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‘Today’ Show Nutritionist Joy Bauer Dishes On Her Healthy Snickers Hack And The ‘Taco Philosophy’ That Slashes Stress

In a candid and delightful Q & A the dietician shares healthy hacks…and her recipe for joy!

As the nutrition and healthy lifestyle expert for the TODAY show and the host of NBC’s Health + Happiness, registered dietitian Joy Bauer has been sharing her nutritional and health advice to millions of viewers for decades. Beloved for her early morning television appearances, mouth-watering recipes and actionable advice, it makes sense that the 59-year-old mother of three has also written 12 bestselling books and is the exclusive nutritionist for the New York City Ballet. 

Joy Bauer, a former competitive gymnast, began her career at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City as the clinical nutritionist with their neurosurgical team. She went on to teach Anatomy and Physiology and Sports Nutrition at NYU School of Professional Studies. She parlayed her background into a stellar career, including the creation and implementation of “Heart Smart Kids” at Mount Sinai, which is a health program for underprivileged children living in Harlem.  And eventually her bright personality, expansive knowledge and culinary creativity caught the eye of network producers.

Recently she’s added “cover girl” to her impressive resume as the beautiful face gracing the most current issue of our FIRST for Women magazine (on sale now at your local grocery store or available to buy online here), where she gives her nutrition tips, stress-busting secrets and tons of other wonderful advice.

Joy Bauer

She is also launching a new nutrition brand called Joyly that delivers healthy foods (like a yummy protein muffin mix) and a special formulation of multivitamins right to your door. “The whole idea for the Joyly line was from listening to what people want,” enthuses Joy Bauer to FIRST for Women. “My muffin recipes have always been super popular because they are carbo-y and comforting, and mine are the same way but they’re filled with protein and no added sugar at all. I have vanilla mix and a chocolate mix and show you how to turn those two flavors into countless other flavors depending on what you mix in with them.”

We were able to recently sit down with Joy for a quick Q & A and pick her brain on some of her favorite healthy hacks, how she diffuses worry and even what’s made her laugh the most lately. Here, her wonderful wisdom.

FIRST for Women: What is your favorite ‘superfood’ right now?

Joy Bauer: “The word superfood to me means any food that contains health promoting ingredients. Dates are high on my list; they provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants. They keep our engines running smoothly but most importantly from a recipe-creation standpoint, they are naturally sweet so it’s a great way for me to add nutrient rich sweetness without having to add added sugar into smoothies, baked goods…I just blend them right in.

“I also do a lot of clever things with dates. I create a healthy caramel sauce that I then drizzle over apples or bananas…super delicious. I also make a do-it-yourself Snickers bar. I take a pitted date, add a spread of creamy peanut butter, a couple of roasted peanuts, squish it close and dunk the top into melted semi sweet or dark chocolate and a little crust of peanuts. Put in fridge; the chocolate firms. And you’ve got healthy Snickers bars.

Snickers Dates

FFW: What’s your go-to good-for-you substitution?

Joy Bauer: “I love using oats; they’re loaded with fiber. They’re budget-friendly. And the specific fiber they have can also help lower cholesterol levels. You can use them instead of bread crumbs, put in meatballs or meatloaf. I use oats in my baked goods.

“I’m obsessed with my overnight oats now and the reason is because you prep the night before and put in fridge. Then you wake up to the most indulgent, hearty, delicious breakfast. It’s so rich and creamy that I have a banana bread overnight oats that went viral. It’s like you’re eating dessert in the morning.

banana bread overnight oats

“Everyone is talking about plant-based protein and saving the planet so another amazing substitution or add-in would be beans. Beans are great whether they’re canned or dry. They have a great shelf life and I use them to do either half and half with meat to mix into the volume of my tacos or my chili. I even blend them into my brownies and nobody knows they’re getting black beans into my chocolate brownies or cupcakes!”

(Click through to read how Eating *This* Much Fiber Per Day to Automatically Lose Weight — No Diet Required)

FFW: What is your favorite cooking hack?

Joy Bauer: “I have a lot! I make what I call broth cubes. I always have an abundance of fresh herbs from my garden or from the market and there’s nothing more heartbreaking to me than not being able to eat them quick enough. What I’ve learned to do is take them in their prime and know I’m not going to be able to get to them and chop them up finely — it could be parsley, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, dill. I put them in ice cube trays and top them off with broth and freeze them.

“After they’re frozen solid, I transfer to freezer bags and label them to free up space in the freezer. They become these coveted flavor bombs to add into soups, casseroles, stews and I even add them to scrambled eggs. Add a cube or 2 into anything that needs a blast of flavor — without having to add extra sugar or sodium. Plus they have medicinal effects because of their antioxidants, which help your overall health, your brain, your heart. They also alleviate anxiety and ease nausea, among other benefits.” (Click through to learn how to freeze herbs)

FFW: What is your must-have kitchen tool?

Joy Bauer: “My answer could be a bit surprising. I love my onion goggles. It’s hilarious — quite the fashion statement but it prevents my eyes from watering up. I chop a lot of onions. [Laughs]

FFW: You’ve said confidence is like a muscle you have to work on it daily. What do you do to ‘build’ confidence?

Joy Bauer: “When it comes to self confidence for me, it’s a true gift to have a close circle of people to serve as your support network. It could be a person or it could be a group. When you feel shaky, these are the people who help steady your footing. I’m blessed with an amazing family and wonderful friends.

“Besides from wonderful people, there’s nothing more important than being your own cheerleader. What I like to do and I tell people is whenever I need a confidence booster, make a list of things in your life that make you feel proud or give you happiness or give you that warm chocolate chip cookie in your belly feeling. All roads lead back to food with Joy Bauer.

“Another thing I tell myself and others is it’s okay to fall apart sometimes too. I always tell my kids: ‘tacos fall apart and we still love them.’ Remind yourself that it’s okay to occasionally fall apart.”

FFW: How do you reduce your stress levels?

Joy Bauer: “When it comes to reducing stress there are 3 things that help me feel more relaxed. Every night — and I so highly recommend this — I send myself an email and the subject says “To Do.” In the body of the email is a list of everything I want to accomplish the next day. This helps me to sleep better. It sort of erases the noise I have in my head since I know that I’m waking up to this organized checklist of what needs to be done. I never forget to do this each night.

“The second thing is I exercise every day. I walk 4 miles every day and I do it before I start my day. I look at my to-do list and then the walking helps me organize my thoughts and think about what I want to accomplish and prioritize. It’s self-help therapy. It doesn’t have to be at a fast pace and it could even be a 15-minute walk. I do a long lengthy power walk if I have a lot to think about. Or a 5-minute walk. I look at that to-do list I prepared the night before and put on comfortable shoes.

“The last thing whenever I’m feeling stressed, sip on a cup of chamomile tea because chamomile acts as a mild sedative and it really helps to relieve tension and anxiety. And it’s also naturally caffeine-free. You can do this later in the day if that’s when your anxiety kicks in. Chamomile is a great secret weapon.” (Click through to read more about The ‘Lullaby’ Lavender Tea Guaranteed to Melt Stress and Deepen Sleep)

chamomile tea

FFW: What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

Joy Bauer: “So many things but this happened a few days ago. My husband is the tech guy of the house and he sets everything. Whatever is the latest and greatest gadget, we have it thanks to my husband. But he tends to be the only one who knows how to operate things. Imagine me coming into the house with my 3 kids and their significant others and my dog.

Bauer clan
The Bauer family

“I set off the alarm and it’s going off through the whole house; my dog is going beserk. All the cell phones and regular phones are going off and the police and alarm company is calling. I have no idea how to shut it off and my kids are on the floor gasping for oxygen because they are laughing so hard and I’m laughing too. All of this is happening at the same time. So what do you do? You just have to laugh!”

For more health and wellbeing stories, read below!

Joy Bauer’s 5 Keys to Vibrant Health and Energy

The White Bread That’s Actually *Good* For You: Why Top Docs Recommend Sourdough

30 Journal Prompts That Boost Bliss, Slash  Stress and Ease Anxiety — In Minutes!

News: Your Disinfectant Wipes Could Be Making You Fat, Foggy and Tired — MDs Weigh In on The Health Dangers of “Quats” 

Bonnie Siegler is an established international writer covering the celebrity circuit for more than 15 years.  Bonnie’s resume includes two books that combine her knowledge of entertaining with celebrity health and fitness and has written travel stories which focus on sustainable living.  She has contributed to magazines including Woman’s World and First for WomenElle, InStyle, Shape, TV Guide and Viva.  Bonnie served as West Coast Entertainment Director for Rive Gauche Media overseeing the planning and development of print and digital content.  She has also appeared on entertainment news shows Extra and Inside Edition.

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