Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, is best known as the energetic and motivating resident nutritionist and health expert on NBC’s Today Show. This accomplishment, however, is only one item on her very full resume. Joy is also a columnist for Woman’s Day magazine, the New York City Ballet’s official nutritionist, and the author of 13 bestselling books. Previously, she’s served as Director of Nutrition and Fitness for the Department of Pediatric Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Finally, she’s a mom of three—daughters 24 and 18, and a son, 22. (Four if you include her fur baby, Gatsby!)
We love her newest book—her first one for kids—called Yummy Yoga, out October 8. It’s a beautiful collection of eight simple yoga poses paired with super easy, kid-friendly recipes (for instance, a plank pose with a banana smoothie and a forward bend with a fruit kebab). We spoke to Joy about her new book, her own family and more. Plus, check out her Berry-Banana Smoothie, below!
This new book is adorable—what inspired it?
I know from raising my own three kids and also working with countless children throughout my career that the key to getting kids interested in new foods and exercise is making it fun and interactive. I always wanted to write a kids book. The reason why I chose yoga is that it’s trendy and it doesn’t require any fancy equipment. You can do it with your children, they can do it alone, and they can do it as a group. It increases core strength, balance and flexibility, but even more importantly it can boost self-esteem, lower stress and get kids off screens.
The photography is incredibly cute—the fruit placed in yoga poses is so creative!
My dear college friend, Bonnie Stephens, is the photographer. She is brilliant and we are both yogis. She started to make these food sculptures and send them to me and I thought, this is it! We’ll pair these with kid-friendly recipes and help moms, schoolteachers, and caretakers introduce them to kids. Some of them only require a blender.
You are doing so much within the framework of nutrition. What’s your favorite part of what you do?
Without hesitation my favorite part of what I do is helping people. There is no better feeling than walking down the street and having strangers stop you and say my husband is off medication from your tips, or I didn’t know where to start and now I’m down 50 pounds and feel better in my 50s than in my 20s. I feel so lucky every day that I found this field—or this field found me.
Weight Watchers recently came under fire for a weight loss app aimed at kids. Do you have an opinion on this? Or thoughts on helping kids be their healthiest?
It’s really tricky with kids. As parents we want it all for our children and that includes feeling confident and comfortable in their skin and obviously being healthy. Forget about weight—we want to make sure their insides are thriving. I’ve always worked with kids, and aside from making it fun, we have to work hard at always putting a positive spin on it. We have to celebrate all of the healthy foods and why they’re specifically good for them. For instance, if your child is into soccer, [explain how] fruits, vegetables and colorful foods make you stronger, faster and a better kicker. Even with teenage girls, it can be about having a clear complexion and shiny hair. I love for kids to make muscles and talk about that.
Tell me a bit about your own kids—are they great eaters?
They’re amazing eaters—they have quite literally grown up in the kitchen. The kitchen has always been the heartbeat of our home. When they were very little, they were always in the kitchen creating with me and it was a place that all of their friends wanted to come as well. One time we did a “Cooking Idol” party with judges chairs. It was awesome! Now my kids all cook. I am a health obsessed foodie, and I love that my kids have taken the baton and are doing the same.