Keri Glassman: 2014 Nutrition Expert of the Year

Featured Article, Healthy Recipes and Nutrition, Nutrition
on March 20, 2014
Keri Glassman (5) horizontal - Websize[1]

Celebrity nutritionist and TV personality Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, has emerged as one of the nation’s top authorities on health and wellness. And it’s easy to see why: Keri is full of accessible, down-to-earth insights on health and wellness. On her website, Keri doles out shrewd advice for attaining what she calls the “nutritious life”—a life that’s full of healthy foods and exercise, but one that’s also full of plenty of laughter, love and vitality.

Keri has authored a number of bestselling diet books, including The New You (and Improved) Diet: 8 Rules to Lose Weight and Change Your Life Forever and the Slim Calm Sexy Diet. A national media presence, she has appeared on a number of primetime shows, from NBC’s The Today Show to Dr. Oz and many more. Recently, Keri joined chef Richard Blais as a judge on the healthy cooking competition show, Cook Your Ass Off, which airs on HLN Network’s Upwave. When she’s not dropping her two kids off at school, Keri is helping countless clients at her thriving Manhattan-based nutrition practice, Nutritious Life.

We recently caught up with the nutrition guru, TV host, and single mom to chat about her secrets for conquering stress, eating better, and living the nutritious life.

You’re working as the lead nutritionist and nutrition judge on the healthy cooking show, Cook Your Ass Off. What’s your favorite part about being on the show?

Oh my goodness…I loved it all! But definitely one of my favorite parts about being on the show was getting the opportunity to sit back and eat delicious, healthy food created by these really talented chefs, or “cheftestants” as we call them on the show. I’m not about deprivation or restriction; I’m all about enjoying real food. It was also inspiring to see the chefs take on these different cooking challenges and discover ways to create dishes that were both healthy and tasty. Because that’s key—the marriage of nutrition and taste. It’s important to show people than healthy foods can taste good, too.

In your book, you talk about taking a “whole person” approach to healthy living. Can you explain what this means?

Healthy living is not just about eating and exercise; there are 8 elements, or “pillars,” that make up a nutritious life, and all are equally important to personal wellbeing. These pillars encompass everything from food to hydration to sleep to sex. All of these 8 pillars work together in harmony to create a healthier mind and body. So if you skimp on sleep, you might be too tired to work out, and you might also make poorer food choices, and so forth. It’s a snowball effect. Everything from your environment to the liquids you put in your body to your foods to your relationships to pampering yourself—all of these things work together from a behavioral aspect and also a physiological aspect to create the best “you” possible.

There are so many quick fix and fad diets out there. As a nutrition expert, what would you say is the key to lasting weight loss success?

Lifestyle diets are always more effective than restrictive diets. Diets that are too restrictive usually set people up for failure—when you feel deprived, you end up reverting to your old ways, and you gain back more weight. That’s why I never recommend that my clients follow an overly restrictive diet. You can’t just be on an extreme diet—you have to make long-term changes. My most successful clients have lost the weight by eating only real foods and listening to their bodies. These types of changes are much more powerful than going on quick-fix diets.

What could we find in your fridge right now?

I have my staples. I always have Greek yogurt or Kefir; avocado; lots of vegetables; romaine lettuce and kale. Right now, I’ve got string beans and carrots and Brussels sprouts. I always have hummus and guacamole; I always have fresh roasted turkey, because my kids love that; I usually have some sort of leftover grilled salmon or leftover healthy chicken salad; and then some grapes and blueberries for the kids.

You have two young children. How do you encourage them to adopt healthy eating habits?

One of the keys is to offer certain foods over and over again. So if my kids don’t like Brussels sprouts one week, I’ll keep serving them until they start to come around to them. It’s often just a matter of acquired taste. I also always plate the food in the kitchen, with the exception of the vegetables. I keep vegetables out on the table so that my children will be more naturally inclined to go back for more veggies if they’re still hungry. My other big theory with kids and getting them to eat healthy is, “Show, don’t tell.” In other words, show your children how to eat healthy and lead by example, but don’t talk about which foods are healthy and which aren’t. Don’t say, “You can’t eat that mac ‘n cheese—it’s not healthy,” but also don’t say, “You have to eat your broccoli—it’s really healthy.” It makes it a big deal. You don’t make a big deal about brushing your teeth; it’s just something kids have to do. Same thing with food—don’t obsess over food. Take away all of the chatter at the dinner table.

You’re a single mom and busy woman…how do you stay sane and stress-free in your day-to-day life?

Truthfully, of all the different pillars of a nutritious life, stress is the pillar that I’ve had to work on the hardest. I’m not naturally a calm person; I’m naturally a revved-up person. Sometimes I can be revved up in a positive way, but other times I’m revved up in a negative, stressful way.

In terms of managing stress, there are a few things that I do. The biggest thing, hands-down, is exercise. When I wake up early to exercise and get those endorphins going in the morning, I just know that my day is going to turn out differently. Exercise is my therapy. I also meditate. Usually I do my own little quick mini-meditations, sometimes just an 8-count breath. Or, I’ll open up a spiritual book and read a few inspiring quotes, to bring me back to earth and realize that whatever I was worrying about isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Other times, I’ll give myself 5 minutes of freedom to stress it out. I allow myself to sit there and write down my frustrations on a piece of paper, but then I throw the paper out and just move on. It’s very cathartic.

What’s coming up next for you?

I’m starting a new online program for everyone from health coaches to trainers to dietitians. It’s a 12-week course that is going to have everything for you to build your practice of clients, as well as give you a good nutrition foundation to counsel clients in nutrition. So my website’s going to launch in March, and then in early spring that nutrition program is going to start.