RD Close-Up: Angela Parreco, RD, LDN, Giant Food
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Please describe your role at Giant Food.
As a member of the Healthy Living Team at Giant Food I have a lot of the traditional retail dietitian responsibilities – store tours, consultation, and classes. In between all of this, I also create content for our team’s social media account on Tik Tok. Along with my colleague, Thu Huynh, we create content that supports initiatives and goals of our team and our brand. In this day and age, you can’t NOT be on social media, so it has been exciting (and sometimes scary) to be part of this adventure. Check us out and give us a follow on TikTok @HealthyLivingByGiant!
What's the story behind your experience in retail and how you came to work at your retailer?
After college I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue the RD route. I felt very disconnected from nutrition, but I started a job at WIC and fell back in love with the field. I realized that I really enjoyed the community nutrition aspect of the job. What I love about retail dietetics is its similarities to community nutrition but with a retail/shopping spin. But let’s be honest, when I applied for THIS job, I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I was just looking for a new job closer to my house and thought this sounded interesting. That was an understatement. Since I was hired mid-pandemic, our team was in a transition stage from instore to online. I never got the full grocery store experience. We didn’t even have a social media account at the time. Looking back, this position wasn’t anything I thought it was going to be, but I’m very happy and grateful to be here and part of this team of go-getters!
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
I am a dietitian that does not identify as being Type A. I’m more of a “go with the flow” type of person. I’m great with deadlines, but when we are planning content for three months out, I don’t even know if I’m going to be the same person in three months! I’m inspired by the moment – will I even like pumpkin spice? Not to mention finding a Christmas sweater in August (the answer is always Amazon). Also, I’m still getting used to corporate lingo. It took me two years to learn that the phrase is “flesh it out” not “flush it out.” And don’t get me started on SEO, KPI and GOLY. What?
What is one thing you wish you had known before starting your career in retail?
I wish I knew how accessible retail nutrition services are. So often when I meet with customers, they can’t believe my role exists. Or that it’s free. I know not all retailers offer free services, but I feel super proud that Giant has made such a commitment to the health of our community and associates. That has been one of the most enjoyable parts of my job – connecting with customers who would have a hard time accessing nutrition services elsewhere.
Has there been anything specific that has held you back?
I’m a big-time introvert and quite shy so this job has certainly pushed and expanded the boundaries of my comfort zone. I remember the first time I filmed a video for this job, and I had to redo it nearly twenty times because I was being too reserved. Now I’m out here filming TikToks on a daily basis! So, while I have found the extroverted nature of this job a challenge, it has certainly made me a better dietitian, better presenter, and a better team member. But I still count myself as an introvert!
In a similar vein, has there been anything specific that help you moved forward in your role?
The team here is incredible. I have always loved being part of a team as it is nice to feel less alone and supported. The Healthy Living Team at Giant has been so supportive and helpful. When we work collaboratively it makes us all better! I have so many great mentors like Mandy Katz and Lisa Coleman who help guide me – to tell me when something needs “MORE Angela,” to slow me down when I’m “nutritioning too hard,” or to give me a simple “it’s not a big deal” when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I get to be my authentic self (even if its shy or quirky) and to explore what speaks to me and my aspirations (like sustainability and craft beer).
Bio: Angela Parreco RD, LDN received her BS in Dietetics from University of Maryland and is currently pursuing her MS in Nutrition. She is a member of the Healthy Living Team at Giant Food. As someone who does not love cooking, she likes to keep it simple but nutritious in the kitchen. And she loves helping others simplify their approach to healthy living. Angela is a self-described cliché millennial who loves avocado toast, craft beer, books. and cats. She is part of the Healthy Living Team’s TikTok channel. Give them a follow @healthylivingbygiant..