Latina leading Hispanic food communications through nutrition and culinary consulting
Promoting healthy eating in Latino communities is crucial to achieving health equity. The Hispanic growing population is here with an increased presence, and this is the time to take action.
Dr. Sylvia Klinger is an internationally recognized nutrition expert who is relentlessly passionate about helping people fall in love with the process of creating and enjoying delicious and nutritious foods.
"Her Hispanic background fuels her passion for nutrition, leading her to empower and encourage those in her community through the foods they enjoy in their kitchens."
As a food and nutrition communications professional, Dr. Klinger is a global nutrition professor, award-winning author, and the founder of Hispanic Food Communications.
At the same time, she understands everyone’s needs are different and seeks to individualize nutrition to best fit each person and their journey to a happy and healthy life.
Her latest publication, The Little Book of Simple Eating, was published in 2018 in both Spanish and English.
In her spare time, Dr. Klinger explores food and culture all over the world with her family, realizing the power a healthy lifestyle has to glue people together.
Pictures above of Dr. Sylvia Klinger in Africa with Hispanic Food Communications.
In the middle of this Summer 2022, I had the pleasure to Interview Sylvia Klinger regarding her career, accomplishments, and what advice she would give to today's Latina and the future Latina.
OLM: How did you become interested in your field?
Sylvia: Although my mom is also a registered dietitian, my interest took place after one of my best friends was sharing all the interesting nutrition topics she was learning in her nutrition class. That’s when a light bulb got to turn on inside my head. Somehow what she was describing to me was fascinating and really got me thinking. I ran home and told my parents I wanted to be a dietitian, and I have been living my dream ever since. Nutrition became my forever passion. My parents are still admiring how it all turned out for the best.
OLM: How did you begin your career?
Sylvia: Right after I graduated from Loma Linda University in California (like the next day), I started working for the Joslin diabetes camp in Big Bear Mountain, California. A super fun first job experience right out of college. At the end of camp, I moved to Boston to start a full-time job as a food service dietitian at a hospital, then back to California to work for the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program, which led me to a job as a clinical dietitian leading nutrition research and out-patient clinics. A move to Chicago for graduate school landed me a dream job with the Quaker Oats Company that lasted almost 10 years. However, once I started a family I realized my career priorities shifted from working from home a couple of days a week to starting a consulting business until today.
The best part of my current nutrition communications job is that I get to decide which projects I want to work on, my hours of work, where to travel, and develop my own strategies for my next career move. Also, I get to work on so many different projects every day, which makes it more exciting and makes me more marketable for many other exciting projects.
OLM: What kinds of accomplishments tend to be valued and rewarded in your field?
Sylvia: Getting your name out in the public eye is very important in order to get the name recognition that consumers and clients are looking to grow trust. Therefore, getting published, getting speaking engagements, and teaching at an academic level are some of the most valuable accomplishments one should strive for early in a career in nutrition communications and consulting.
OLM: How does your position fit within the organization/career industry?
Sylvia: Because I develop my own career path, I get to decide where I want to go and how I want to get there. It is a very rewarding position to be in, but at the same time, there is a lot of hard work to keep the momentum going.
OLM: Why do you feel you are the most suited for this role?
Sylvia: My current job (my own consulting company) is 100 percent suited for me because I designed my roles based on my favorite projects and aspirations.
OLM: What kind of mindset is required for your duties and responsibilities?
Sylvia: It takes a special breed to do this kind of work. There are certain traits you need to have such as:
People person, creative mind, goal setter, independent, assertive, organized, patient, polite, kind, and most important compassion for the community we serve.
OLM: What are the areas of opportunity that you foresee in your role?
Sylvia: As more people migrate to the USA, we need to become more aware (and embrace) the differences that make us so unique. For the last 10 years, I have been focusing on global health, which has helped me better understand not only my people but also the many cultures and traditions of those we serve every day.
OLM: How do you stay inspired and motivated in your role?
Sylvia: I love traveling the world, which allows me to explore so many different cultures and foodways. I always come back pumped with great inspiration and the motivation to keep doing my work more efficiently and with more compassion.
OLM: What advice would you give to Today’s Latina and the future Latina?
Sylvia: Explore your dreams and work towards those dreams every single day. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are. Once you start doing the things you absolutely love, your work will bring you so much joy.