My Story and Healthy Living Philosophy
Life is a journey, and I’ve had one heck of a ride. I started my career in fitness and nutrition at Gold’s Gym back in 1996. My very first job out of college was helping fitness guru’s reach their personal body composition goals. I was thrilled to be using my nutrition degree to do good. I worked as a fitness instructor and nutritionist, but I also loved working out myself.
Back then, I had endless hours to get creative in the kitchen, workout, workout again if I wanted, study, travel, and all of the other wonderful things that come without the full-time job of parenting. I lived in the gym and in my kitchen, and I love it. I refer to this time as my before kids life.
Fast-forward to today. A lot’s happened between those years and now. I got married and delivery critically ill premature twins. I stopped working out of necessity and learned more than I ever wanted to know about NICU, intensive care, lung disease, and eating issues. I went on to deliver my full-term, healthy daughter, went back to work, got divorced, started a private practice and here I am. I have incredible memories of that time – some total highs, and lots of lows. Through it all, I kept some very important fundamentals of healthy living going – I chose to eat nourishing foods, I got some sort-of activity daily, I drank loads of water, and I tried as hard as I could to keep a positive attitude. It wasn’t easy.
I have my BS degree in nutrition, my MS in wellness and performance, I’m board certified in sports nutrition, have loads of certifications and 21+ years of continuing education (I know I’m a nerd.) But, it’s not my degrees alone that make me a food, fitness and nutrition expert. It’s my experience – my life – that helped me master living healthy on the go.
For years, I’ve devoted my time to helping young athletes and their families fuel for proper growth, development and sports performance. That lead to the publication of my first book, Fueling Young Athletes (Human Kinetics, 2017.) I also work with individuals that struggle with body composition acceptance and disordered eating.
Today, the science of food, nutrition, and fitness is all tangled up in a web mixed with fads and myths – that makes it difficult to determine what’s real and what’s not. I served as a national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics for 8 years, doing my part to separate the facts from fiction. My experience and honest work ethic in the media also contributed to my rock-solid reputation as a trusted source of food, fitness and nutrition information. Today, I use my unique combination of education, training, and experience to counsel, communicate and write fun, relatable science-based messages for clients and consumers.
There is something very valuable that comes with age – it’s called relatability. In my, before I had kids life, my approach and counseling were quite different. I tried to put myself in the place of my busy clients, but looking back, I really didn’t get it. I used to encourage people to exercise in the morning before the day started and things got in the way. When they would share their morning, I’d just encourage them to wake up earlier. Sounds easy enough. Three kids, a career, homework, extra-curricular activities, therapy, travel and trying to live a fun life later – I get it. I still think it’s important to prioritize activity, but I’m much more sensitive to what morning look like for many families. Now, I help clients find other times that could work – like a lunch break, or while kids are at sports practice.
I’m more sensitive to something else now, too. Not everyone has the resources to hire help, or the ability to go to an appointment. That’s why, I’m devoted to providing free resources for you, on my blog. There, I share articles that help you understand food, nutrition, and fitness, as well as simple, healthy recipes that don’t have you spending hours in the kitchen.
My entire adult life has been centered around food, fitness, and nutrition. When I’m not working one-on-one with a client, creating new recipes in my kitchen or helping bring brands to life, I’m working behind the scenes as a food, fitness and nutrition consultant – helping companies and organizations bring evidence-based nutrition practices to their business. You can also find me running my kids around from one activity to the next, hiking, or traveling to somewhere I’ve never been.
My philosophy on healthy living is simple. You only get one life – it should be fun and you should feel good living it. It’s very simple, actually. Healthy living isn’t one thing, or even two – it’s a collection of healthy habits that promote your health, bring you joy and make you feel good. These habits and choices are who you are. It’s your lifestyle.
I Teach and Promote Six Pillars of Healthy Living
- Fun – Are you doing things that bring you joy? What do you enjoy?
- Adequate sleep – How many hours of quality sleep do you get?
- Nourishing foods – Are you incorporating foods that promote health and well-being into your eating plan?
- Activity – Are you choosing activities that you love? What activities do you enjoy? Are you a creature of habit or do you prefer new activities and challenges?
- Water – Are you providing your cells the hydration they need to work well?
- Positivity or Emotional Healthy – Do you focus all of your energy on positive thoughts that drive you toward a healthy lifestyle?
Here’s the thing – these six pillars are teammates. They can’t survive alone; they work together, resulting in a healthy lifestyle. The pillars are the same for everyone, but the specific foods or activities within them are not. That’s because what brings one person joy, might be torture for another. You may choose yoga as your activity of choice, while I prefer running. You might follow a plant-based diet, while I love beef. It’s important to incorporate each pillar into your life, and identify the specifics of each under that work for you.
A fun life, a fit body, and flavorful food can co-exist – as long as you get enough sleep and water and focus on the positive.
Heather Mangieri, MS, RDN, CSSD, is a nationally recognized expert in Nutrition, Wellness & Human Performance, a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, a board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics and the author of Fueling Young Athletes (Human Kinetics, 2017.) She has over 21 years of professional experience working in the areas of Healthy Living/Wellness, Sports Nutrition/Adolescent Sports Nutrition, Weight Management & Disordered Eating. Her company, Heather Mangieri Nutrition provides food, fitness and nutrition consulting and communication services for organizations, companies and individual clients.
Heather is passionate about translating nutrition science into practical messages that are easy to understand and resonate with consumers. She served as a national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics for 8 years and built a solid reputation as a trusted source of food, fitness and nutrition information. She’s been quoted in hundreds of national and local publications, including TV, radio, print and online. Heather uses her unique combination of training and experience in three areas- nutrition science, traditional and social media communications, and technical/creative writing- to share fun, relatable science-based messages when speaking, writing and engaging with her social media followers. She works with the media and industry to create and deliver messages on products and brands that she believes support a healthy lifestyle.
She resides in Pittsburgh with her three children.
My Book on Fueling Young Athletes
Learn how to put a healthy nutrition plan into practice for your high school athlete.
In Fueling Young Athletes, Heather Mangieri — a sports dietitian and mother of three active adolescents — breaks down the nutrition needs of young athletes and explains what the latest research suggests. You’ll analyze current eating habits and preferences and how and where these can be improved. You’ll learn how healthier meals and snacks can equate to improved performance while still being convenient and appetizing.
Fueling Young Athletes addresses the issues that families and athletes most often face, such as late-night practices, inconvenient school lunchtimes, demanding tournament schedules and travel leagues, and lack of sleep. And, you’ll find a collection of easy recipes for smoothies and sports drinks!