Pooja Mansukhani is the Registered Dietitian and Food Safety Officer at KitchenMate. Pooja’s love of food and nutrients is palpable and she immerses herself in several activities centred on her passions.
Q: What is your philosophy on nutrition?
A: Good nutrition should not only nurture the inside of the body, it should also be reflected in one’s overall mood and energy levels. I am continually amazed and inspired by the way the human body adapts and recovers when exposed to various nutrition and exercise stimuli. I look at food in 2 ways- as a means to play, experiment, socialize, celebrate and enjoy. I also see it as fuel for my workouts and to enable me work on a bunch of different projects and pull some long workdays during the week.
Q: When did you first become interested in nutrition?
A: Food, nutrition, and fitness were always a personal interest of mine but I was not aware that my interest could transform into a career until I met a registered dietitian while studying Economics at the University of Waterloo.
Q: How did you become a Dietitian?
Immediately after graduating I pursued a Nutrition and Food degree at Ryerson University followed by a one year practicum with Aramark Canada at various hospitals, universities, and a public health unit. I've been working as a registered dietitian for the last 4.5 years and I tend to gravitate towards innovative projects that are inspired by creating different outcomes for our future, beyond what we think is possible.
In 2016 Pooja received a Member Recognition Award in the category of Innovation from Dietitians of Canada.
Q: How did you come to join KitchenMate?
I was introduced to KitchenMate in 2017 while working in my former job at the University of Toronto and I joined the team immediately as a consultant! I knew that KitchenMate would be a game-changer in food provision, and 2 years later that belief has only strengthened.
Q: What is your favourite KitchenMate meal?
Warm Chicken Thai Salad
Q: What's your day to day like?
I am constantly toggling between directing the company's nutrition initiatives (recipe development, labelling, communications, etc.) and managing the food safety of our entire supply chain. Outside of KitchenMate I am a year-round instructor at Ryerson University in the School of Nutrition, and I have a private practice in which I work with clients to help them feel their best physically, mentally, and emotionally. I also teach spin classes in Toronto.
Q: Do you follow any diets?
I enjoy learning about different diets and ways of eating and this has led to experimenting with vegan, gluten-free, raw, paleo, Whole30, and ketogenic plans to better understand them and help people who follow them. I don't subscribe to any particular diets long-term, incorporating a combination of whole plant and animal foods with a focus on a variety of foods. A varied diet means that I can avoid getting hung up on specific vitamins and minerals.
I am also interested in local food and sustainability and I've biked my way through southern Ontario for ten days visiting and working on farms as part of a ‘Pedal to Plate’ bike tour a few years ago.
Q: What do you eat for breakfast?!
I enjoy cooking but I'm a minimalist in the kitchen and I'm always on the lookout for simple and nutritious recipes. One of my favourite quick breakfasts is a mix of coconut milk, protein powder, chia seeds, nuts and fruits that I prepare the night before--and no matter what--I always have a green vegetable on the side.
Yes, you read that correctly, vegetables for breakfast is one of Pooja's tips for feeling great throughout the day, but if that’s not your thing, there are alternatives!
Pooja’s favourite things about working at KitchenMate:
- Not having to prepare lunch all the time
- Working with a team of engineers who have an entirely different way of looking at problems, and a Chef who has the ability to make healthy ingredients taste awesome
- Making life simpler for KitchenMate users
- Creating a different future of food
Pooja gives back to her profession through executive and board positions on the Ontario Home Economics Association, Dietitians of Canada Sport Nutrition Network, and the Accreditation Council. She is also completing her second year of a diploma in Sport Nutrition through the International Olympic Committee.