LISTEN TO THE LATEST PODCAST EPISODE

Looking for easy recipe ideas?

subscribe to get a free eCookbook with our top 25 recipes

Making Healthy Food Taste Good with Ellie Krieger

Today we’re talking with Ellie Krieger, a leading go-to nutritionist in the media today, helping people find the sweet spot where “delicious” and “healthy” meet. She is the host and executive producer of the cooking series “Ellie’s Real Good Food” on Public Television, and the host of “Healthy Appetite” on the Food Network. 

She is a New York Times bestselling, IACP and two-time James Beard Foundation award winning author of six cookbooks, and her next book Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Skillet or Sheet Pan is being released now in October 2019!

Ellie is also a weekly columnist for The Washington Post and has been a columnist for Fine Cooking, Food Network magazine and USA Today. A registered dietitian who earned her bachelors in clinical nutrition from Cornell and her masters in nutrition education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, Ellie has been at the forefront of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign from the beginning when Mrs. Obama’s team invited her to head up a nutrition education initiative at a Healthy Kids Fair on the White House lawn.  

In this episode, we’ll talk about:

  • Ellie’s favorite ways to make cooking fun and exciting when you’re bored with the same meals
  • The “usually ,sometimes, rarely” food philosophy
  • How to get family members to try new dishes
  • How to get flavors to “pop” in meals
  • 3 things people can do today to eat more delicious, balanced food
  • & MORE!

Resources:

SHOUT OUT TO OUR PODCAST SPONSORS

Want to learn how to make smarter money decisions? Schedule a free 20 minute consultation with The Financial Gym over at financialgym.com/foodheaven & get 20% off your monthly membership when you sign up.

Can you do us a huge favor?

If you enjoyed this episode, please do us a huge favor and leave us a review on iTunes ….right now. The more reviews we get, the higher we are ranked in iTunes, which means we reach more people!

Become a podcast sponsor:

Our podcast reaches thousands of engaged listeners each week. If you are a brand interested in becoming a sponsor, contact us to learn more about our affordable rates.

Connect with us online:

Our podcast is released every week. In each episode, we cover tips and tricks for making lifelong sustainable healthy living changes to upgrade your diet and health. We also interview leading experts in the field of health and nutrition. We hope you enjoyed this episode, and we’ll catch you next time!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Wendy Lopez:                 

Hey, it’s Wendy.

Jessica Jones:                  

And it’s Jess, and you’re listening to the Food Heaven Podcast.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Your online resource for delicious and nutritious living.

Jessica Jones:                  

Welcome back to another episode of the Food Heaven Podcast. Today we’re talking with Ellie Krieger, who is a registered dietician, and the host and executive producer of the cooking series, Ellie’s Real Good Food on Public Television. She’s also the host of the hit Food Network show, Healthy Appetite. Ellie is a leading go-to dietician in the media, where she helps people find that sweet spot between delicious and healthy. She’s also a best-selling author, and has won the International Association of Culinary Professionals Award, plus two James Beard Foundation Awards. That’s a pretty big deal. Ellie is also the author of six cookbooks, and her next book, Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Skillet, or Sheet Pan was released this week. So we are super excited to have Ellie on the podcast today.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Yeah. We’ve known about Ellie for a while. She’s kind of a big deal within the dietician community, and recently I saw her at an event in New York City, and I went up to her. I was fangirling, and I was like, “Oh my god, Ellie, I love all the work that you’re doing,” and we were chatting it up and I told her about the podcast and she graciously agreed to come on. So we’re so, so, so excited to talk to her today about cooking balanced recipes that don’t compromise flavor, because that’s really her specialty. Welcome to the podcast, Ellie.

Ellie Krieger:                    

It is so good to be here. Yes, it was so good to meet you in person, Wendy, and I’m thrilled that this happened. So here we are. Yay.

Jessica Jones:                  

Awesome. So can you just start out by telling us how you got into cooking and nutrition?

Ellie Krieger:                    

So I often quote my mom, because she says that me becoming a nutritionist is like a pyromaniac becoming a firefighter. So basically, I completely loved food passionately from the minute I was born. I mean I was just really literally excited about eating all the time, and so that really… that inherent passion about food was always there. It’s like in my DNA. And then really, when I was a kid, I was overweight. I was underactive and kind of overeating, really, and then I just sort of started to get on a healthy plan. My mom really helped me, and it opened my eyes to nutrition and what a difference eating well could make.

Ellie Krieger:                    

So nourishing yourself without going overboard, or without it beginning the only thing that makes you happy kind of thing. And then I really did have quite a journey with food. I majored in nutrition as an undergrad. I was pre-med and I was interested in science, I was interested in food, and the nutrition major really met all the requirements of pre-med. But as I was studying it, I was sort of… I had these aha moments of the depth and breadth of a field. I think really as like an 18-year-old going into it, you don’t really realize how much nutrition, pardon the pun, brings to the table. Because it’s sociology, it’s psychology, it’s biochemistry, it’s culinary arts, it’s politics.

Ellie Krieger:                    

It’s all of these things, and it’s such a riveting field, and I’m passionate about it even all these years later. So I’m thrilled that I, in my life, in my journey, learned to love food in a healthy way, because I also, in my teens, feel… before I really started studying nutrition, I went the other direction and just became like overly restrictive with food. And that’s not healthy either. So I personally experienced kind of both of those extremes, and happily live now in a healthy balance. And it isn’t always easy, right? I mean I feel I get it, that it’s hard for people, and myself as well, with a busy life, but it’s the best way to live, I think, and I’m thrilled to be able to share that with everyone.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Yeah, I’m happy you shared that, because I saw that you have a background in modeling. And by the way, your modeling photos are like…

Jessica Jones:                  

Gorgeous.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Oh my god. They’re like drop-dead gorgeous. I was like whoa. Like such a babe, and oftentimes with modeling, it’s associated with restrictive eating. So how has your relationship to food changed throughout the years? Because it sounds like you’ve definitely found more balance now where you are in life, so how have you seen that evolution happen throughout the years?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Well personally, I started modeling to put myself through college. I was never really wanting this modeling career, per se. I just really needed a job, and I had some friends in the… I lived in New York City, I grew up here, I still live here, and I had some friends in the fashion business who encouraged me to go into modeling, and I was sort of following their leads and so on. And I really had to pound the pavement, and I eventually started doing it. But it was interesting to me, because as I started working as a model, and then I went back to school and I was modeling sort of on the summer breaks, eventually I went and got my master’s in nutrition at night, and modeled full-time.

Ellie Krieger:                    

So it wound up being this 15-year career, but always, in my mind, just a temporary thing that was more of a means to an end for me, and it really financed my nutrition career. And that’s how I saw it. But really, studying nutrition and modeling kind of concurrently was very interesting, because I learned so much about… I learned so much about myself, and how to own what I am and who I am, and realized that if I eat well and nourish myself, I don’t have to starve myself. And even starving myself is no way to really get anywhere. And then observing some of the models around me in my world, really mostly the people that I was observing, I would mainly think to myself, “That’s what I’m not going to wind up doing.”

Ellie Krieger:                    

So I really was able to sort of take in that information. And to be honest, I had some jobs where… Well, there’s one situation in particular that I’ll share with you, because it’s one of my proudest moments actually, because I was on summer break from school, from college, and I really needed… and by this time, I’m kind of out of money because I spent… all my expenses took up the money from the previous summer. So I really needed to make some money that summer and I was back kind of pounding the pavement, doing go-sees and trying to get some modeling gigs. And this one person said to me, “Okay, well, we’re shooting this in… ” It was like some kind of swimwear thing.

Ellie Krieger:                    

And she said, “Well, you know, when you walk your butt jiggles,” or whatever. And she was really embarrassed to even say this to me. But she… and P.S., I was in the best shape of my life. I was doing mini-triathlon, training for it, I was eating great, and I knew… and she basically said to me, “If you think it’s just a matter of dieting and working out for two weeks, then I’ll hire you for this, but otherwise my client’s really particular and they don’t want any flesh moving kind of thing on the [crosstalk 00:07:15].” And I looked at her and I said… and, again, reminding you, I really needed the paycheck. But I looked at her and I said, “This is my body, and it’s really not a matter of doing that. So thanks for the opportunity, but no.”

Ellie Krieger:                    

And I went in the elevator and I cried the whole way down. But to this day, I feel like that was like a pivotal moment for me. It was saying sorry, I’m a woman. My butt moves when I walk. I’m proud of that. This is who I am. I think I look fabulous. I don’t have to… I’m not going to harm myself to meet this standard. And I think it really goes a long way. Yeah, that’s… I was in a particular field of modeling or whatever, so I was almost hardened to that. But in our world today, we’re all trying to live up to that ridiculous standard, and I think that none of us should.

Jessica Jones:                  

Agreed. I feel like it should be illegal, also, to kind of pressure women in the modeling industry to change their bodies. It just sounds ridiculous, and I… Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of traumatizing stories like that. So thank you for sharing, and it’s nice that you were able to find a balance that works for you. Kind of shifting gears a little bit to fast forward to kind of where you are now with cooking and making things exciting, a lot of our listeners wanted to know from you, how do you… if they’re people how feel like they struggle in the kitchen and they want to cook these healthy, balanced meals, how do you make cooking more fun and exciting on an everyday basis?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Well, two things. Wine and music.

Jessica Jones:                  

Yeah. Great.

Ellie Krieger:                    

And I’m saying that half-joking, really. But I do think changing your mindset, kind of. Because I do… Personally, I come home from a long day of work and I cook dinner usually, and I’m kind of tired and not in the mood to cook dinner, just like everybody else. But something happens where I’m like, you know what? I’ll just do something simple and I’ll put on some music and I’ll sip a little wine, and maybe… and wrangle my husband and daughter to help, and then suddenly it becomes this nice part of the evening that we’re doing together, or that I’m just grooving to some tunes. And so it doesn’t feel as much like work, and I think part of it, then there, is definitely kind of shifting your mindset in that way, and the other part of it is making sure that you have really planned ahead so that you have at least ingredients for three dishes that you can make that week, and then there’s leftovers, right?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Which I… I’m a huge fan of leftovers. But it could be simple, too. So planning… Each week, I sort of… On Sunday, I’m like okay, what three things should I make this week? And then I just make sure I have those ingredients on hand, so I have… I’m not so stressed at the last minute, thinking, “Oh, I have to go to the store and then go home.” So I think that planning ahead, changing your mindset a little bit, and then also keeping it simple. I think in this food TV world that I live in, that I’m part of, sometimes it can make it look like you have to do something fabulous, like make this amazing au jus or something in order to have a great meal, and you don’t. And to eat healthfully, you don’t have to cook beans from scratch that you’ve soaked and seasoned.

Ellie Krieger:                    

I mean I use canned beans all the time. So using convenient foods that are healthful convenience foods, so that they’re at your fingertips. Things like canned beans and frozen shrimp and things like that, and precut greens. They’re great. So taking advantage of those shortcuts also to make it easier for yourself. And then you know what? Just flavor can come from something as simple as really beautiful, juicy lemon, salt and pepper. I think just that on a beautiful, really nice piece of fish or some chicken that’s been grilled and then you squirt it with like some lemon. I mean even just right there, you’re really… you have the beginnings of a really great meal, and it can be so simple.

Jessica Jones:                  

Hey guys. I wanted to take a quick second to talk about this week’s podcast sponsor, which we are really, really, really excited about. The sponsor is The Financial Gym. Now, if you’re like me, you’re always saving for something. I also am currently trying to get my money right to get my student loans paid off, because I have a ton of student loans. So I think this podcast sponsor is perfect for people trying to get their money right. The Financial Gym is a personal financial services company that takes a fitness-inspired approach to their clients’ finances, and what they do is work with you one-on-one. So you’ll have your own certified financial trainer, and they will teach you how to make smarter money decisions that add up over time to help you reach all the goals that you set out for yourself.

Jessica Jones:                  

It doesn’t matter whether you need help budgeting, saving, investing, repaying that debt. Your financial trainer will help you with all of it, and the cool thing is The Financial Gym provides you with your own, dedicated person, your own dedicated trainer, that gives you the accountability, support and financial expertise to make sure you’re achieving your goals and also beyond. This would have been perfect for me, honestly. It took me forever to even start thinking about saving, and I wish I had something like this when I was in my 20s, because I literally didn’t start thinking about it until I was in my 30s. But it’s never too late. But you know, it’s awesome if you can kind of start thinking about that beforehand.

Jessica Jones:                  

So what do you get if you sign up for monthly membership? Well, you a get a one-on-one, hour goal-setting meeting with your trainer. You also get a customized financial plan. You get ongoing access to your financial trainer to answer any questions that come up, because we all know that those questions really come up between sessions, and they’ll give you access to an online spend tracking portal, which I think is critical to see where exactly your money’s going, because you can’t really do anything about it if you don’t know what’s happening. Plus you’ll get quarterly review meetings to help make sure they are helping you stay on track. So how do you sign up? Well, you know we have the hook up.

Jessica Jones:                  

So what you need to do is go to financialgym.com/foodheaven, and you’re going to get, wait for it, a free 20-minute consultation call. You want to make sure that you mention Food Heaven on the call, because that’s how you get 20% off of your monthly membership. So head on over to financialgym.com/foodheaven, mention us, and get that 20% off your monthly membership and get to saving and flourishing.

Wendy Lopez:                 

I love that you touched on meal prep, because we’re huge on meal prep and I think… You’re in the food world and the food media world, and a lot of these recipes can be very overwhelming. And so I find that people are very all or nothing, where it’s like I either have to make this very intricate dish, or they just make it very unappealing and unappetizing and then they end up getting bored. So yeah, meal prep is so important to incorporate the balance, but also to keep things creative. Because yeah, we’re all busy. We all have things to do, and then oftentimes cooking just gets set aside. So you mentioned that you live with your husband and daughter, and a lot of our listeners tell us that they struggle with getting their loved ones or their children onboard with getting more involved in the kitchen. So what are some things that you have found to be especially useful when trying to get your husband and daughter not only involved in the kitchen, but also open to trying new dishes that you’re making?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yeah, it’s interesting because I from the beginning had my daughter in the kitchen with me. I mean even when she was like 2 years old, I just kind of set her up with a piece of bread and a butter knife, and she’d hack away at it, or tearing lettuce, or doing simple things that a little toddler could do. And probably making more of a mess than helping, but ultimately it kind of just got her comfortable in the kitchen. To be honest, she’s 16 years old and she really has no interest in cooking. And that’s fine, but what I do tell her is she needs to learn the skill. So if she wants me to make something for her… like she loves my lasagna, which I don’t blame her because it’s really good. But if she wants to learn… if she wants me to make something, I’ll make her do it with me just so she learns the skill.

Ellie Krieger:                    

So she knows how to use a knife. She knows how to make a sauce. She knows how to brown something in a pan, or whatever it may be. So that’s okay if she doesn’t… she’s not that into cooking. That would be great, but it’s fine that she’s not. Again, just having those skills. And then my husband, I’m sort of… But I do bring them on to help simply because we’re all going to eat, right? And so this isn’t just my job. This is everybody’s… everyone needs to participate in the meal, just as we participate in other family tasks that need to get done. And so to me, it’s just not negotiable in that regard. So my husband typically does the dishes. So that’s cool.

Wendy Lopez:                 

That’s helpful.

Ellie Krieger:                    

I’m fine cooking and everything and planning if he does the dishes, because that’s my least favorite part of it. But sometimes I’ll say, “Hey, can you preheat this and cut this up and prep some things before I get home?” And so everyone needs to be part of the team. So I think it’s a mistake to think that one person needs to carry that burden, or I guess you could say burden. But it is in some ways, because everyone needs to eat, right? In terms of everyone wanting to eat what is served, I think that’s a really interesting thing, because I think with kids, it’s definitely like a power struggle. And I’ve found that almost, as the years go by, my daughter almost likes fewer and fewer things in a way. Although she has very good palate, so it’s an interesting balance.

Ellie Krieger:                    

But I just serve what I serve, and this is what’s for dinner. I will literally do not… And I try to accommodate different tastes. So I know my husband… He likes really most things, so that’s good, but he definitely has certain preferences over others. But I really try to plan my meals so that most of the dishes, people… I know that they’re going to basically like it. But I don’t worry about it if they don’t, because this is what’s for dinner, and if you don’t want it, you can make something for yourself. I have kind of that tough love approach of it, and it really has gone a long way, especially with my daughter.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Because she knows this is the dinner, this is a really important for our family to sit down, be together. And we do that, and we talk, and sometimes we bicker too, just like every other family. But it is a really sacred time. There’s no electronics. We eat what’s served, and we appreciate, and we try to express gratitude at the table, too. Always saying our little form of grace, in a way. So I think that goes a long way.

Wendy Lopez:                  

Yeah. I love that you mentioned giving your children space, because I think especially during adolescence, there’s like this rebellion phase. And I remember with my mom, she would always try to get me to cook in the kitchen. She’s a great cook, and I would just always rebel and say, “No, I’m not interested. I’m not.” So I was never interested in cooking. When I was in high school, even when I was in college, and then eventually I just kind of came to it naturally, and now I’m obsessed with cooking and she’s always making fun of me. But I think giving children that space, especially teenagers, is so important, and just allowing them to explore it on their own.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yeah. And now look what happened to you, huh?

Wendy Lopez:                 

Right. 

Ellie Krieger:                    

I have a feeling that’s what’s going to be with my daughter, too. Especially when she starts to go to college and beyond, she’s going to realize, “Wow, in order to have this good food, I’m going to have to make it.” So that’s why I cook, really, because I really… this is the food that I like. I can make it the way I like it. I mean that’s a fabulous thing to be able to do.

Jessica Jones:                  

Yeah, my mom waited until like two weeks before I was graduating high school, and she was like, “Okay, now it’s time for you to learn to cook.” Like, “Come in the kitchen.” I was like, “Yeah, no.” Not at all. It was the same thing. There was a period… I mean there was a long period where I was just doing Trade Joe’s frozen… I mean I still do some of those, but like frozen meals for every single meal. And then I think for me what really helped was working at the farmer’s market. So me and Wendy worked at the farmer’s market doing cooking demonstrations. I worked there… I think it was 2009 to 2012 or something, and that really got me excited about the fresh produce and trying different recipes, and just cooking in general and feeling good after eating fresh, healthy foods.

Jessica Jones:                  

And then I developed more of a palate for what fresh garlic tastes like versus what garlic tastes like on a shelf that’s been shipped from wherever that doesn’t… it just doesn’t taste the same and have the same flavor profile. So yeah, I think it’s important to just kind of let people discover food and cooking in the way that they’re meant to, I guess.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yeah. And it is like a muscle in that way. Like you don’t-

Jessica Jones:                  

Right.

Ellie Krieger:                    

You don’t just all of a sudden, boom. You’re like, “Okay, I’m going to cook now,” and then you can make everything and you all of a sudden are passionate about it.

Jessica Jones:                  

Exactly.

Ellie Krieger:                    

I think it happens gradually and consistently. If you say okay, each week I’m going to make three things and maybe I’m going to have my repertoire of 10 dishes that I make. And maybe each… every couple weeks I’ll add one. Before you know it you’re cooking, you’re trying different things, you’re adding, and before you know it you have this wealth of experience. But it’s just like exercising a muscle, where you do have to just gradually strengthen that.

Wendy Lopez:                  

Yeah. I’ve burned so many dishes in my time. It’s like you [crosstalk 00:20:35].

Ellie Krieger:                    

But I think mistakes… So do I. To this day I make mistakes, and I think that that… we need to allow that. First of all, I have this little motto, like how bad could it be, right? So even if I make a mistake, it’s probably still perfectly edible and fine, and then I learned a little bit. Like okay, if I do this, the outside gets too brown too fast. I’ll lower the temperature next time, or whatever it is. I’ll learn and put that in the bank for next time, and that’s how you acquire skills. You don’t just automatically wake up knowing how to do it.

Jessica Jones:                  

For your cooking shows, do you… How does it work? Because I’m always curious, because I see like Rachel Ray and it sounds like she tests a lot of the recipes at home and she has those as part of her meals. At least back in the day, when I used to watch her show. But how does it work for you? Do you come up with all of these recipe ideas yourself?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yes, I do.

Jessica Jones:                  

Oh my god.

Ellie Krieger:                    

I get inspired in all different ways, in all different places. I get inspired a lot of times just from going through my Instagram feed. I get inspired by going to the farmer’s market and even discovering like what is that? That’s an interesting looking radish, or whatever. I get inspired by going to restaurants. Fortunately in New York, you can really… there’s so many different types of cuisine to explore, and a lot of times, maybe I’ll be eating in a place that’s kind of even upscale, and I’ll see maybe a combination of different ingredients that on a… I try to think, “Oh, how would this… How could I translate this into a home kitchen, a home cooking type of approach?” Meanwhile, I know that they were preparing it with tweezers every so carefully in the back of their kitchen.

Ellie Krieger:                    

But trying to think about, “Wow, these basic flavors work great. Let me bring that to a home environment.” So that’s how I kind of think, and then you just start to think like that. And a lot of times, I get inspired simply because I’m just craving something. Like I’ll be laying in bed, saying, “I want meatballs, with… Oh, maybe I’ll make some kind of Chipotle-spiced meatball hero thing,” or I don’t know. I get these cravings and then I have to launch from there.

Jessica Jones:                  

I love it. The unfortunate thing though, nowadays, is that food has kind of become the enemy in some ways. There’s so much fear-mongering and stress around eating. I was just listening to this podcast yesterday with a dietician who deals a lot with… I forget her name, but she deals a lot with GI nutrition and also the intersection of GI nutrition and disordered eating, and she was just saying it is just a mess out there, and everybody’s scared to eat and they don’t know what to do. So how do you kind of navigate all of that? And can you talk a little bit about your usually, sometimes, and rarely food philosophy?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yeah. So first of all, the level of fear around food is unprecedented right now, and particularly I feel like people are afraid of carbs. Like carb is like this somehow code for “bad for you,” and I just think it’s such a terrible, terrible mistake to think like that. And I think it really comes to being about balance. And so maybe people were eating… if you’re only eating carbohydrate-rich foods, and dense carbohydrates, like pretzels all day and bagels and big sandwiches on huge rolls, then yeah, maybe changing that needed to happen. But saying no to bread and occasional pretzel is a mistake. So there’s this sense of all or nothing that we really have sunk into, and it’s a pit.

Ellie Krieger:                    

It’s a terrible place to be, and in terms of fear of food, I think people are like afraid to eat a piece of fruit, because it has quote unquote, “too much sugar.” You know, they’re worried about that? And it’s really a shame, because these are foods that have sustained people and kept them healthy for generations, and they’re whole, unprocessed foods. And you can eat too much of anything. So it’s about balance. But it’s interesting, because the word moderation, the word balance, it doesn’t really… it’s not specific enough. It’s very hard to grasp. And so I have come up with this idea, and this is really my core food philosophy of usually, sometimes, and rarely.

Ellie Krieger:                    

So there’s these categories of food, and you can… and it’s what you do usually that really defines your diet, that defines your wellbeing, that defines your eating habits. And there’s no such thing as never. So it’s usually, sometimes, rarely, and it’s important to note there’s no such thing as never. So it takes away this whole notion of the forbidden fruit. So all the people that are on those… that extreme deprivation, no whatever, no carbs, whatever, eventually, they snap and they wind up binging those foods. And that’s the whole usually, sometimes, rarely. It combats that, because now there’s no forbidden fruit, and it’s about really looking at, “What are my usually foods?”

Ellie Krieger:                    

And those are whole vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, fish, nuts, and seeds and healthy oils. And that like the core. And then the sometimes foods are foods that you can sprinkle. Maybe they’re a little bit more processed. So maybe it’s like a baguette. Like I’m not living my life without eating a piece of French bread again, but it’s mainly… I know that I’m better off eating a whole grain, really nutty bread, but once in a while it’s fine to have a piece of baguette, right? Maybe another sometimes food is like a natural sweetener or a unrefined sweetener like honey or maple syrup. You want to kind of watch it, but it’s essentially not so bad for you.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Then the rarely foods are foods that maybe are on a lot of people’s no list, or on… or maybe even chefs use with a heavy hand. So butter, cream, bacon, sugar. And those can be sprinkled into dishes in… I like to say in minimum amounts for maximum impact. So you know what, if a little bit of brown sugar… my berries, brings them to this heavenly state, why wouldn’t I do that? It’s fine. Or maybe in my yogurt, a little honey in my yogurt. Or maybe even I’m going to have a BLT now and then. I’m going to use real bacon. I’m going to use maybe a couple of slices instead of a half a pound, and I’m going to put a avocado herbs bread instead of mayonnaise, and a nice, big, fat juicy ripe tomato, and I’m going to put it on whole grain bread.

Ellie Krieger:                    

And then I have like overall a pretty healthful thing. And it’s just hitting the spot. I’m not going to be craving bacon for the next year. It’s sort of like it really brings it all together in a balanced way. So I always do my recipes. It’s interesting, because my very first book lay it out, that usually, sometimes, rarely idea, and I developed it when I was working with individual clients and saw this crazy rollercoaster of extremes that they were on. And then I wound up using it really as the basis for every recipe that I develop. So every time I create a recipe, I think, “How can I make this mostly usually foods?” And what does it need? If it needs a little more richness, if it needs a little bit of honey to punch up the flavor, to really transform it into something fabulous.

Ellie Krieger:                    

How can I work those sometimes and rarely foods in, in a way that’s very thoughtful, that keeps the balance? So that’s… I find it an incredibly helpful way to really reframe your thinking about food.

Wendy Lopez:                 

I think that’s why I’m really drawn to your recipes, because you’re not making a million modifications. You keep it relatively easy, flavorful, creative, but also you’re not afraid to use things like butter, and sugar. I was just looking at one recipe, your ricotta cheesecake with the fresh raspberries, and I was literally gagging because it looks so, so, good. And are you… I think you said you’re more of a savory person, right? Or are you on the sweet side?

Ellie Krieger:                    

I would be happy with just like buttered bread for [crosstalk 00:28:56]. Although I do prefer savory, but I do love chocolate. But that cheesecake that you mention is really lovely, and it is… it’s light, but it hits the spot. Like you don’t want to eat something… I mean it’s funny, because sometimes somebody will write to me and say, “Oh, can you make that without sugar?” And I feel like writing back… I’m always polite, but I do feel like writing back like, “Yeah, if you want it to taste bad.” Go for it. It’s just not going to be good, and then you’re going to want something else.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Exactly.

Ellie Krieger:                    

So I feel like… I mean I love that cheesecake. It’s so light, and lovely, and it’s the right portion size, and it has some sugar but a minimal amount. It’s not overly sweet, and it totally hits the spot. So it’s that kind of thing. So to your point, yeah. I do like dessert sometimes, but it’s… I prefer savory food, generally.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Yeah, me too. I’m more a savory person. So along those lines, what are some things that you like to do to make the flavors in your savory dishes really pop? Like are there ingredients that you like to use? Or techniques that you like to use?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yeah, so I love… Well, it depends on the season, right? Because I think a lot of flavor actually comes from the cooking process itself. So if I’m making… I don’t know. I love to roast, so roasting vegetables, I think that caramelized flavor that they get. So literally just olive oil, salt and pepper on pretty much vegetable, and then roast it, and to me it’s just lovely. Okay, so then you take some acid. So acid really pumps up food and brightens it and brings it to life. So not relying on salt only to do that, right? So acid, like lemon juice or lime juice or a splash of vinegar on something really helps. Or particularly maybe balsamic vinegar on vegetables. So things like that to just amp it up.

Ellie Krieger:                    

So a lot of stuff, good stuff, happens in the oven or on the grill. And then I love fresh herbs. I use a lot of fresh herbs. So finishing things with a splash of… I think mint is actually an interesting herb to use in savory applications. So it’s really lovely to chop up a little mint and put it over your hummus, for example. Or to sprinkle that on your lemon-doused chicken breast. It’s really remarkable what a little bit of sprinkle of fresh herbs like mint or basil or cilantro can do there.

Jessica Jones:                  

I love all of it. And especially the mint on the hummus. Have not thought of that.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Yeah. I actually just made something like that last night with a little bit of dill. It was like a mediterranean white bean spread.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yum.

Wendy Lopez:                 

And it was a complete… Yeah, it was a hit. I did it with feta cheese. And I like playing with textures, too, so I crumbled some peanuts on it for a little bit of a crunch and yeah. Everyone was loving it.

Jessica Jones:                  

Yum.

Ellie Krieger:                    

That sounds amazing. I love dill, too. I think it’s kind of underrated.

Jessica Jones:                  

Yeah. It is.

Ellie Krieger:                    

I think dill’s fabulous.

Jessica Jones:                  

Right. I feel like you only see cilantro.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Basil.

Jessica Jones:                  

Really cilantro and basil, but there’s so many other herbs to play with.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yeah. It’s fun to explore. And then people are always like, “What do I do with the leftovers?” And I think just puree them with a little bit of oil, and then you can put them in an ice cube tray. Or water, and put them in an ice cube tray and freeze them, and then you have these little cubes of lusciousness that you can just sort of put into… let’s say you’re sautéing some chicken or fish and then you put one of those cubes of herb in there. It’s beautiful.

Wendy Lopez:                 

By the way, I recently saw your cooking hacks video, which was genius. We have to link it in the show notes, where you were showing people cool things that they can do with kitchen appliances. Do you know what I’m talking about, Ellie?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yes, yeah. That was a fun one.

Wendy Lopez:                 

I love that video.

Jessica Jones:                  

Is it on Instagram?

Wendy Lopez:                 

I think it’s on Facebook, right?

Ellie Krieger:                    

That one is on… Oh, it’s on Facebook, but it’s on Instagram, too. It’s on Instagram TV.

Jessica Jones:                  

Oh cool.

Wendy Lopez:                 

It’s so good. It’s so good. We’ll link it.

Ellie Krieger:                    

I usually… Every week, I do some kind of video, but I usually do a live on Facebook, and then I post something on Instagram TV.

Jessica Jones:                  

Oh, I love it. Going to check it out. So we’ve been asking our guests this, the following question: what does wellness look like for you?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Hm. And so do you mean in practical way, or in a metaphorical way?

Jessica Jones:                  

Or just like either. Like what does wellness mean to you? It could be kind of how you just try to stay balanced in your everyday life.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yeah. Wellness, to me, means listening to my body, and responding to what it needs. So maybe wellness, on a certain day, is going to be to go to a restorative yoga class, and not the really hard power yoga class, and responding to that. Maybe wellness to me means I’m hungry today. I feel like my body just needs more food, and eating, and actually nourishing yourself in that way. Or maybe it’s, wow, I really… wellness to me is making time to work out when I have a million things on my agenda, and then I say to myself, “Oh, I don’t have time to work out,” and my response is, “Girl, you don’t have time not to work out.” You can’t afford not to.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Like in a good way of allowing yourself to take care… the time to put in to take care of yourself in that way. So that’s what wellness looks like to me. Really listening and making that happen to what your body have what it needs and deserves, and nourishing and being active.

Wendy Lopez:                 

I love that, and I think also just being open to change. Because that’s been… yeah, that’s been… like, the ongoing conversation when we ask our guests that question, that wellness just always changes for everyone depending on what’s happening in your life and just being open to that, because I think especially in this culture where it’s like there’s just so many rigid rules around wellness, people get stuck on just having it be one thing, and that flexibility is really important, too.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Oh, I completely agree. And actually it’s interesting in my journey with yoga in particular, because I’ve been doing it for about 25 years. I’ve actually… my progress has been to be more gentle with myself, because maybe otherwise I would push myself into these poses and hurt my wrists or my neck a little bit, and I’m learning like, “No, that’s not worth it.” And so actually my journey, and my improvement has come from pulling back a little, and saying it’s okay. Taking my ego out of it, and saying I don’t need to hurt. I need to be responsive and more gentle with myself.

Wendy Lopez:                 

I love that. All right, well, in thinking about some take home points for our listeners, can you tell us three things that people can start doing right now to eat more delicious, balanced meals in their kitchen?

Ellie Krieger:                    

So take one hour on the weekend and literally plan out three things that you’re going to eat that week. And you can get your family to chime in. Say, “Oh, what would you like this week?” If they have any ideas. If they don’t, then go for it. And then make sure you have those ingredients, and then also look for… Maybe you have your basic recipes that you always make. Look for one new one. One new one. Maybe one new one every week or so, something you’re going to try a little bit differently that doesn’t feel too hard. That feels super doable. So I would say those two things, and then the other thing is to just make sure you make time for yourself.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Put that in your schedule, literally in your calendar as an appointment, and if a work thing comes up, you can literally say… Instead of saying, “Oh, I have to work out,” you can just say, “I have an appointment.” Because you actually do have an appointment with yourself, and I think that you need to honor that, so.

Jessica Jones:                  

Yeah, or I have a commitment at that time. That’s what I’ve been using.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yeah. Exactly. I have an appointment on my sofa, with a pillow [inaudible 00:36:38] 20 minutes.

Jessica Jones:                  

Can’t do it. So you have big news, right? You had a book, yeah, that was released yesterday, called Whole in One. Can you tell us more about it and where we can find it?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yay. I’m so excited about this book. It’s my baby. It’s my new baby. So Whole in One. W-H-O-L-E. So it’s complete, healthy meals in one single pot, skillet or sheet pan. And it’s available everywhere, and it has… It’s really great. I mean it has… It literally will make cooking so much easier, because it’s just one vessel. Each recipe is made in one vessel, and it’s a complete meal. So one of the things that I found when I was researching kind of these one-pot cookbooks is that a lot of times they would say like, “Oh, put in the cooked pasta.” And I’m like, “Wait a second.” Cooked pasta? That’s cheating. So this is genuinely one… It’s all happening in one pot. It’s not complicated, and it’s all nutritionally complete.

Ellie Krieger:                    

So meals have adequate protein, are chock full of vegetables. If they have a grain it’s a whole grain. So that kind of healthful, one-pot. It really makes it doable for everyday eating, and I’ve been cooking. It takes about two years to get this book out, and so I’ve been enjoying this food with my family almost every night, and I cannot wait to share these wonderful recipes with everyone. So the book is finally out, and I’m excited to share it. So it’s called Whole in One.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Yay. That’s so exciting.

Jessica Jones:                  

So excited. That’s a great idea, by the way.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Yeah. I love one-pots and one-pans because I hate washing dishes, and it’s…

Jessica Jones:                  

Yeah. It’s easy.

Wendy Lopez:                 

It’s just the best way to just throw everything together, especially when it’s like you throw it all together and it actually works, because sometimes it doesn’t. So I can’t wait to make the recipes in your cookbook.

Jessica Jones:                  

And there’s also desserts, just FYI, everybody. So it’s not just dinner and lunch. You’ll get some treats in there too.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yes. Oh, I have really yummy… I do love these desserts. I have [inaudible 00:38:39] really yummy and fun desserts in there. And also besides it being one-pot, the other thing I noticed is that sometimes these one-pot cookbooks, you have a million dishes, bowls and mixing bowls in the sink. I was very careful that there’s really only maybe one or two bowls that are required. You’re not going to have a lot of dishes in the sink when you’re done. I really tried to really keep it to a minimum. And it’s funny because I said my husband does the dishes, so this book is really a gift to him, because he’s the one that benefits probably the most in the end. But I’m just kidding about that.

Ellie Krieger:                    

It really makes it super doable. And that’s really my goal with all of my cookbooks. I mean I have another cookbook, that’s Weeknight Wonders, which is 30 minutes or less. Another book that’s make ahead. So all of my books basically try to tackle these issues that make cooking feel overwhelming for people, and just take it down to a really doable level.

Jessica Jones:                  

I love all of it. And we love it so much, we’re going to be giving away a free copy to one of you guys. So here’s what you have to do to get our copy. So you’re going to go follow Ellie on Instagram, and it’s…

Ellie Krieger:                    

E-L-L-I-E, underscore, Krieger. K-R-I-E-G-E-R.

Jessica Jones:                  

So go follow Ellie, and then also review this podcast. It’s Food Heaven Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, and let us know that you did both of those things. You can send us a DM on Instagram and we will pick a winner to get a copy of the book. But make sure you also just go buy the book, too, because you want to support…

Wendy Lopez:                 

It’s… Yeah, exactly. It sounds like a great cookbook.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Yeah. Oh my gosh, and there are so many beautiful pictures in there. It’s just like… it’s so fun to just flip through. And like beautiful pictures.

Jessica Jones:                  

Well thank you so much Ellie, for being a part… Actually, before that, let me back up. Is there anything else that you or any other things that you want to share with us, or other places people can find your work?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Oh, sure. Well, so you can go on my website, elliekrieger.com, and I have lots of recipes on there. I have video clips from my show. I have articles from my Washington Post column, so feel free to go to my website. Again, that’s elliekrieger.com. And then you can read about all my books there too, if you want to check out the new one or whatever.

Jessica Jones:                  

Does this make book number six or number seven?

Ellie Krieger:                    

Seven.

Jessica Jones:                  

Oh my god.

Ellie Krieger:                    

How exciting. 7th Heaven.

Jessica Jones:                  

7th Heaven. I used to watch that show. 7th Heaven. Anyone else? No? Okay. So thank you so much Ellie for being a part of this podcast. This was a great conversation. I’m definitely going to take those tips and run with them, and we just really appreciate all the knowledge that you shared. So thanks again.

Ellie Krieger:                    

Thank you, take care. See you soon.

Jessica Jones:                  

All right, bye Ellie.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Bye. Thank you so much for tuning into another episode of the Food Heaven Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode as much as we did, please do us a huge favor and leave us a review on iTunes. Do it right now. Because as you all know, the more reviews we get, the higher we’re ranked in iTunes, and that means that this episode gets out to more people. Listen up to this listener review by Abena Anane. “As a family nurse practitioner in cardiology and primary care, I use approaches taught and shared on this podcast all of the time. Practical interventions people can implement on their own are what helps us get and stay well.”

Jessica Jones:                  

Thank you Abena. I appreciate that review, and it’s nice to hear that there’s other medical professionals listening to this podcast. It means a lot. Also make sure to connect with us online. We are on Instagram, that’s where we’re most active, at foodheaven. We’re also on Facebook at Food Heaven Made Easy, and Twitter at FoodHeavenShow. Our podcast is released every Wednesday. Make sure you subscribe so you never miss an update. In each episode, we’ll cover tips and tricks for making lifelong changes to help you live a healthier, more balanced life. We also interview leading experts in the fields of health and nutrition to pick their brains on how to cultivate a healthy life that you love. We hope you enjoy this episode, and we’ll catch you next time. Bye.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Bye.

 

Leave a Reply

12345

Get our exclusive e-book with our 7 all-time favorite smoothie recipes