Meet Loryn Hartbarger

Meet Loryn Hartbarger
Friday, November 19, 2021

Meet Loryn Hartbarger, UNC Charlotte’s campus dietitian. Learn more about her passion for helping students become more knowledgeable about food and nutrition and her tips for healthy eating during the holiday season. 

Describe your role at UNC Charlotte.

My job as the campus dietitian is to be a resource to the dining services team and students for any nutritional questions or support. Some of my favorite parts of my job are hosting teaching kitchens in the demo kitchen. They’re free classes for students to learn cooking skills and gain nutritional knowledge! Another highlight of my job is to help students with food allergies navigate the dining halls safely and conduct food allergy training with all associates in our dining halls and retail locations. 

What is your favorite thing about being at UNC Charlotte?

My favorite part of being at UNC Charlotte is the nostalgia I feel here on campus, having attended UNC Charlotte for two years during my undergraduate degree. UNC Charlotte is so beautiful, especially in the fall, and I love how scenic my walks around campus are!

What is your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of my job is connecting with students and helping them learn more about food and nutrition. I am able to connect with students at teaching kitchen events, hosting events giving out tons of free samples and through meetings with students who have food allergies. 

What’s something about your job that most people don’t know?

Some people might not know that I can host dietetic interns. To become a registered dietitian, students must earn a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and then complete an accredited internship program before they can sit for their registered dietitian exam. Dietetic internship programs are intensive and help students get real-world insight into the dietetic profession. During the internship, students will complete rounds in clinical, foodservice and community rotations. I actually completed my food service rotation here at UNC Charlotte with the former registered dietitian last year. So, it has been so exciting for me to be able to host interns myself this year and help them grow into future amazing dietitians. I currently have a dietetic intern with me now, Hailee Willis, from Illinois State University’s Dietetic Internship. 

What is something you’re most excited about for the fall semester?

I was most excited about our teaching kitchen on Friday, Nov.12. We made caramel-covered apple bites with a variety of festive toppings. Students had the opportunity to create their own personalized caramel apple bites.

When you’re not on campus, what are some things you do in your free time?

I love walking my 4-year-old dachshund and Chihuahua mixed dog on my local greenway, getting creative in the kitchen and listening to true crime podcasts! 

What’s a place on campus you think everyone should visit?

Check out our Farmer’s Market Selection in both the Market on Craver and SoVi Market & Bakery! You can purchase local honey, nut and fruit butters and so much more! These are great Christmas gifts for family and friends. My favorite item at our Farmers Market is the chocolate peanut butter. 

What piece of advice would you give a new student?

Branch out! Expand your friend group and try to meet people with different interests and views. Try foods in the dining halls that you have never had before. Join all the clubs that sound interesting to you. Find professionals in the field you want to work in and start to build connections to begin your professional network. College is a great time to experiment and find yourself. Take advantage of that!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, what healthy eating habits or tips can you share with us for the holidays?

Use the MyPlate guide to create your plate: load half your plate up with delicious Thanksgiving vegetables; one-fourth of your plate with a protein source like turkey, ham, lentils or tofu; and the last fourth of your plate with a whole grain carbohydrate source like sweet potatoes or cranberry sauce. 

Create your own healthy side to contribute to the Thanksgiving meal. Not only will your friends and family be impressed, but you will know that there is a healthy option for your plate! Some examples of healthy and easy sides are: 

  • Quinoa with beets, butternut squash and feta cheese
  • Harvest salad with kale, walnuts, dried cranberries, goat cheese, lemon juice and olive oil 
  • A charcuterie board with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-grain crackers and dips
  • Mashed sweet potato casserole with sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, candied walnuts, topped with whip cream
  • Steamed green beans with sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil and sea salt 

Opt for healthier fats to cook with such as olive oil rather than saturated fats like lard.

Go on a family walk after your big Thanksgiving meal, enjoy nature, bond with your family and start a new holiday tradition.

Use smaller dishware like plates and bowls so that you can better control portion sizes. Remember: you can always go back and get more if you are still hungry. 

Enjoy the time with your family and the good foods that you don’t get to eat often. Remove any guilt you may have surrounding eating over the holidays. Try your best to make healthy choices but keep in mind that this is a time to celebrate and indulge!