"Life is hard, food should be easy."
That's the motto of Joy Bauer, the nutrition expert on NBC's "Today" show and author of multiple best-selling books, including "The Joy Fit Club" and "Cooking With Joy."
And now, the registered dietitian is attempting to make food even easier with her first food line, Nourish Snacks. Through the membership-based brand, you can have a weekly box of snacks, such as roasted pistachios and figs, dark chocolate chia-oat clusters and cinnamon-spiced apples and almonds, delivered to your door.
If Bauer's stamp of approval is on it, you know it's good. The nutritionist clues us in to what's hot in the snack world. Who's hungry?
How did you start in the health industry?
As a kid I always chose broccoli over Barbies. I was a science nerd and went to college on a gymnastic scholarship. After an injury, I refocused all my energy and efforts on the body. I've been entrenched in health and it's been my life's passion. This is the first time I have ever come out with a food product. It was like a two-year pregnancy.
Why start Nourish Snacks?
Twenty-four percent of our daily intake comes from snacks, which are highly processed and zap your energy rather than give you energy. Most snacks lead to weight gain. We searched for the cleanest-tasting ingredients, like pineapples from Sri Lanka, Washington apples dusted with cinnamon, and peanuts and dried strawberries. We offer the right protein and fiber and minimized sugar. We are dairy[-free], vegan and gluten-free. We have 35 different types. Sign up and you'll get a box of five every week, so you can sample all the goodies and then personalize your own. The bags are perfectly portioned at 200 calories or less. Even though calories are controlled, the snacks are filling and provide a nice volume. Some say they couldn't finish the bags. These snacks are for those who are aspiring to be healthy, but won't give up great taste.
Why is everyone gluten-free?
It's a buzz word for some and a medical issue for others. It's not public enemy No. 1, but there are some who react to it. I wanted to be sensitive to that.
So many people skip it, but why is breakfast so important?
It jumpstarts your metabolism. We know that protein does wake you up and make you more alert. Try protein like eggs or Greek yogurt. Sometimes I eat turkey chili for breakfast. We also know that protein helps to regulate your appetite throughout the day. If your goal is weight loss, protein is incredibly helpful.
What about alcohol? Is it bad for you?
Not in moderation. I suggest white, red, champagne or vodka and club soda. Keep the sugar down. For women, one glass and two for men. Be selective about when you go over that moderation.
What about exercise?
I aim to do an hour a day walking on a machine. I'm a big multitasker so I do conference calls while I walk. I love the trackers. I aim for 10,000 steps a day. You can strap on a pedometer and you'll be shocked by how many you accrued. There are so many ways to get exercise without actually going to the gym. Play games with yourself and take the stairs when you can. You can break up walks into chunks. Start walking 30 minutes a day. Walk 10 minutes three times.
How do you address weight issues in teens?
You don't want them to feel attacked, but you want to prevent a major problem from happening. Stop sugary soda consumption and fruit juices. When we are eating all-refined carbs, we want more carbs. Beverages and snacks make a huge dent. Impulse buys like chocolates and chips couldn't be worse. We have to come up with better solutions for snacks. I'm trying to offer them good choices that they will like. We need protein and fiber.
We are working on a nut-free kids' line, personalization of your snack choice (curating your own snacks) and large boxes that you can order.