21/05/2024 10:34 PM


Swing your Cooking

‘The Good Dish’ Host Daphne Oz Reveals Her Secrets to Meal Prep and Stocking a Pantry for Big Families

Co-host of The Good Dish Daphne Oz wasn’t always the health-conscious food lover she is today. The TV personality struggled with her weight throughout her childhood and only recently found freedom in the food that she eats and cooks.

“Being the overweight kid in a family full of health nuts, I needed to rejigger my relationship to the love I felt for food, the connection I felt to food, and the joy I felt for food while also taking good care of my body and positioning myself to feel as confident as I could in my skin,” Oz told Prevention.

The former host of The Chew received her culinary degree from The National Gourmet Institute and wrote four healthy eating cookbooks including The Dorm Room Diet, Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun, The Happy Cook: 125 Recipes for Eating Every Day Like It’s the Weekend, and her upcoming cookbook Eat Your Heart Out: All-Fun, No-Fuss Food to Celebrate Eating Clean out this April. Now, the 36-year-old sat down with Prevention to share her secrets for how she changed her mindset from struggling with the scale to enjoying every opportunity she gets to nourish her body.

Pack in the plants

Oz loves to lean into a plant-based diet for many of her meals. She told Prevention she loves to dig into a big salad and credits her mom for giving her a love for vegetables.

“My mom’s a vegetarian, so I grew up with vegetables being celebrated in a way that they are now in the mainstream, but they weren’t always,” she explained.

But the real trick Oz has found is the balance between a veg-heavy meal, and still saving room for protein. “My mom always made vegetables the star and meat and fish were the side portions as opposed to the main event, which tends to be the way that I continue to eat now,” she added.

And if vegetables aren’t exactly your forte, consider challenging yourself to get creative, messy, and experiment. “Cooking is one of those things that you can take up at any age and no matter how good you are at it, you can learn something new and be endlessly curious.”

Master meal prep

We’ve heard meal prep is a must for healthy living time and time again, but Oz suggested to Prevention to simplify weekly prep into more manageable steps. Instead of planning an entire week’s worth of meals and cooking them all at once, she recommends taking a different approach.

“We’re much more inclined to do things when they’re easy and they’re fun. The less hard I can make it for you, the more likely you are to get in the kitchen and make healthy food,” she revealed. The trick? Make two of everything.

“When I turn the oven on for anything that takes a long time to cook— roasting a chicken, roasting veggies, making lasagna— I make two,” she said. “So, I have one that’s fresh that night for dinner or for lunch, and then I freeze the other batch or put it in the refrigerator and I have ready-made meals that taste much more time-intensive than they end up being.”

And this doesn’t just apply to making a whole meal. Any time Oz breaks out her cutting board, she spends a few extra minutes cutting up vegetables for future meals. And if she’s cooking legumes or grains for one recipe or whipping up a homemade dressing, she’ll make a second batch for easy salads and grain bowls for the rest of the week.

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Hack the grocery store

As a busy mom of four, hitting the grocery store once a week just isn’t going to cut it. But planning for multiple hour-long hauls with kids in tow isn’t a great alternative either. The fix? Oz packs her pantry with essentials, so she can hack the grocery store into a few 15-minute trips throughout the week.

Instead of wasting time, money, and food, she keeps her essentials in her fridge and pantry stocked every few weeks with citrus, spices, condiments, and grains, so that all she needs to do is run into the supermarket for a quick refresh on produce.

“All you’re going to the grocery store is to get fresh produce and maybe fresh herbs. It’s a quick, 15-minute trip,” she said. “You end up with a meal that feels much more inspired by what’s in season. A meal that feels much more relevant to what you’re craving that day, as opposed to trying to make your food work.”

Once you master this, you’ll have the freedom to explore in the kitchen and make impromptu meals that feel exciting, she added.

Make room for everything.

The true game-changer for Oz was when she realized that cutting back on the foods she loves was in turn cutting back on the joy that food and cooking gave her. “I am an eater first and foremost. It is where I derive so much pleasure and joy and fun in my day,” Oz said. “I eat with a great deal of balance as somebody who genuinely just loves food too much to ever feel restricted about it.”

Many modern-day diets suggest resisting sweets, cutting down on carbs, or only eating low-fat. And while there is a time, place, and person for those types of eating patterns, Oz was looking for more balance in her choices. “The way I saw it, being healthy had to feel like punishment, or being healthy means having to give up things that you loved—and that’s not the case,” she said.

Now, she has found that following the WW programs has allowed her to keep tabs on the things she’s eating while building a healthy relationship with all types of foods.

“The WW program is so personalized and flexible. It genuinely wants you to feel like you’re in the driver’s seat. You’re in control of what goes into your body,” she said. “You can eat everything you want. Nothing is off the menu. Even just that sense of liberation, that freedom, is so critical to a good mindset and to feel empowered as opposed to having health be another job.”

She added that WW allows for some of her favorite foods to be considered “zero points,” meaning she doesn’t need to avoid them, and this allows her to keep a mindset of permission and abundance instead of restriction.

Additionally, loving food without restriction also means taking care of more than just what’s on your plate, but your entire mind and body. “WW not only treats the whole human—there’s focus on sleep, mindset, movement, and on nutrition— but it really addresses that this is a lifestyle,” she said. “This is a way to make sure you savor the moment. Feel free to make good choices. Feel free to make indulgent choices. Feel free to be human the whole time.”

With these tips in mind, Oz continues to thrive hosting her The Good Dish TV show, cooking for her family of six, and posting decadent-looking dishes to her Instagram account.

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