York State Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist (CDN) and, as Good Housekeeping’s nutrition director, she is responsible for the creation, execution, and oversight of the brand’s nutrition-related content across media platforms and Good Housekeeping Seal applications in the food space. She founded the Good Housekeeping Food and Nutrition Brand Lab incubator and Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem!  Here’s what the food expert has to say about her career path and a “typical” day in the life of Nutrition Director…

Tell us a little about your job and what you do at Good Housekeeping.

I’m a registered dietitian (RD) nutrition director at GH, where I oversee all of the nutrition-related content across Good Housekeeping’s media platforms and brand extensions. My role includes development and execution of diet and health-related features, reporting on nutrition, health, and consumer food news and trends, answering reader Q&A’s, writing food product reviews, and myth-busting diet fads and lame (food) product claims. Another big part of my job includes the oversight of the Good Housekeeping Seal in the food space (around since 1909!), and more recently (in 2016), starting the new extension of the GH Seal platform with a nutrition-bent: The Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved program, which is designed to help both brands and consumers to create and identify better-for-you food choices that make healthier eating habits easier to adopt (and stick with!).

What’s a “typical” day for you?

That’s a tough one, since part of what I love so much about my job is that no two days are the same! But every day includes reviewing nutrition-related research and industry news, checking out new food products, working on various articles for GH.com (or reviewing ones for accuracy of nutrition-info), and writing (or tweaking) info for whichever issue we’re currently working on. Typical days now almost always include calls or meetings with our (current or prospective) GH Nutritionist Approved partners, meeting with different food and beverage companies or nutrition/health/food researchers, and a whole lot of snacking—taste-testing is a big part of my everyday! Since nutrition is still something of a “baby” science, staying up-to-date in a landscape that’s constantly evolving is both exciting and challenging, so it’s crucial for me to set aside time to read or hear about what’s new on a daily basis.

How did you get your career start?

After my master’s/dietetic internship (the “residency” for dietitians), I started as a clinical RD at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where I predominantly worked with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, and post-neurosurgery patients. There, I also helped to develop the hospital’s employee weight-loss program, diagnostic criteria for malnutrition, and worked with the department of sports/rehab medicine. I also collaborated with researchers on a developing clinical trial on the role of diet in gut-microbiome of MS patients. At night, I counseled at a private nutrition practice, Nutrition Energy, where I worked with various clients on all types of nutrition-related interventions: Diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, food allergies and intolerances, eating disorders, endurance athletics, and general weight-loss. At Sinai, I also had the opportunity to do much of the department’s media work, contributing to articles and TV segments on behalf of the hospital’s nutrition department—the combination of my clinical and counseling work plus with media experience is what eventually lead me to Good Housekeeping.

What’s your best advice for women who want to follow a similar career path?

Say yes to everything!!! (And for dietitians or RD’s to-be, I’d also say have clinical experience!) Often, I hear people talking about how there isn’t much growth at their current job, or how there’s no way to take their position to the next level. But being open minded, especially in the field of nutrition, allows you to constantly gain new experience and opens the door for new opportunity. When you’re starting out, you really never know what you’ll love doing most—and since I’ve always been someone who likes doing a whole combo of things—I found a role that allows me to apply my clinical and counseling experience to a writing and content creation, basically bringing all of that together under one role.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

The people I work with currently, and the new people I meet every day! This job has allowed me to meet a variety of different people across the nutrition, food, and health industries. I know that’s a truly special, unique position to be in, and I don’t take it for granted—ever! I also love being able to take the things I learned in nutrition counseling and translate it into “digestible” (excuse the pun!) information for GH’s audience, which is no joke—we reach a total of 40+MM monthly!

What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you first started that you know now?

That from the top-down, big government and big food companies aren’t set out to “make people sick” or to create food that is unhealthy. The issue is so much bigger than that and comes back to a lack of nutrition-related knowledge and understanding human behavior, and carrying around this assumption that people are creating health-harming food products on purpose is an assumption just wastes time and stops us from getting to actually work together to make better for you food accessible to everyone. Also, I wish someone had told me to take chemistry in college! Honestly, that is 1.5 years (three semesters) of grad school and my life that I’ll never get back! ;)

What kind of projects are you working on now that are fun and exciting?

I am over-the-moon excited about the Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem and food-brand incubator program we’ve developed out of the Good Housekeeping Institute. The goal is to help consumers to spot—and eat—food that is nutritious, within the confines of our hectic, busy, overwhelmed everyday lives. The other part of it is working with brands to create products that do just that, and to work with marketing teams to leverage the nutrition-related attributes that actually educate and appeal to consumers. Using the GH platform and the resources available to me at the Institute has given me the opportunity to help brands looking to create healthier, more convenient products for the future, while educating consumers on what to look for at the grocery store right now. Check out more on the program: ghnutritionistapproved.com!

For more info from Jaclyn, follow her on Instagram!

One Comment

  1. Kathy Buono says:

    I wish I had seen something like this article when I was starting out and trying to figure out what I wanted to be. Very inspirational. Keep up the good work!