Chefs' Diet Secrets
Keep It in the Bowl
Chef Nikki Cascone was a contestant on the Bravo Channel's fourth season of Top Chef. She says her naturally fast metabolism kept her slim for most of her life.
But after she had a baby, that changed.
Cascone finds that the chef’s lifestyle makes it difficult to eat well. “You’re never really off when you get to a certain level, especially when you own a restaurant. There are late-night hours, and it’s a very tense environment. I’ve had to train myself to eat healthy,” she says.
Cascone packs her meals into one bowl, filled with legumes, seeds, vegetables, and some lean protein (like chicken).
“She’s practicing portion control,” Bowerman says.
You could also control your portions by using a smaller plate. “It’s about the visual impact of looking at a full plate of food,” Bowerman says.
Tweak the Recipe
Diane Henderiks, RD, is a personal chef and culinary nutritionist. Her goal is to raise the culinary bar for healthy cooking. “I switch up ingredients to maintain the integrity of the dish without fat and sodium,” she says.
Henderiks’s motto is that any dish can be made healthier. She cooks with fresh and dried herbs, citrus juices, and nectars to make dressings low in fat and sugar. Ground turkey substitutes for ground beef, applesauce or yogurt is used in place of butter, broth or wine replaces oil, and marinades and rubs add flavor to meat without adding calories.
Cascone also uses a balsamic vinegar reduction (balsamic vinegar cooked on the stove top until it becomes a syrup) for a very low-calorie salad dressing.
For the home chef, these are great techniques that add up, Bowerman says. “Cutting fat and calories becomes habit.”