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Nutrition at Deerfield: Feature on Ms. Mancari
Emi Takegami '25 Staff Writer and Victoria Lee '25 Staff Writer
November 18, 2021

At Deerfield, many students find themselves holding full control over their diets for the first time. Ensuring that each student has the resources to maintain a healthy diet and a healthy relationship with food is a complex task, Nutritional Education Therapist Karyn Mancari is the backbone of it all. 

Credit: Anne Duong

Ms. Mancari, a Registered Dietitian, holds a Bachelor’s degree in both Biology and Nutrition, a Post Baccalaureate, and a Master’s degree in Applied Nutrition. A minor in communications has allowed her to share her extensive knowledge in a school environment. Not only has Ms. Mancari made a difference in the classroom by sharing her knowledge of healthy eating habits with several health classes, but she also has hospital clinical experience. Stationed in the Health Center two days a week and open to virtual meetings, she is eager to help students with their mental and physical health.

To ensure many aspects of student health are covered in her work, Ms. Mancari collaborates with a wide range of departments. For instance, she works with the Health Center nurses in order to create an environment where students with food allergies feel safe and cared for; she also assists athletic coaches in ensuring that athletes intake the correct nutrition for their performance and general wellbeing. Moreover, she works with Director of Food Services Michael McCarthy to come up with the Dining Hall menu. 

In past issues of the Scroll, Ms. Mancari organized a nutrition column titled “Balanced Bites with Karyn Mancari.” In the column, she shared advice for maintaining a healthy diet, words of encouragement, and other valuable insights to both educate and energize students.

Ms. Mancari said, “I’m a huge proponent of intuitive eating and it takes a while to master that even as an adult, but I think being okay with screwing up [is important]. I think everyone’s so afraid of, ‘If I allow myself to have desserts, I’m going to overeat them, and I’m gonna go crazy.’ And that’s okay. You will have to learn how to listen to your body, and it takes a little bit of time, but it does happen.” 

One of Ms. Mancari’s proudest achievements has been her role in helping students bounce back from low points in both their mental and physical health. By spending one-on-one time with students, Ms. Mancari has been able to engage in personalized conversations with students “relating to their individual relationships and ideas of food or nutrition.” She also has been able to “educate students on how to manage and meet their personal nutritional needs on campus.”

Moving forward, Ms. Mancari wishes to see the community treat eating as a priority rather than a necessity in the way that eating habits are formed. She described Deerfield’s current culture around eating by saying, “I feel like it’s ‘all or nothing and very go, go, go!’ with fitness and nutrition. I think there’s a lot more I would love to see — a lot more flexibility and people enjoying food a little bit more and understanding what their needs really are.” 

At the end of the day, the students are at the heart of Ms. Mancari’s work and she is open to addressing any additional inquiries students may have regarding disordered eating and other mental health issues connected to food, just like she was able to do during COVID times by working one-on-one with students to help them recover from disordered eating.