For those who were looking forward to seeing nationally renowned nutritionist, lifestyle expert and best-selling author Joy Bauer speak at the annual Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches’ More than a Meal Breakfast fundraiser in April, she apologizes profusely: “I’m sorry i had to cancel! But I tested positive for COVID the day before I was scheduled to fly down and had to quarantine.”
The positive test came at the height of nationwide omicron variant surge last spring.
Bauer, who is vaccinated and boosted, experienced relatively minor and manageable symptoms for a few days. But for those who follow her Twitter feed — on which she posts daily recipes and other nutrition and fitness tidbits — you may have noticed she didn’t post anything for a couple of days during the first week of April.
That’s when she got sick.
But now that her rescheduled appearance for the Meals on Wheels fundraiser on Wednesday at the Kravis Center has been confirmed, what can attendees expect?
A whole lot of fun, entertainment and nutritional expertise.
And attendees who purchase VIP tickets will be invited for a meet-and-greet session with Bauer and receive a signed copy of her latest cookbook, “Joy Bauer’s Superfood! 150 Recipes for Eternal Youth.”
Loves coming to South Florida
This is the second time Bauer — who’s probably best-known for her frequent appearances on NBC’s “Today” show and being host of NBC’s “Health + Happiness” — will be the keynote speaker at this event. The first time was in 2019 at the inaugural More than a Meal breakfast fundraiser.
Meals on Wheels board member Susan Kirkpatrick noted that Bauer put on such a fun, informative, interactive session that “we brought her back by popular demand.”
Bauer was equally effusive in how she felt about the response she received from her South Florida audience: “They were so enthusiastic and compassionate — and really knowledgeable about nutrition and fitness.”
Whenever Bauer speaks to such groups, she tries to “inspire them to be their best selves and help others be their best selves.”
That said, she’ll also stress that you need not be perfect in your approach to nutrition.
She subscribes to the “90-10 plan” — that is, as long as you follow a healthy regimen 90% of the time, you can use the other 10% of the time “to indulge.”
She also has some creative suggestions for “healthifying” your favorite foods.
“If you love pasta, there are plenty of delicious low-carb options out there,” she says. “Or you can use spiral-cut zucchini to provide the texture of pasta. Same goes for replacing mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower. I’m telling you — you might not even notice the difference.”
Dessert replacements (especially for chocoholics) are another specialty: She has recipes for 150-calorie chocolate muffins, 150-calorie chocolate lava cake, dairy-free chocolate ice cream, air fryer banana splits, apple cranberry tarts and strawberry shortcake donuts, among hundreds or others.
Spreading her message far and wide
Long before Bauer, 58, became a public figure, she knew about the vital work done by Meals on Wheels volunteers.
That’s because she was one.
“When I was growing up, my mother and I would deliver meals to Meals on Wheels recipients,” she says. “We did it for years and got to know the people we delivered to. We developed some really meaningful relationships with those people.”
No doubt that informed her decision to go into the health and nutrition field.
Prior to becoming a nationally known media figure, Bauer was the director of nutrition and fitness for the Department of Pediatric Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, as well as the clinical dietitian for the hospital’s neurosurgical team.
The married mother of three also taught anatomy, physiology and sports nutrition at New York University’s School of Continuing Education, eventually building one of the nation’s largest private nutrition centers.
Recognizing that underprivileged kids face obstacles in obtaining proper nutrition, Bauer created and implemented “Heart Smart Kids,” a health program for underserved youth in Harlem.
For the past decade, she’s also been the official nutritionist for the New York City Ballet — which she says presents a unique set of challenges.
“These are elite athletes who burn an excessive number of calories daily,” she explains. “What they eat needs to replenish their energy as well as repair muscles and soft tissue, and maintain their bone density. But they have really busy schedules. So we stress the importance of fueling their bodies with healthy, high-quality, nutrient-dense meals — and teach them how quick and easy they can be to prepare.”
In other words, she helps them implement the mantra she lives by — the one that sits atop her website (joybauer.com): “Life is hard, food should be easy.”
if you go
What: More than a Meal Breakfast benefiting Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches
When: 7:30 am Wednesday
Where: Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
Admission: $175 and up
Save at the market
If you’re experiencing sticker shock at the grocery store, Joy Bauer has a few tips to help make your dollar go further:
- Make a list before going shopping — and stick to it: “That way, you’re not impulsively sticking things in your shopping cart.”
- Buy fresh produce if you’re going to use it in the next few days — “but don’t be afraid to buy frozen vegetables.”
- Home-prepared meals need not be elaborate productions. “We’re all busier than ever so you want to be as efficient as possible in the kitchen. The recipes I follow are about as quick and easy as they come — and require little or no preparation.”