Now that I’m working from home , I get to do normal people things like sometimes catch The TODAY Show. While a lot of what’s on the show is fun and informative, I’ve especially come to like the segments with Joy Bauer, the show’s nutrition and diet expert. Joy is always upbeat, her info is spot-on, and she gives really sane and doable weight-loss advice. She’s also the author of multiple New York Times bestsellers , along with serving as the nutritionist for the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre and running one of the largest, most advanced nutrition centers in the country for almost two decades. And if that isn’t enough, she just released her first workout DVD with Acacia that we’ll be reviewing tomorrow!
To find out how she does all this and still stays sane and healthy, we got the opportunity to ask her a few questions! Read on for her reasons for creating a workout DVD, tips on healthy living and what she eats!
An Interview with Registered Dietitian Joy Bauer
FBG: Why did you decide to create a workout DVD?
JB: I wanted to create a workout that was efficient and effective, so you could target and tone your whole body in a short amount of time. And, the workout doesn’t require fancy equipment—you just need a mat and some light hand weights—so you can do it at home in the living room, on the road, almost anywhere. Best of all, it’s easy to catch on and jump right in, so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed about starting a new fitness routine.
FBG: There are so many on the market. How is this one different?
JB: I love this DVD because it’s casual, fun and totally manageable. In the DVD, I’m working out alongside Lisa Wheeler, who is a fabulous, world-renowned trainer. So the DVD is like two girlfriends working out together—chit-chatting and laughing with each other in a relaxed format. People following along at home feel like they’re hanging out with their friends. It’s just fun and the time flies by fast!
FBG: Most people probably know you from your diet and nutrition tips on The TODAY Show. Why cross over into fitness now?
JB: My main mission is to make healthy eating simple and straightforward, and I wanted to carry that same approach into the fitness world. Plus, fitness has always been a huge part of my life. I was a competitive gymnast growing up and practically lived at the gym. I have an undergraduate degree in kinesiology from University of Maryland (Go Terps!). And later, while I was in graduate school studying nutrition at NYU, I made a living as a personal trainer and by teaching aerobics classes at gyms all over Manhattan. Making a fitness DVD was a natural next step for me because exercise and good nutrition go hand-in-hand when it comes to losing weight and getting healthy.
FBG: Between writing books, being on The TODAY Show and running your own company, you’re a busy lady! How do you find time to eat right and work out? Any tips for our readers?
JB: Dinner is probably the most stressful meal because it’s hard to plan ahead when you’re juggling so many responsibilities—but I have a strategy that helps me put healthy, homemade meals on the table on crazy-busy days. I have a standard, go-to list of five simple, fast, healthy dinners that I know I can prepare in 30 minutes or less. I keep all the ingredients for at least two of these meals on hand in my pantry, fridge or freezer at all times. Some of my standards include turkey burgers with frozen vegetables, grilled chicken parmesan, turkey tacos and whole wheat pasta with ground turkey meat sauce. I definitely recommend this strategy for busy families (which is all of us!).When it comes to working out, I’m a huge multitasker! Because exercise is a top priority for me, I find ways to combine my workout with other things on my to-do list. Most days of the week, I hop on the treadmill for at least an hour, and I read new nutrition research articles or take conference calls while I walk (I’m also capable of Blackberrying through an entire workout !). I’ll squeeze in an exercise session whenever I can—in the afternoons if I’m at The TODAY Show studio in the early morning or right after the kids leave for school if I’m not on air that day. If the weather is nice and I have the extra time, I take my workout outdoors to enjoy some fresh air. Aside from my daily walk, I make sure to do 20 minutes of strength training two to three times each week. My two daughters (and my sister Debra, who lives down the block) get a kick out of doing the new exercise DVD with me, so that’s become pretty popular on the weekends! We have a great time and, of course, they love to make fun of me!
FBG: You have a husband and three children. Are they naturally healthy eaters?
JB: The majority of the time, my kids eat very well, and they’re definitely open to trying new, healthy foods. They eat plenty of produce, whole grain cereals and breads. And they definitely enjoy healthy snacks (apple with peanut butter, Greek yogurt, healthy trail mix made with whole grain cereal, baby carrots with hummus, etc.). Of course, they also love some of the not-so-healthy stuff (ahem!). My youngest daughter Ayden loves chicken nuggets, so I’ll make baked chicken tenders (with whole grain breading). All of my kids love pizza, but we make it a more balanced meal by ordering thin-crust with lots of veggie toppings and adding a salad on the side. My son Cole will eat almost anything—I think he came out of the womb loving sardines and spinach! My teenage daughter Jesse is very into eating healthy but is picky and limited with what she likes (salads, lentils, pasta, green beans and ice cream!).
FBG: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
JB: I’m pretty monotonous with breakfast and lunch. Most weekday mornings I’ll make pumpkin pudding by mixing nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt with a dollop of 100 percent pure canned pumpkin. I tend to eat that a lot in the car en route to the show. And, of course, I always have one or two cups of black coffee. And in the green room at The TODAY Show I’ll grab some sliced fruit. I also love vegetable-stuffed egg white omelets on mornings when I have more time. At lunch I usually do a big salad. I typically get mixed greens with tons of vegetables, chickpeas and grilled chicken dressed in balsamic vinaigrette. I’m a nutaholic, so in the afternoon I typically have a few handfuls of almonds or pistachios. I’m also big on apples, hearty vegetable soups, yogurt and reduced-fat cheese. For dinner, I try to cook at home at least five nights a week. I love cooking—it’s a huge stress reliever for me. I always put out a bowl of vegetables (sliced cucumbers, baby carrots, micro-steamed green beans, anything goes) on the kitchen table before dinner, when my kids are hungry and willing to eat just about anything (I call this the witching hour!). For dinner, I serve a lot of chicken or shrimp and veggie stir-fries with brown rice. My family also loves hoisin-glazed salmon with baked or mashed sweet potatoes. No matter what I’m serving, I always add another vegetable, like sautéed spinach or broccoli, on the side (either fresh or frozen, I mix it up). So, dinner typically includes protein, vegetables and then some sort of controlled starch. We don’t do a lot of big pasta entrees, but occasionally we will have pasta with pesto or penne with turkey meat sauce or my low-fat recipe for macaroni and cheese.
FBG: What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
JB: I was in a rock band in both high school (called Eclipse) and college (called The Space Sharks). I played keyboards. Thankfully for our fans, I did not sing!
FBG: What’s the best piece of health advice you’ve ever received?
JB: Best advice I’ve ever received: Don’t try to change/help people who don’t want to be changed/helped (it’s exhausting, frustrating and unrewarding). Best advice I’ve ever given (to fellow RDs): When you’re at a cocktail party and people ask, “What do you do?”…. LIE and say anything other than, “I’m a nutritionist.” Otherwise, they’ll be telling you about their food issues and diet dilemmas for the rest of the evening!