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Joy Bauer on the Latest Health Trends and How She Finds ‘Great Joy’ in ‘Nourishing’ Food

"You can absolutely ... enjoy all the foods you love and still achieve all of your health and weight goals" she tells Woman's World


Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, CDN, always eats what she loves, but still manages to achieve her health goals. The nutrition mogul— renowned for her wellness expertise and lifestyle tips across the nation — was a keynote speaker at Organic Spa’s “Wellness Around the Globe” symposium in New York on Friday, May 17. There, the nutritionist, webinar host and the TODAY show’s resident health and lifestyle expert shared her five pieces of advice for leading a healthy lifestyle, what nutrition trends she’s excited about, and what women over 50 need to know. 

Joy Bauer shares her top 5 pieces of nutrition advice 

Bauer has been a leader in the health industry for many years, but she still indulges with her favorites — a slice or two of pizza, a glass of wine, and, of course, lots and lots of coffee. Unlike popular diet and nutrition tips and tricks, she doesn’t believe you have to cut out certain dishes to be healthy. “We can have it all; we can have good health, we can have delicious food, and we can feel sensational,” she said during her keynote talk. Her tips are easy to follow, don’t require strict dieting, and can be integrated during any point of your life. 

1. Set yourself up for health success

How do we set ourselves up for health and wellness success? Bauer pointed to attitude as a way to start real change, saying that it’s not rocket science to get healthy. “When your head is in the game for the right reasons, that’s when the real change will happen. You’ll be able to start a health plan, and you’ll be able to stick with it,” she said at the Organic Spa Media wellness event. Everyone’s reason for wanting to be healthier differs, so it’s important to “dig deep” to “find your personal significant and enduring reason” in your health journey, according to Bauer.

Set reasonable health and nutritional goals

Making both long and short-term goals is an essential part of the health process. Bauer explained that long-term goals could be anything from running a marathon to getting off certain medications or reducing the risk of genetic health problems. However, “it’s the short-term weekly goals that are way more important because they’re concrete and they’re tangible,” she told the audience. They’ll also give you the validation and motivation to keep going.

Related: The Whole30 Diet: A “Nutritional Reset”

2. Incorporate fresh produce with each and every meal

Fruits and vegetables for nutrition

Getting your daily dose of fruits and vegetables is vital, and Bauer explained in what ways produce rounds out a healthy diet. “They’re low in calories, so they fill us up without filling us out,” she said. “But way more importantly, they are filled with the good stuff: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants [and] fiber, so they shower our bodies with the things that boost energy, boost overall wellness, reduce the risk for certain cancers, dementia, [or] Alzheimer’s.”

Bauer’s suggestions for more produce

  • Add berries to oatmeal or cereal
  • Make omelets with more than one vegetable
  • Use five different colors or vegetables in salads
  • Layer lettuce, tomato, roasted red pepper, cucumbers, etc. into a sandwich
  • Toss together a stir fry for dinner
  • Roast vegetables for a filling side dish

3. Understand and set your protein intake needs

For a food group discussed so often and one that is needed for strengthening muscles and the body, Bauer pointed out that most people don’t know how much protein they need to consume. 

“Take your weight and divide it in half,” said Bauer. “That is a great reference range for how many grams of protein you need on a daily basis.” She also noted that anyone pregnant, breastfeeding, or an athlete will need more than that, but half your weight in pounds is the best ballpark. 

4. Learn to make healthier versions of your favorite foods and recipes 

This piece of advice is one of Bauer’s favorites. Rather than eliminating your favorite foods and recipes, swap out certain ingredients for health options to both aid in your health goals and satisfy your cravings.

“The idea here is to make a list of all of the favorite things that you love whether it be sweet, savory, cheesy, crunchy, creamy, and then figure out resourceful ways to up the ante when it comes to the nutrition,” she said during her speech. For example, she suggested changing regular noodles to whole wheat ones or using spaghetti squash instead of regular pasta for macaroni and cheese, or eating dates with nut butter and dark chocolate when craving something sweet.

Related: This Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe Uses Cottage Cheese for a High-Protein Upgrade

5. Stay hydrated and sip water throughout the day

Woman drinking water for nutrition

Water is so important, and Bauer said as long as you’re sipping something, whether it’s flat or sparkling water, coffee or tea, then you’re set. She noted that water  “promotes a glowing complexion and it also optimizes our energy because every single cell in the body thrives with hydration” and was quick to point out that humans are also made up of 60% water. 

“It’s our composition,” she told attendees. “So that’s why it’s so important. But hydration also helps to regulate your metabolism. And it aids in digestion [to] keep things moving along. So there are so many bodily functions that we need and thrive on because of water.”

Bauer suggested using the same calculation for water as you do for protein: Take your body weight in pounds and half it — that’s at least how many ounces you should strive for on a daily basis.

Nutrition trends on Joy Bauer’s radar

Bauer is always here for the body positivity trend, but what really excites her is the idea of eating foods you love and learning how to “healthify them.”

“There’s so many ingredients. We have so many hacks that people can do to turn a pie into something delicious, nourishing, and healthy — take mac and cheese, for example, and add butternut squash and sweet potato,” she told Woman’s World. “Also I love that people are realizing that food is love, food is enjoyment. It doesn’t have to be this deprivation or punishment kind of thought process. That brings me great joy.”

One thing women over 50 should know about nutrition

Regarding healthy living, Bauer maintained that you don’t have to be perfect. “This is not an all or nothing kind of thing, [and] when it comes to eating, every single meal is a new opportunity to do better,” she said to Woman’s World. She suggested giving yourself grace and shaking off the off days. “My philosophy is 90/10,” the health expert noted. “Go out of your way to be healthy 90% of the time, and there’s 10% room for wiggles and the things that you love.

For more nutrition advice, click through the links below:

Flexitarian vs. Vegetarian — What’s the Difference?

Intermittent Fasting for Menopause: Top Doc Shares Easy Twist Just for Women Over 50

Italian Twist on the Mediterranean Diet Boosts Weight Loss — Why Women Over 50 Can Benefit 

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