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Why Jenna Wolfe eats 425 calories-worth of fruits and veggies a day


Photo: Jenna Wolfe
Photo: Jenna Wolfe

As the Today show fitness correspondent, Jenna Wolfe has been on a mission to inspire people to make small, healthy changes that yield big results—first with the on-air “30-Day Fitness Challenge” and now with her new book, Thinner in 30: Small Changes That Add Up to Big Weight Loss in Just 30 Days.

In it, Wolfe shares quick, simple workouts and eating tips that do more than just help you shed a few pounds—they keep you dedicated to better health in the long haul. (Because, um, that’s what it’s all about.)

The key for Wolfe? Incorporating just one healthy change per day, including smart hacks like tightening your core as you do everyday tasks like drive or shower, so there’s pretty much no excuse to not try her method. (And if you’re in New York City this weekend, you can give it a try in person—she’ll be teaching a class at the Union Square Sweat Fest on February 20.)

I eat 200 calories of vegetables a day and 225 calories of fruit a day, so our produce drawers are usually overflowing.

Wolfe, who has two young kids, says she even learned some things about her own habits while writing the book. “There were so many little tips and guides that I used to follow that I’d just lost or forgotten after I had my two babies: chewing my food 20 times before swallowing, engaging my core 24/7, brushing my teeth after every meal to curb my sweet tooth cravings. It was eye-opening to re-engage my healthy habits.”

Nutrition is also a big part of Wolfe’s approach: Her own fridge, we found out, is overflowing with fruit, veggies, and healthy soups, showing the kind of prep work that make small changes (and big results) possible.

I imagine you have a jam-packed schedule. How does your fridge and meal planning reflect that?
Our refrigerator needs to be stocked at all times. Because we’re all running in a thousand different directions, we order our groceries online so that’s never an issue. We have a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old and they obviously eat a little differently (I drink almond milk and they drink whole milk, for example), so we need both adult food and toddler food available throughout the week.
Jenna-Wolfe-Fridge-1I see you have a lot of fruit and veggies in there. Can you give us a play-by-play of what you’ve stocked?
I eat 200 calories of vegetables a day and 225 calories of fruit a day, so our produce drawers are usually overflowing. We always have peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. A sweet potato with some cottage cheese is an easy go-to snack for me. Broccoli is eaten at every lunch and dinner in this house. Little Quinny gets it steamed and pureed with squash, while Harper, Steph (my partner), and I eat it grilled, steamed, or raw with some carrot hummus.

And dinner?
On lazy nights, we’ll make a gigantic salad with literally every vegetable (and a cut-up grapefruit) in this fridge. Toss in some protein (there’s a chicken breast on the second shelf), a little feta, and some almonds, and bam—dinner.

What’s in the large containers of liquid on the second shelf? And is that a green smoothie on the left door?  
We eat a lot of soup in this house, especially in the winter. You can see two containers of lentil soup in the front, a container of chicken soup, and some tomato soup. All four of us are soup eaters. On the left door, in the mason jar is fresh pesto. One of my clients is a chef and makes the best vegan pesto sauce. I can’t get enough—even just a tablespoon tossed on shrimp, a sweet potato, or on egg whites will do the trick.

I spy some not-as-healthy things like Reddi Whip and beer in there as well. 
I absolutely believe in indulging every now and then, as long as “indulging” doesn’t include three cheeseburgers, a whole pizza, and a milkshake. For me, a beer now and then, a Diet Coke, or a bowl of fruit with some whipped cream is just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. I’m okay with a tablespoon of Reddi Whip if it’s replacing a much-craved cookie.

If that pesto sounds good to you, we’ve got a few cookbook suggestions: Check out the five best new vegan cookbooks you need in your kitchen.