Joy Bauer, RD, is constantly opening up to people about what she eats (and what you should).
In addition to being a regular on The Today Show, Bauer says she’s also the neighborhood cook (and food whisperer), the lunch packer, and the snack maker (she recently launched a snack delivery service). And when she goes food shopping, everyone pays attention. “When I go to the grocery store, people are peeking into my cart,” she says.
Now, she’s literally opening up her refrigerator to you.
Bauer, who’s based outside New York City, in Westchester, shares the fridge with her husband and three kids (ages 19, 17, and 14) and doesn’t follow a super-strict healthy mantra. “I go out of my way to eat healthy 90 percent of the time, the other 10 percent of the time gives me a little wiggle room,” she says. She uses that 10 percent to indulge in things like red wine and chocolate—and doesn’t claim to be perfect by any means.
Here’s how she balances Greek yogurt with good wine, uses quinoa to make parfaits, and more. —Molly Gallagher
Do you get asked a lot about what you eat or find people looking at your cart at the grocery store? All of the time. Everybody wants to know. They also want to know what I’m cooking. I used to make play dates for my kids, and parents would always want to come in and look inside my pantry.
But when people are looking at my cart at the store, it doesn’t put pressure on me. I feel that I buy such smart stuff. I buy a lot of whole foods—fresh fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole wheat pasta, so if I throw a container of ice cream in or pick up some cookies—I feel comfortable because a majority of it is so darn good for you.
We wish we could go to the store with you! How often do you cook? During the week, I’m gone in the mornings for Today. A lot of time, I’m not here for breakfast, so dinner is really important to me. I do try to cook five nights a week and pack lunches.
For dinner, I love to experiment with vegetarian recipes. I just made a good ratatouille lentil stew and roasted eggplant parmesan. My kids love turkey corn chili and chicken lettuce wraps, and I do all sorts of things with turkey burgers, like filling them with spinach or portobello mushrooms. With the red bell peppers—I cut them up into sticks for my kids’ lunches. I’ll also use them to make a shrimp stir fry for dinner, with broccoli.
Everybody is constantly coming over to my house, too. I live in a development with my sister, cousin, brother, and their families. Once a week, at least, they all come to my house for a dinner or brunch (it’s 30+ people). I love that—it’s when I try out all my new recipes.
You’re like the neighborhood chef! You have lots of milk and dairy. What do use them for? We have all kinds of milk—almond, coconut, and skim. I don’t drink milk straight, but I’ll use any of them in my cereal and smoothies. I like cottage cheese plain. I add shakes of ground cinnamon and use apples as dippers.
I do everything with Greek yogurt. Sometimes I’ll make quinoa parfaits. I’ll layer it with Greek yogurt and chopped fruit. One thing I love to do is make pumpkin pudding. I mix 100 percent canned pumpkin puree, with nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, a shake of nutmeg or ground cinnamon, and sprinkle on some toasted pecans. It’s like eating pumpkin pie.
Um, yum! What about the condiments and hot sauce. How do you use those? I love hot sauce. I find that a lot of different sauces have different flavors. All of my kids have followed suit. We like Frank’s on our air-popped popcorn, we like Sriracha on omelets, and I like this new one from Hawaii in my chicken salad. We love the heat. We claim we are connoisseurs.
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