Registered dietician is a foodie with an agenda


Lindsay Haas is on a mission to help everyone live a healthy life. And eat more vegetables.

“I have always been obsessed with food and cooking, and fell in love with the power of nutrition on health. Dietetics has been the perfect fit to combine my passion for food and science,” said Haas, a registered dietitian and nutrition support specialist with Michigan Dining.

Her nutrition professor, Deb Lown at Grand Valley State University, encouraged her to get a master’s degree in public health at the University of Michigan, where she opted to stay. “Had she not opened my eyes to the possibilities of a dietitian career, I’m not sure that I would be where I’m at right now,” she said.

Registered dietitian and nutrition support specialist with Michigan Dining. (Photo by Scott C. Soderberg)

Haas gains inspiration from the people closest to her on and off campus. At first, her husband, James, wasn’t too keen on eating, or even enjoying, vegetables. After serving him some of her delicious roasted Brussels sprouts, she got him hooked. He’s not the only person she’s won over with produce.

roasted Brussels sprouts

If you’re wondering how to win over hearts with vegetables, here’s Haas’ recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts:

• Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash and slice Brussels sprouts. 

• Toss in generous amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Throw in a few whole cloves of garlic. Spread Brussels sprouts and garlic in one layer on a sheet tray.

• Roast for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. 

• Flip every seven minutes or so for proper browning. For an extra boost of flavor, add a little sprinkle of crushed pepper flakes to the Brussels sprouts before roasting.

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She effectively persuades children to eat their vegetables, even without resorting to food songs or a banana costume. Haas is a favorite speaker for the Ann Arbor-based Agrarian Adventure, a nonprofit organization that works with schools to teach kids about food, health, community and agriculture.

Her last session on nutrition and food sustainability was with two second-grade classes at Haisley Elementary School. She passed out samples of vegetables in a rainbow of colors and got them to take a bite.

“It was so much fun watching their reaction to eating purple cabbage and radishes. I take, ‘It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be,’ as a big success,” Haas said.

Parents of college-aged children also can rest assured that Haas is a good influence. She counsels students with allergies and food sensitivities, who need help planning meals and choosing appropriate dishes from Michigan Dining menus made available on websites and mobile apps.

She also is responsible for maintaining the ingredient and recipe database that informs students about food offered in campus dining halls, retail stores and catered events. The database, with 10,000 recipes using 40,000 ingredients, is utilized by U-M chefs who prepare a daily variety of dishes, including gluten-free, halal, vegan and vegetarian.

Next, Haas is taking her food wisdom to a national level through a non-profit organization called Food Allergy Research and Education. She and College Outreach Manager Kristi Grim are leading a project to create safety guidelines for food allergies in higher education. The outcomes are customizable best practices, training for dining staff, student brochures and other resources to create health-related social groups on nationwide campuses.


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