Mom-to-be and author Bethenny Frankel is one busy lady, but she's here to tell us how we can have our cake and eat it too.
Vivian Manning-Schaffel: With her new book, The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life, climbing the New York Times best-seller list, she's making the rounds of book signings and press junkets at a frantic pace. She took the time to chat with us about the unique challenges moms face when trying to eat right, and how preggos can have that slice of cheesecake without going off the rails.
Momlogic: How can moms find the skinny girl that lurks beneath?
Bethenny Frankel: The whole book is written for busy people like moms -- the person who'd like to cook healthfully but has no time and is frustrated with having to go to the store and buy a whole long list of ingredients, and get all their kitchen equipment out and then have to clean it up. My recipes are renovations of classic recipes, whether it be chicken pot pie, lasagna, tacos, or spinach-artichoke dip. They're really flavorful and tasty because they aren't completely fat-free. Taste is always the first priority. I teach people to cook the way they would build a wardrobe. Instead of having to go to a supermarket and buy a whole list of expensive ingredients that will go to waste, I cook by taking whatever I have in my house and maybe adding one or two things to that.
ML: A lot of people get to the supermarket and are overwhelmed with what to get.
BF: Instead of just giving people fish, I teach them how to fish. Instead of going to the supermarket and buying the same things every time they go, by looking at restaurant menus and watching cooking shows, they can become their own chefs and make food their own way. I tell people the staples that they need to have, so they would only need to pull in one or two things to make a healthful, tasty meal.
For example, I tell people to stock brown rice and pesto. If they have some kind of a nut and some olive oil, they can take the rice and mix it in with the pesto, and if they buy some parsley or cilantro, they can create a wow-factor side dish. It's very easy. I have recipes in this book that take three minutes to make. Don't be afraid to experiment and substitute.
The same thing goes for equipment. I'm a chef, and I hate busting out the food processor and having all this expensive, heavy equipment. You can use items that cost less than 10 dollars to make great healthy food.
ML: Here's one of your skinny-girl rules that might be a challenge for moms: "Never eat while doing something else because you won't get the satisfaction out of your food and are more likely to overeat." Most of the time, I'm eating while shoveling food into a toddler's mouth. How can moms in my situation get around this?
BF: There are exceptions to the rule. I'm pregnant now and I'm really busy, but I buy a Costco giant container of nuts and my assistant packs me a snack-size bag of them to eat before a book signing to keep going. You have to be a little prepared, but there's no excuse to not be able to be healthy. I did it on "The Apprentice," I'm doing it now, I've always done it. I don't always love packaged foods, but you have to choose your evils. It's a little more challenging, but you can always throw something in your purse to snack on so you don't go past the point of hunger and grab anything because you can't think straight.
ML: What about pregnant women? Are all bets off?
BF: You still have to treat your food like a bank account, just a bigger bank account. Pregnant people are in two groups. One group are anorexic, crazy pregnant people who don't eat at all because they are terrified they are going to gain weight, and the other group goes on one giant binge because they were afraid of food before. You have to be somewhere in the middle. You can't just go crazy and eat three pieces of cheesecake. You are going to be just like you were in my first book Naturally Thin and eat a piece and leave a bite or two, and maybe then you won't have something later. You'll make a choice.
ML: Has it been challenging to follow your own rules while pregnant?
BF: In the beginning, the non-negotiable hunger and the cravings were just surprising, but it does balance out and you kind of get back to where you were. I think that a lot of people are self-loathing because they've gone so far off the rails that they just keep it up. You have to kind of just reel it in and be healthy, eat your meals and try not to obsess either way. Just decide how much you are going to have, and if you have to have something, make a choice later. And after the baby, try and be relaxed about your choices, don't make resolutions, and realize losing the weight is not going to happen overnight. Keep eating like a skinny girl and it will come off in time.
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|