For nutrition expert and author Joy Bauer, the 4th of July is all about three things: family, food and fun! “We usually spend it in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts,” says the host of NBC’s Health + Happiness, who also serves up her creative, healthy recipes on the Today show. “There are sparklers, fireworks, sing-alongs with my family-and, of course, BBQ and watermelon margaritas…I can just taste them now!”
But this year, due to the pandemic, Joy admits Independence Day looked a bit different. But for Joy, the true key to a wonderful holiday is togetherness. “Whether in person or virtually, that’s what matters — that everyone is together, safe, and happy!” Here, Joy’s delicious secrets to making every day healthy, upbeat, and full of joy!
Slashes self-doubt: An inspiring reminder.
“I believe self-confidence is like a muscle you have to work on, day in, day out,” Joy shares. “One way I’ve found to do that is to create a mantra that I connect to and believe in, such as ‘I feel good, I am worthy and I believe in myself.’ I say that phrase to myself several times a day-until I actually start to believe it! Repeating my mantra with my eyes closed while taking deep breaths works wonders for bringing down my stress levels and boosting my confidence. I do it two or three times a day, and it’s so empowering.”
Radiance secret: Makeup wipes!
“A good cleanser is my secret to great skin!” Joy says. “My favorite drugstore pick is Neutrogena makeup remover cleansing towelettes ($8.97, Amazon). They remove makeup and dirt with one quick swipe and keep my skin feeling fresh without drying it out!”
Revs energy: Secret superfoods.
“I try to find ways to chow down on my favorite comfort foods and stay healthy,” Joy says. “So I like to work in little tricks to upgrade the meals I crave. Beans and lentils are a great source of protein and come with so much fiber, so I add them into cookie recipes. Other things I love? Spinach, kale and chard. They’re loaded with antioxidants, lower your risk for disease and promote healthy hair, vision and increased energy, so I’ll make them into a pesto that I substitute for mayonnaise in potato salads or mix into smoothies.” Last, Joy says berries of any kind add tons of nutrients. “Fresh or frozen, they are so yummy!”
Spurs motivation: An exercise ‘bargain.’
“Every morning I do some type of exercise. Just having that as the starting point sets a good tone for my whole day,” Joy shares. “But when I don’t feel especially motivated to work out, I do exactly what I tell my clients: I pick an audiobook, something really compelling, and make a deal with myself that I can only listen to the next chapter while I’m exercising. It’s a fun way to look forward to something that makes me feel good, squashes stress, and strengthens my heart!” Fun fact: Studies show that people who listen to audiobooks during their workouts exercise 50 percent more!
Boosts immunity: Sunshine vitamins.
“I take a multivitamin every day; it’s a nice way to fill any nutritional holes in my diet,” Joy explains. “During the COVID-19 outbreak, I’ve been supplementing with an extra 1,000 IU of vitamin D, since it’s an important nutrient for maintaining a healthy immune system, as well as a way to strengthen bones and make up for lost time in the sun. And my family and I have also been taking 500 mg. of vitamin C every day to strengthen and maintain our immune systems.” Bonus: Taking vitamin C daily has been shown to significantly reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Check out her new cookbook!
Lately, Joy’s days are filled with cooking experiments and sharing crave-worthy comfort foods- with a healthy twist!-from her cookbook, Joy Bauer’s Superfood! ($21.99, Amazon).
“Everyone wants to look and feel amazing while eating all the foods they love,” Joy admits. “So I took that goal, and vetted study after study, to come up with the most nutrient-rich ingredients and work them into comfort foods that you can now eat guilt-free!”
From her favorite almond-butter chocolate-chip cookies (made with pureed chickpeas instead of flour) to soups, casseroles, and sides made with budget-friendly lentils, Joy’s book reveals the secretly nutritious foods you may already have in your pantry-and delicious new ways to use them. “That’s the idea behind superfoods: They’re foods we already love with a twist of super nutrient,” she says.
“These are recipes you can feel good about eating and sharing, and they can help you live longer and healthier while feeling and looking amazing!”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.
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