What if you could lose weight and still enjoy all your favorite foods — from cinnamon buns and strawberry cheesecake to General Tso’s Chicken and Fettucine Alfredo? That’s the concept behind nutritionist Joy Bauer’s newest cookbook, From Junk Food to Joy Food (on sale today). You might know Bauer from her regular appearances on the TODAY show, or as a columnist for Woman’s Day magazine — but now with her latest book, she’s setting out to change the way you think about dieting.
“People want to be healthy and aspire to be healthy, but it’s ridiculously difficult to give up your favorite foods,” says Bauer, mother of three and founder of Nourish Snacks. “My whole mission has been to try to figure out how to help people enjoy the food, flavors and textures they love in a better-for-you way.”
Joy Bauer’s Diet Rules
When it comes to her “weight loss philosophy,” Bauer says she’s a true believer in the 90-10 rule. “Go out of your way to eat healthy 90 percent of the time and there’s 10 percent wiggle room in everybody’s diet,” she says. “The key is to not view this as an all or nothing.”
Bauer sticks to these rules in her own life by meal prepping on the weekends, so she’ll have healthy foods ready to eat all week long. “Double or triple the batches so you put in the work once and eat two or three times,” Bauer says. “I have a whole takeout restaurant in my freezer!” She also recommends purchasing a reusable oil mister to cut back on excess calories from oil in your recipes (we’ve all been guilty of a heavy-handed pour).
At restaurants, Bauer advises picking one thing to splurge on — whether it’s the bread basket, an indulgent entrée, cocktails or dessert. “For me, it’s always going to be dessert and that’s why my dessert chapter is longer than any other chapter in the book!” she says.
But if you love comfort foods, Bauer knows it can be tough to swap out your regular meals of mac and cheese for a plate of grilled chicken and broccoli. That’s why she’s meeting people in the middle with her new cookbook full of “healthified” favorites. “I’m all for the occasional trek on the dark side, but what if there was a way you could eat cinnabuns and mint chocolate chip ice cream and ribs and buffalo wings with blue cheese dip all the time? Sign me up,” she says.
Want a taste of what Bauer’s cooking? Try her recipe for Banana Split on a Stick below!
Joy Bauer’s Banana Split on a Stick Recipe
Freeze time: 3 hours
Prep time: 10 minutes
4 large bananas, ripe but firm
8 wooden popsicle sticks
1/4 cup granola cereal OR finely chopped salted peanuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Optional: whipped cream and cherries for garnish
- Peel, then cut each banana in half horizontally and insert the wooden stick into each half. Place in ziptop bag or cover in plastic wrap and place in freezer until frozen, about 3 hours.
- Spread out granola (or peanuts) on a flat surface, such as shallow dish, cutting board or baking sheet.
- Melt the chocolate chips using a double boiler or by placing them in a glass bowl and microwaving for 30 seconds, stirring, and continuing this same routine for 15-second increments until chocolate is velvety smooth.
- Pour the melted chocolate into a tall glass and carefully dip each of the frozen bananas into the glass, twirling to coat at least the top half. Then immediately roll in the granola or chopped peanuts.
- Serve or place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and stash in the freezer for future treats.