Owner, Balanced Pantry, LLC
Hey there! I’m Jessica Levings, a registered dietitian (RD) with over 10 years’ experience developing science-based nutrition communications. I was born and raised in Florida and after an 8-year stint in Atlanta we are back in the Sunshine State. If you’ve visited this site before, you may have noticed that Balanced Pantry looks a little different these days. As we all know, life has a way of taking us in a direction that we didn’t originally anticipate for ourselves, which is what happened with me. I started Balanced Pantry in April of 2016 with the goal of helping clients with food and menu labeling and recipe analysis. However, my self-employed husband was constantly asking for my help with his business. Luckily, we have skills that complement one another’s: when I was lost creating a business plan he was right there to help me, and when he needed marketing and communications for his real estate business he came to me. The problem? At first, this was really taking away from the time I needed to focus on my own totally unrelated business, but I didn’t want to say no when he was coming to me for help. While our respective real estate and nutrition businesses were not related, it made me think that if somehow they were, I could justify the time I spent working on his projects while also helping our bottom line. At first, I thought this was impossible. I mean nutrition and real estate have seemingly nothing to do with one another! But then, I started thinking about it and after a few long, contemplative runs, I realized these two things are more related than they seem. Both are very personal decisions that have a huge impact on our quality of life. Both require an initial investment, and both can have large returns when the capital is managed well. So what did I do? Well, first I had a big ole’ glass of wine because the thought of changing my entire business model was daunting to me. But then, I got my real estate license, I emailed by amazing web guy with a ridiculously long list of changes that I needed on my website, and I developed my new elevator speech.
For starters, we help consumers Home in on Health by providing not only science-based information, but helpful and easily understandable information (when I was working for the government it was the “helpful” and “easily understandable” part they seemed to struggle with!). My Mother-in-Law, Father-in-Law, Mom and Dad all recently retired and my Dad of all people (who has never shown an interest in nutrition and who I’m not even sure knows what I do for a living) made a comment to me one day about how, now that he’s retired and his wife is still working he’s doing the grocery shopping but he doesn’t know what to buy. In true parent style, he wasn’t asking for my advice as a professional, he was merely chatting about a challenge he was facing. I thought a lot about these comments from my Dad and started looking into the available (and credible) nutrition-related resources tailored for the unique life-stage of adults in the their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Did I find a lot? No! Basically, if you’re not a family or Millennial there aren’t many great nutrition-related resources for you popping up on the first page of a Google search. While I didn’t find much information, I did find the inspiration for my new focus area, which also coincides well with a real estate development plan we’re working on geared toward recent retirees. So, there you have it! The new and improved Balanced Pantry helps readers Home in on Health while allowing me the time to do some related real estate work with my husband!
In my free time I enjoy running, writing, watching Gator football, fishing, traveling, taking care of our new baby boy, and spending time with my family and friends. If I’m not at home or work I can usually be found shopping for food and cooking meals with my two young girls who love to “help” me in the kitchen.
Well, now that you’ve gotten to know me, I’d love to get to know you! If you have a topic you’d like to know more about, or a story you’d like to share please feel free to contact me! I love hearing from my readers and getting to know you.
Having worked in both public health and the food industry, Jessica understands how to marry the priorities of diverse stakeholders. Before launching Balanced Pantry, Jessica worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for nearly seven years, focusing on sodium reduction in the food supply and strengthening public-private collaborations, primarily with the food industry. With a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition from the University of Florida, and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from Georgia State University, Jessica is well-equipped to develop and share science-based information on nutrition and exercise. In 2017 Jessica also became a Realtor. In 2018 she earned her Seniors Real Estate Specialist designation and was awarded 2018 Rookie of the Year by the West Volusia Association of Realtors (WVAR). She is also a member of the WVAR Circle of Excellence. Jessica is an active volunteer with Volusia County Girls on the Run and is the 2018-2019 President of the Central Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.