RD Close Up: Kristi Sanders, RD, LD, Retail Dietitian at Hy-Vee
By: Stephanie Schultz, RD Ambassador to the RDBA
Kristi’s role as an in-store retail dietitian at Hy-Vee involves providing personalized nutrition guidance, conducting consultations, and developing wellness programs. Read below as she shares insights on the importance of building relationships (with departments) and effective communication to achieve larger-scale objectives.
Please describe your role at Hy-Vee. How has it changed since the pandemic?
I am a retail dietitian at Hy-Vee, a leading supermarket chain. My role involves:
- Providing nutrition education.
- Conducting one-on-one consultations with customers.
- Hosting healthy cooking classes.
- Developing wellness programs for the community.
Since the pandemic, my role has expanded to include more online resources and virtual programs to ensure customers can access accurate nutrition information and healthy eating tips from the comfort of their homes.
What's the story behind your experience in retail and how you came to work at your retailer?
My interest in retail began while studying dietetics at Kansas State University. A local Hy-Vee dietitian invited my student dietitian group to a private cooking class. Her experience as a retail dietitian sparked my ignition. Years later, I eventually went on to take that very same position. I joined Hy-Vee because of their commitment to promoting health and wellness within their communities; it aligned perfectly with my values.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
The biggest challenge I face is the constant need to stay up to date with the latest nutrition research, trends and product information. The field of nutrition is constantly evolving and it’s crucial to ensure that the information I provide customers is evidence-based and accurate.
What is one thing you wish you had known before starting your career in retail?
One thing I wish I had known before starting my career in retail is the importance of building strong relationships with other departments in the store. Collaboration and effective communication with the pharmacy, bakery, meat department and other teams are essential for achieving larger-scale objectives and promoting the health and wellness messages throughout the store.
Has there been anything specific that helped you move forward in your role?
I have a strong work ethic and a passion for creativity. When I started this role, I was advised that this position “is what I make of it.” So I dove in and started creating with other departments, customers, and community partners. Not being afraid to try new ideas enhanced my effectiveness as a retail dietitian and was appreciated by my team.
Is there a program or initiative that you are most proud of?
One program that I am particularly proud of is our Fast Fit Meals meal pick-up service. It is a convenient and freshly cooked local meal service at our store, where customers can order nutritious and healthy meals tailored to their dietary needs. Each week, customers can browse various delicious menu options, place orders, and pick up their meals at the store. This program saves time and effort in meal preparation and ensures they can access balanced, portion-controlled meals that support their health and wellness goals.
Kristi Sanders, RD, LD is a dedicated and passionate retail dietitian with integrative and functional nutrition expertise. With a strong commitment to empowering individuals to optimize their health through food and lifestyle choices, Kristi combines evidence-based nutrition science with a holistic approach to support overall well-being. Her role as a retail dietitian at Hy-Vee involves providing personalized nutrition guidance, conducting consultations and developing wellness programs. Kristi is dedicated to helping her community achieve optimal health and vitality through the power of food and lifestyle modifications.