Ashley Danielson: Hy-Vee Dietitian


Des Moines Mom recognizes that moms wear a lot of hats. You are a mom, wife, friend, diaper changer, nose wiper, meal planner, lost toy finder, the list goes on and on!

This summer we are thrilled to feature some local moms who are thinking outside the box and making a difference in our community through the businesses they own, organizations they are involved with, and work they do. Check out the rest of the series and read profiles from previous years here.

Ashley Danielson is mom to two girls and a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee. She loves helping others live happy, healthy lives through nutrition. 

danielson family Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m a Des Moines native! I grew up in West Des Moines, and currently live in Urbandale with my husband Jeff, daughters Veda (2) and Estelle (2 months) and our dog, Laila. My husband is my absolute best friend and rock. We have been married for five years and it has been an absolute joy growing our family. We are slowly adapting to having two little ones at home; teamwork is a total must at this stage and I am so happy I get to do life with him.

What do you consider the biggest challenge of motherhood to be? Biggest joy? 

Motherhood hands you so many feelings. About a month after Veda was born, I remember telling my husband that although I was so enjoying a new baby, I felt like a piece of me had completely disappeared. Of course, I was extremely sleep deprived, COVID had just hit, and we were new parents, so there were a lot of emotions going on. I wanted to be a great mom, wife, hard worker, continue with my physical activity and more; this is all possible but I had to create a new normal for myself. Once I figured that out (slight hint that it doesn’t happen overnight), I felt like the weight lifted quite a bit. 

The joys of being a Mama come every day! The love I have for our girls is never-ending. It is so fun watching them grow, learn, and love their little hearts out. I’m always in awe as to what we have created. The playtime, the kisses and hugs, the laughs, and even the sleep deprivation. It is truly amazing and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. 

Have you always wanted to be a dietitian? Why did you choose this profession?

This is actually my second career. I started off in the human resources world and was a healthcare recruiter for quite a while. In 2012, I traveled to India and came back with a whole new outlook on life; I decided to follow my passion of health and wellness and applied to go back to school to be a Dietitian. In 2017, I graduated, got married the next weekend, and then started my dietetic internship three weeks later. I was offered a role with Hy-Vee before I took my boards and have been with Hy-Vee since then. Becoming a dietitian isn’t easy – especially as a second career. My non-traditional path was 100% worth it and I’m so glad that I followed my gut.

What’s the best part about your job?

So many things! Educating people about real nutrition is imperative, especially since Dr. Google is so easy to access these days. Teaching is fun for me, because I can be as creative as I want. I love working with our media outlets whether it is being on the news or creating social media content for our team. The other piece of working with clients is seeing that light that continues to shine bright as they make changes and learn more about themselves. Helping them create those small changes includes what they eat, but also helping them understand the correlation between food choices and sleep, stress level, habits, and more. Hearing that people feel so much better, or that they were able to stop one of their medications with their new habits is always a great feeling. 

What advice do you have for working moms?

Be YOU, and figure out what you need to thrive in the working world. I had a really hard time going back to work after having Veda, but I quickly realized that getting back into a routine was so helpful for me. Motivation from a colleague encouraged me that my family can see me as a Mama AND as a Dietitian, doing what I do best! Being a working Mama is something that helps me be the best version I can be, as it gives me time away to focus on making a difference. Then, our family time together is so much sweeter.

What do you love about raising a family in Des Moines? 

Des Moines has changed so much throughout growing up and now being a true resident with my family. I love that we can spend time away from the busy-ness with some peace and quiet, but if we want to head to a restaurant downtown, enjoy an event, or hop on a bike trail, we can do that within 20 minutes. I’ve travelled to multiple areas of the country and the world; as much as I love experiencing new things and learning different cultures, it always feels good to come home.

Quick Takes

Favorite local restaurant: Lucca

Best place to take kids: Rusty Stars Alpacas (Winterset, IA)

Favorite summer activity: Pool time, and just generally being outside! 

What’s the last show you watched, thing you listened to, or book you read? Typically this question is hard for me, but I’m currently on maternity leave so it’s a bit easier to answer! We just finished watching Ozark, and I’m currently watching Queen of the South. 

I love to read, and I typically read a couple of books at a time based on different interests. I am currently reading Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown. I am also re-reading Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols, and Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki. Don’t be jealous. 

How/where do you relax? I head to the yoga studio! I started yoga over ten years ago when I had some major stress in my life and I continue to use it as much as possible. Power Life is the absolute best – I am a student and a teacher!

If your life had a hashtag, what would it be? #surviveandconquer

Connect with Ashley: 

Know a Des Moines mom we should feature? Let us know! Email [email protected] with details and we will be in touch.


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