Iowa Alumni Magazine | June 2009 | People

McDietitian: Cindy Goody

By Tina Owen
Cindy Goody works with one of the biggest fast food chains in the world to promote healthy, balanced diets.

Ask Cindy Goody how she feels about her career, and she could well say, "I'm lovin' it."

Goody, 91DI, 00PhD, 08MBA, is director of nutrition for McDonald's USA, purveyor of millions of McNuggets, McMuffins, and more. Although some people might find the concept of a fast food dietitian incongruous, Goody points out that Happy Meals have a place in a well-balanced diet. "All foods fit into a balanced, healthy lifestyle," she says, adding that McDonald's menu variety and ingredient information help patrons make informed food and beverage choices.

Goody's work under the Golden Arches represents her latest efforts to educate people about the importance of balanced eating. "Nutrition is the science of how our bodies use food to contribute to health," she explains. "As a registered dietitian, I have an opportunity to translate that science so that consumers can use it to improve their health and well-being."

Growing up in Iowa during the 1980s farm crisis, Goody made a pragmatic decision to pursue an undergraduate degree in nutrition from Iowa State University. "I knew that as long as people had to eat, I'd have a job," she says.

Her safe career choice led to a variety of opportunities, including working as a retail and clinical dietitian for Hy-Vee Foods, as an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Cincinnati, and as a clinical dietitian at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City. She even volunteered with the Peace Corps in Guatemala.

Encouraged by her brother, Allen Goody, 02MBA, Goody decided to pursue an M.B.A. at the UI. Soon after, in 2008, she joined McDonald's, where she enjoys combining her expertise in nutrition and business to help develop, brand, and market new products.

Although she now lives in Chicago and works for one of the world's most famous corporations, Goody hasn't forgotten her roots. Grateful for the opportunities afforded by her UI education, she says, "I'll always be an Iowa girl."