GoRecess Playground Pro: Heather Bauer, Founder of Nu-Train & Bestowed
Hometown: New York, NY
Background: Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, is a nationally recognized nutrition expert, author, and entrepreneur. Her fresh and inspiring approach to diet has landed her prime time spots on Good Morning America, CNN, CBS, The Talk, Access Hollywood Live and The Tyra Banks Show. She has also been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and People Magazine.
Heather is the author of two top selling books; The Wall Street Diet (Hyperion 2008) and Bread is the Devil (St. Martin's Press 2012) and has a regular column on The Huffington Post where she writes about the latest trends in diet, health and nutrition.
In 2012, Heather founded Bestowed, a subscription service that offers consumers a personalized way to discover, sample, shop and learn about the best nutrition and lifestyle products on the market. She is also the founder of Nu-Train, a diet and nutrition counseling center that has taught thousands of people how to safely lose weight and keep it off for good. Nu-Train's success stories range from New York's top bankers, lawyers, and doctors, to mothers, athletes and celebrities. Heather graduated from The University of Wisconsin and is a member of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the New York State Dietetic Association (NYSDA).
GETTING TO KNOW HEATHER & HER THOUGHTS ON NUTRITION
What inspired you to become a nutritionist? Nutrition has always been my passion. I became focused at an early age because I realized that I enjoy food immensely and love connecting with people. Going into the field of nutrition and helping people overcome their diet issues seemed like the perfect fit for me. In high school, I became a competitive runner and noticed the relationship between the quality of my diet and my performance. This initially sparked my interest in the field.
What’s your philosophy on healthy eating? I always tell me clients, “Live your Life, Not your Diet”. You can’t let an eating regimen run your life. If you are continuously making daily sacrifices in order to eat right and stay on track, then something isn’t working. Healthy eating takes work, but it shouldn’t dictate how you interact with others, or how you feel towards food. My books “The Wall Street Diet” and “Bread is the Devil” both give manageable tips on how to integrate healthy eating into your daily life. My clients and readers are equipped with the knowledge to get them through any type of life or social situation without deterring their diet.
What do you find to be your clients’ biggest challenges when it comes to healthy eating and how do you help them address these challenges?
The 3 biggest challenges that my clients face are:
- The Late Night Shuffle - Often, my clients are super busy and putting in tons of hours at work, or spending a lot of time with their family or friends. I find that when you extend your day, the chance of adding an extra meal increases significantly. It’s simple science. When you’re awake, you want to eat! Going to bed early or shortening their day is just not an option. Instead, I tell them to give in to the extra meal but keep it under 200 calories and choose something that will take awhile to eat. Some ideas include a Matt’s Munchies fruit snack, a Greek yogurt that’s been chilling in the freezer for a few hours, or a package of seasoned seaweed. These foods are sure to keep you occupied for a longer period of time, reducing the chance that you’ll hit the kitchen for another snack.
- Emotional Eating - The ups and downs of daily life can be responsible for the same ups and downs that you see on the scale. People tend to take their emotions into the kitchen, and not in a positive way. My best recommendation is to find an outlet for your emotion (besides eating). Exercise is an amazing way to reduce stress. It doesn’t have to be for a long period of time either. Even 20 minutes a day can make a person feel better. Not only does it relieve stress, but it takes your mind off the issue at hand and gives you tons of confidence.
- The Plunge - This is my version of a binge. It’s when you decide to “treat” yourself to one food item and then you end up eating everything in sight. It starts with a handful of popcorn and all of a sudden it turns into a sleeve of cookies, a pint of ice cream and the kitchen sink! Basically, in your head you say “I give up” and let your diet go out the window. Too many days like this add up to weight gain. The best solution is to know your own eating habits. If you know that you are going to be in a situation where you are susceptible to the Plunge, make sure to have finite food choices around you . Finite foods are things that are pre portioned, which reduces the risk of overeating. Some of these include an individual container of Greek yogurt with a pre-portioned 100 cal pack of almonds, or a high protein nutrition bar.
Tell us about your new book, Bread Is the Devil – is it really the devil or is it okay in moderation?
It’s important to realize that bread comes in many forms. Items like muffins, pastry and dinner rolls are basically a symbol of sabotage for your diet. Processed bread and grains are often a way of people unleashing their diet devils. For most, it starts with one roll at dinner and before you know it you’re eating a sleeve of cookies and a pint of ice cream as an encore. When bread comes in the form of a turkey sandwich on whole wheat or a scoop of brown rice or quinoa, it’s certainly not the devil! It’s a well-balanced starch that will help you control your cravings and keep you satiated.
What diet tips do you have for people who don’t have time to cook healthy meals and frequently eat out?
This question comes up all the time in my office!
- First, take advantage of the fact that most restaurants post their menu online. Before you go, select high-protein, high-fiber options that you think you’ll enjoy. Going into a restaurant with a set game plan takes the guess work out of ordering. You’ll be less likely to order something not so great because you feel unsure or pressed for time.
- Don’t be afraid to double your order of veggies in lieu of a starch. A piece of grilled fish can be an excellent option at a restaurant, but the sides can really throw you off. If a dish typically comes with sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes, forgo the potatoes and double up on spinach. Trust me, the chef won’t mind! Another idea is to order a starter and a side instead of entrée. Restaurant portions are so generous anyway; you’ll end up with plenty of food.
- Be the last to order- People are often embarrassed to be the person that makes special requests (sauce on the side, double veggies, sautéed not fried) because it may make them appear high maintenance. The simple solution? Let your dining partners order first. It gives you time to get your exact order together and by the time the server gets to you the focus turned elsewhere. People usually resume conversation immediately after they’ve placed their order.
Healthy eating trips for travelers? Travelers are prone to what I call RoadHogging! It can be really difficult for people to maintain and lose weight while traveling. It’s important to plan ahead. Use pre-packaged foods like that are easy to carry so that you’ll avoid stopping for a large latte and a bagel. A 100 calorie pack of nut butter paired with 2 GG Bran fiber crisps and a banana makes a complete breakfast, without having to munch on a muffin or Danish. Carry 100- calorie packs of almonds, individual sized bags of popcorn (my favorite is 479 popcorn) and a bottle of water in your bag at all times. It’s common for people to mistake thirst for hunger. The more things that you have available the less likely you are to stop for something unhealthy.
The one “super food” everyone should eat? Lately, I have been obsessed with chia! It is literally in everything! Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants, fiber, protein and good fats. Sprinkling in 1-2 tablespoons of chia seed into your morning Greek yogurt can add 2-4 extra grams of protein and 3-5 extra grams of fiber. They literally complete your meal! You can also toss a tablespoon in your smoothie to boost the fiber content. For dinner, I recommend AlDente BonaChia Fettucine. The noodles are made with actual chia grain which lowers the carbohydrate content, while filling you up on fiber and protein. Toss with mixed veggies or marinated artichokes for a delicious dinner!
Recommended pre-workout snack? Sometimes it’s difficult to get in a high-volume meal before a workout, but it’s still essential to get in nutrients to fuel your body. I toss a bag of Sharkie’s Organic Sports Chews into my workout bag and I’m all set. They’re sweetened with organic brown rice syrup, which is a clean source of carbohydrates and your body’s preferred fuel source. They naturally deliver electrolytes such as potassium and sodium in one fell swoop.
Recommended post-workout snack? After a hard workout, choose a piece of fruit and a packet of Justin’s nut butter. It’s the ideal combination of fat, fiber, protein and carbohydrates to replenish you.
Your personal eating style? I eat the way I tell my clients. A clean, balanced diet, avoiding processed carbs, that’s high in fruits and vegetables and full of healthy lean protein. This isn’t to say that I don’t have indulgences. Too much restriction equals failure. I allow myself to eat certain foods, but I plan them into my day. I make sure that my indulgences are with loved ones like my family and friends at special places. A lot of great memories are based around food, and I recognize that eating a piece of cake at your child’s birthday party isn’t going to make or break your diet.
Your guilty pleasure? Peanut Butter! Literally, I love almost anything with peanut butter. It’s not unusual to see me in the kitchen with a spoon in the jar. My husband sometimes has to hide it from me so I don’t go overboard!
What inspired you to launch Bestowed?
I have been counseling clients now for 12 years and have written two books that address the obstacles that people face when trying to lose weight. I love to teach people about how to eat, how to live, but most importantly what to eat. I enjoy sampling new food and wandering around supermarkets looking for the newest, greatest food products. I have been recommending products that I keep in my own kitchen to clients for years! Finally, I thought to myself, “What better way to inspire people to eat well, than to allow them to try products and deliver them literally to their doorstep?” It’s better nutrition at people’s fingertips. I wanted to take some of the guesswork out of nutrition. Plus, I love feeding people!
How do you like spending your time when you're not working on Nu-Train and Bestowed? One word comes to mind here: Family. I have 3 kids under the age of four (including twins!) that I love to be around. My ideal day is spending the day with the kids and my husband at the beach. Family is the most important thing to me.
If you could give GoRecess users one piece of nutrition advice what would it be? Hold on to your day. Meaning that if you can manage to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and snack, don’t let it all go at dinner. You’ve worked hard ALL day to make the right choices; it’s foolish to lose it on one meal. Eating healthy gets harder as the day goes on, so commit to yourself and commit to eating well.
HEATHER’S THOUGHTS ON EXERCISE
How often do you recommend your clients exercise? I recommend 3 to 5 days depending on the person. Try to get it in early on in the day so that it’s out of the way. People tend to get busy and put themselves last. They’ll choose the extra staff meeting or catching up on work e-mail over their workout. Even if it means getting up a little earlier, take time out of your day for yourself.
Why do you think group fitness classes are a good way to get a workout? They are a great way to make friends or motivate your existing friends. Instead of meeting for calorie-laden cocktails, meet for an hour of Zumba or a ballet barre workout. There are competitive cycling studios popping up all over Manhattan that I’m a fan of. A little healthy competition can go a long way. Most group workout classes require you to reserve ahead of time or there is a charge for not showing up. Financially, this motivates people as well!
What’s your personal fitness routine? I have been an avid runner since high school. Running allows me to clear my mind and regain focus on things. I often come up with some of the best solutions and ideas when I’m out running. In addition to that, I try to get in two days of yoga or a Physique 57 workout to keep my body whole and maintain a balanced stamina.
What’s your proudest fitness accomplishment? Being a marathon runner, you’d think that I would say running marathons! But actually, I have to be honest; giving natural birth to my two twin boys was much more of a workout than I could have ever imagined!
Your “go-to” workout song? I was trained as a marathon runner from an early age from my Dad, and he always advised me not to run with music for safety reasons. As a result, listening to music distracts me. When I run, I find a place in my head and go there. I listen to my mind!
Favorite workout brand? lululemon. They constantly have new styles and great fabrics available. When you feel good about what you’re in, you can perform well.
How do you recommend people get motivated when they’re not in the mood to exercise? I tell people about the 20 minute rule. Commit to 20 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 times a week. It’s a manageable amount of time, because it’s not an hour out of your day. Also, most people will end up continuing on and working out for 30 to 45 minutes. My clients tell me that once they find their groove, they just keep going! The bottom line is even 20 minutes is better than nothing, and it’s manageable for even the busiest of schedules. Also, lay out your clothes the night before. By preparing things ahead of time, you’re making fewer excuses for yourself the next morning.