Samantha Cassetty, RD, is not the kind of nutritionist who’s going to suggest you live on raw kale salads, no dressing.
“I understand that no one wants to make too many sacrifices in an effort to be healthy, because I don’t want to, either,” says the Good Housekeeping nutrition director and co-author of the recently-released 7 Years Younger: The Anti-Aging Breakthrough Diet. “My goal is to make the healthy choice the tasty and easy choice for readers.”
Cassetty applies the same no-fuss, convenience-first approach to her own diet, choosing organic produce when it’s on sale, for example, and buying canned beans (no soaking them, or forgetting to!) rather than fresh ones. What does she whip up at home after a day of writing about and evaluating food? Cassetty gave us a look into her home fridge, and her own healthy day-to-day shopping and eating habits.
Okay, so I have to point out the Hellman’s mayo. Are you okay with processed foods? It’s hard to blanket all processed foods together. I’m generally not okay with eating very sugary things or refined carbs. On the other hand, there are plenty of packaged convenient foods, like whole wheat cereal, whole wheat pasta, canned beans, nuts, and nut butters that are a big part of my diet. As for the Hellman’s, I buy the light version, which cuts the calories dramatically without any major taste difference, and I mostly use it as a binder to make salmon burgers.
Gotcha. You’re a working mom. Do you cook things like salmon burgers on busy nights? Well, the other night I got home from work close to 7:00 p.m., opened up two cans of tuna and mixed them with one teaspoon sesame oil, two teaspoons soy sauce, and 20 almonds, chopped. I put the tuna into romaine lettuce leaves for me and into two taco shells along with more lettuce for my son. I also gave him a side of cucumbers, since I generally try to encourage him to have two vegetables at dinner.
Two veggies sounds like a good rule. I see you have Soy Dream. Do you prefer soy milk over dairy? I’m totally fine with regular milk, and I recommend it for most people. I eat yogurt and cheese, too. My son is allergic to milk, so we have soy milk in the house. In terms of a milk alternative, soy most closely matches dairy, meaning it’s the only dairy alternative with similar protein levels, so that’s what we drink.
Got it. I spy A1 Steak Sauce on the door. How often do you eat red meat? The truth is, it’s fine to eat red meat. I’m not especially fond of red meat, but I do enjoy a juicy burger or tender filet mignon from time to time. Sometimes we’ll have flank steak for dinner, and I’ll layer slices over a salad while my son has his with roasted veggies, some brown rice, and a little A1. It’s salty but he flushes that out with a lot of water and produce.
I notice some bell peppers in the bottom drawer. Do you buy organic vegetables? I buy organic vegetables and fruit when they’re on sale. But more importantly, I buy and eat tons of produce. The vast majority of research that links fruits and vegetables with better health is conducted in people eating conventional produce. Organic produce is certainly better for the environment, but produce of any sort is tremendously beneficial, so I worry less about whether I’m buying organic or conventional and more about filling my cart and my body with produce. —Jamie McKillop
For more information, check out 7 Years Younger: The Anti-Aging Breakthrough Diet