I’m Barbara Spalding, food writer, second career registered dietitian nutritionist, wife, mother, daughter and friend.
I created Second Act Kitchen for people who want delicious recipes and down-to-earth science-based nutrition information and guidance about the foods they consume, whether prepared at home or purchased from a restaurant or a shop, every day of the week.
I believe food should be easy to prepare and enjoyed with family, friends, and great conversation.
Cooking homemade healthy meals doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult.
Over the years, I’ve learned how to shortcut complicated recipes so creating a delicious healthy meal isn’t labor intensive and doesn’t leave you with a stack of dirty dishes.
When my kids were young, I was a busy working mom and I had to learn ways to keep the family fed while balancing my other responsibilities. For a while I was a political risk underwriter at a major insurance company and then I was an entrepreneur and ran my own business as an insurance broker and consultant. We lived the frantic happy lifestyle that is so common among young families.
While serving good food was important to me, the reality is cooking from scratch can take some time. Over the years, however, I’ve figured out that it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. It is a skill you can learn and enjoy, and it can help you feel good about the food choices you are making.
Enjoying a nice meal with friends or family is one of the great pleasures of life.
About 10 years ago I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take my career in a new direction that allowed me to pursue my passion for food and cooking.
I started by taking culinary classes at a local community college – where I studied the techniques of Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and other masters of the culinary world. During this training I discovered the field of nutrition which allows me to combine the use of my science-based nutrition training with my love of food and the culinary arts. I decided to pursue a career as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).
I had found my Second Act.
Even though I was at first a little intimidated by the courses required in order to become an RDN: Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Systems Physiology, just to name a few; and my classmates were freshly graduated from high school, I pressed on.
It took me eight years to navigate my way through the dietetics coursework and dietetic internship. I earned both a second BS and a MS in nutritional sciences from Rutgers University – one of our country’s premier public research universities.
I also completed a rigorous 1200 hour clinical dietetic internship which included nearly a year of supervised training in hospitals, clinics, community organizations, and public health programs. After passing the RD exam, I finally became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and was able to begin my new career and pursue my passion.
I’m on a mission to share everything I’ve learned with you about food, recipes, and nutrition so you can relax and enjoy your meals while living a vibrant life.
Whether you are also in your Second Act, are making plans for your Second Act, or have a while to go before you reach your Second Act, I hope you’ll help me build a community where we can have honest conversations about food and nutrition; a place where we can try new flavors, inspire one another, share recipes, untangle dinnertime, and have a positive impact on our lives!