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6 simple rules for healthy eating

What should I eat to get healthy/lose weight/have the best abs/increase my energy/take over the world?

I’ve been asked some variation of this question by almost every single friend, family member, colleague and quasi-stranger who knows I’m a nutritionist. It’s a loaded question because there’s no simple answer. There is no one-size-fits all prescription for the cleanest, healthiest diet because each body has its own demands, intricacies and preferences.

That said, there are some healthy eating guidelines that work regardless of whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, Paleo-obsessed or simply a “real foodist” like we are over here at Bari Food Society. These are six simple, easy-to-implement rules that will keep your eating on the right track (and those coveted Bari results coming).

1. Ditch the diet mentality. This is the most important step because if you can’t get past the black and white concept of good and bad foods or healthy and unhealthy days of eating, you’ll never be able to commit to an ongoing approach to healthy eating. Shit happens — sometimes that shit comes in the form of a whimsical slice of pizza or a day when you were too busy to eat until dinner or one too many glasses of Rose (we forgive you, it was the first 65 degree day!). And you know what? You need to make room for all of those forms of shit in your approach to healthy eating. If you don’t — if every time you veer off the quinoa-paven path to perfect health, you decide to throw in the towel and call it a “bad day,” you’ll always have a tumultuous relationship with eating well.

When you acknowledge that diets and restrictions don’t serve your long-term goals and wellness, those caveats seem less disruptive. The immediate, actionable “to dos” behind healthy eating seem more realistic and desirable.  And those less intimidating, everyday healthy actions go so much further than an on-again, off-again vacillation between all kale and all carbs.

2. Eat every meal like it’s Monday morning. You know that excitement you wake up with every Monday morning? (No, is that just a Bari thing?) Even if you’re not excited to tackle your Monday morning emails, there’s an invincibility that accompanies Monday mornings when it comes to being healthy. After a weekend full of relaxation and vices, Monday mornings provide a clean slate for you to set the right tone for the week; they’re a time to do something good for your body. If you channel that can-do attitude to every meal —if you eat every meal like it’s Monday morning — you’ll continue that Monday morning momentum throughout the week.

3. Stick to real foods. This is the simplest rule to follow because when deciding whether or not to eat something, you can just ask yourself, “is it real?” If it comes from the ground or a tree or doesn’t have a nutrition label, you’re likely dealing with real food. If it comes in a package and has more than five ingredients or any ingredients you can’t pronounce, you’ll want to put that Frankenfood down.

4. Get acquainted with hunger, satiety and fullness. Portion control is an art because, again, it’s personal. What fuels you perfectly may be too much or too little for someone else. Get to know what hunger, satiety and fullness feels like for you, and do your best to land in that satiated middle ground when you finish your meals. Try eating three quarters of your typical lunch and saving the leftovers for later. If you feel satisfied for three to four hours, that’s probably the perfect amount for you. If you get hungry an hour after finishing, it’s likely you need a bit more to power you through your day.

5. Fuel your workouts properly. When you recognize that food is fuel, it’s a lot easier to respect your body’s needs. Our bodies do a lot for us during our 55 minutes of dancing, bouncing, sculpting and planking; they’re only capable of peak performance when we fuel ourselves with foods that energize us. If you’ve ever attempted a Bounce class after eating too much, you know what it feels like to be, literally, weighed down. Seek out foods that leave you feeling light, energized and nourished. Want some tips on pre and post workout nutrition? Check out this nutrition video from the BariTV vault.

6.The more (vegetables), the merrier. As Jamie Oliver says, “eat your veg-et-ah-bowls.” Plants are the backbone of any solid healthy eating plan because they have all of the vitamins, nutrients and minerals that conventional, processed foods lack. When you frame your food choices with “I need to eat more vegetables” instead of “I need to eat less [insert evil junk food here],” your approach to eating feels positive and abundant, rather than restrictive. Focusing on the good stuff automatically crowds out the bad.

Healthy eating can be complicated — but it doesn’t have to be. During these next six weeks of bari peel, filter your everyday food decisions through these simple rules and embrace the healthy food habits that work for your body and your life.

Want access to our full six-week nutrition roadmap? Sign up for peel for a week-by-week eating prescription, tips, recipes and access to an exclusive peel discount on Bari’s nutrition services.

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MM_Recipe 03-31-2014

meatless monday: broth-braised bok choy

One of the simplest ways to infuse a lot of flavor into your vegetables, without adding excess calories or fat, is to braise them in vegetable broth. If you’re feeling ambitious, cook a broth from scratch. But if you’re looking to pull together a quick and healthy Monday night meal, opt for store-bought broth and customize it with your pick of vegetables and spices. We like this served over a bed of protein-packed quinoa, and if you want your dinner to pack an extra protein punch, add tofu to the cooking broth or top with an egg.

Broth-braised Bok Choymm recipe


  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1/2 onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, very thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. baby bok choy, bottom inch removed
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • sesame seeds, for garnish


  1. Add broth, onion, carrot, mushroom, ginger and garlic to a large wok or sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add bok choy and cover. Cook until bok choy is bright green and slightly wilted – about 5 minutes. Uncover and finish with soy sauce and sesame oil.
  3. Serve over quinoa, brown rice or soba noodles, topping each portion with remaining broth and sesame seeds, if desired.
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MM_Recipe 03-24-2014

meatless monday: savory oats with a soft-boiled egg

I’ve never loved oatmeal. I’ve eaten it plenty because (1) I’m a nutritionist, and it’d be sacrilegious to dislike oatmeal and (2) it’s an easy, filling breakfast. Taste wise, it’s good, but nothing to write home about. This is likely because I have a savory-over-sweet-tooth and don’t often crave sweet foods in the morning. Turns out I was approaching it all wrong — several years back, I discovered that you could make savory oatmeal. Of course you could — in the same way that you can prepare brown rice with sweet or savory flavorings, you can take your oatmeal sweet or salty. Mind blown, world brightened — my like for oatmeal blossomed into full-blown love. Ready to discover oatmeal’s more delicious cousin? (Okay, I’m biased, but I promise it’s good.) Whip this quick meal up, and enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Savory Oats with a Soft-boiled EggMM 324


  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 tbsp. chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup spinach, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • hot sauce (optional)


  1. Bring water and salt to a boil. Add oats, onion and garlic, then reduce heat and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on desired texture.
  2. While oats are cooking, soft-boil an egg by either: (1) adding a room temperate egg to boiling water and cooking for 6 minutes or (2) steaming an egg for 7 minutes. When done, peel and set aside.
  3. When almost all water is absorbed from oats, stir in spinach until wilted. Then, mix in nutritional yeast.
  4. Top oats with the soft-boiled egg and add hot sauce, if desired.
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MM_Recipe 02-24-2014

meatless monday: vegan banana oat bran muffins

Part banana bread, part muffin — 100 percent delicious. These muffins are our favorite weekday grab-and-go breakfast/snack/pre-workout pick-me-up. They’re also our veiled attempt to healthify our favorite banana bread recipe, pour the mixture into muffin tins and call it breakfast for the whole week. Enjoy one or two warmed up with a pat of coconut oil or nut butter (preferably alongside a green smoothie or juice). 

Vegan Banana Oat Bran Muffins


  • 2 tbsp. ground golden flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 2 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1.5 cup blueberries (optional)


  1. Whisk together ground flax and water until well combined. Let mixture sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes until it forms a thick gel.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°.
  3. In the meantime, mix together mashed bananas, almond milk and honey. When flax mixture is ready, stir in.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together oat bran, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  5. Fold in sunflower seeds and blueberries, if using. Divide mixture evenly between 12 muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes and then let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
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MM_Recipe 02-17-2014

meatless monday: the best tofu scramble

Should you ever have the craving for egg-less scrambled eggs (trust us, it’s a thing), we’ve got you covered. Meet the tofu scramble — more precisely the best tofu scramble. We didn’t conceptualize this dish; it popped up a while back, at first on the (healthy) food porn corner of the interwebs and then on NYC restaurant menus, as an answer to vegan hankerings for cheesy scrambled eggs (sans eggs, of course). And we’ve thoroughly experimented with more flavor variations than you could imagine. This is the one we revisit time and again because it’s (1) delicious – holy flavor, is this really tofu? (2) healthy – protein, healthy fats, vegetables? yes, please and thank you and (3) quick, easy and versatile enough to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The Best Tofu Scramble
Serves 1


  • 4 oz. extra firm sprouted tofu (1/4 of a block)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 avocado, diced


  1. Place tofu on several layers of paper towels. Gently press out as much moisture as possible, then mash tofu with the back of fork. The size of your tofu crumbles is up to you, and they don’t need to be uniform.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper, jalapeno and tofu and let cook for about 5 minutes. You’ll want to stir this around once or twice but not too often; we want the tofu to brown a bit, and it needs to stay put to do so.
  3. Add black beans and corn.
  4. Mix together turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt and water. Add to the pan, making sure that the tofu is fully coated, and cook for another 5 minutes. In the last minute of cooking, stir in nutritional yeast.
  5. Transfer to plate and top with avocado. If you’re craving extra heat, top with your favorite hot sauce.



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MM_Recipe 02-10-2014

meatless monday: paprika chickpeas & kale

Want breakfast/lunch/dinner on the table in under 15 minutes? We’ve got you covered with today’s Meatless Monday recipe. The ingredients are minimal, the steps are foolproof and, with 15 minutes of mostly hands-off cooking time, little to no patience is required. This is healthy eating, simplified.

paprika chickpeas & kale

serves 1MM


  • 1 tbsp. + 2 tsp. coconut oil, divided
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cooked
  • 1 tbsp. Spanish paprika
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1/4 lemon
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 egg


  1. Heat 1 tbsp. coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add red onion, chickpeas and paprika to pan and toss until chickpeas are evenly coated with oil and paprika. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, gently stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.
  2. When chickpeas look lightly browned and crispy, stir in kale and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until kale has wilted. Season with salt and a squeeze of lemon. Remove from pan.
  3. Heat remaining oil and fry egg. If you love your taste buds, you’ll be careful to leave the yolk a little runny. Top kale and chickpeas with fried egg, and enjoy.
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MM_Recipe 02-03-2014

meatless monday: roasted root vegetable & farro bowl

If you feel like you’ve been eating root vegetables in excess since Thanksgiving, please don’t complain; they’re delicious, in season and good for you, so eat up while you can. If you’re getting bored of roasted vegetables, it’s time to switch up your preparation. One of our favorite ways to infuse new flavor into the trusty, old root vegetable + olive oil + sea salt equation is (1) roasting our veggies in coconut oil and (2) taking advantage of peak citrus season and dressing our veggies with a light, orange-y vinaigrette. Extreme veggie makeover? Not quite. But it’s pretty damn good.

roasted root vegetable & farro bowl
MM2314serves 4


  • 1 cup farro
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 large beets, peeled and diced
  • 3 tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (approximate yield of one orange)
  • 2 tsp. honey mustard
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shaved asiago


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Bring farro and broth to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid.
  3. Toss squash, carrots and beets in coconut oil. Arrange on two baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until vegetables are beginning to brown lightly.
  4. Whisk together oil, orange juice, mustard and vinegar.
  5. When farro and vegetables are done, toss to combine and add sea salt. Coat evenly with dressing and mix in asiago. Serve warm.
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MM_Recipe 01-27-2014

meatless monday: miso cabbage with sesame eggs

This is the ultimate “I feel lazy but still want to eat something good for me” meal. You know, the kind that Monday nights tend to necessitate. This recipe is so easy — thank you, one-pot meal — and so delicious that you can count on it to talk you down from the all-too-convenient Seamless ledge. We’re lazy sauteing (as in you can walk away from the pan and not worry about burning down your apartment) green cabbage in a simple miso broth and rounding out the meal by poaching a couple of eggs directly in the cabbage and miso broth. It’s perfect served over some brown rice or quinoa, but we won’t judge you if you skip that step and just eat it as-is out the pan.

miso cabbage with sesame eggs

photo (1)serves 2


  • 1.5 cups boiling water
  • 1 tbsp. white or yellow miso paste
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tsp. tamari, divided
  • sesame seeds, for garnish


  1. Dissolve miso  paste in boiling water.
  2. Add miso broth, shredded cabbage, salt and crushed pepper to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, until most broth has absorbed. You should be left with about half an inch of broth. If more has absorbed, add another 1/2 cup of miso broth to the pan.
  4. Make two pockets in the cabbage and crack an egg in each. Top each egg with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce.
  5. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through to your preference.
  6. Garnish with sesame seeds before serving.


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MM_Recipe 01-20-2014

meatless monday: citrus ginger green smoothie

Fresh off the detox, we’re craving greens, greens and more greens. One of our favorite vehicles for an easy, quick and delicious dose of greens? Produce-packed smoothies. As the temps drop — hello, polar vortex part two — it can be difficult to muster the courage (and warmth) to drink something… cold. But winter’s weather and elements warrant a push to continue cramming in as many vitamins and minerals as possible; the hydration helps ward off winter skin, too! Our citrus ginger green smoothie celebrates citrus season — and provides a nice dose of vitamin C to boost immunity — and relies on spicy ginger to warm you up.

citrus ginger green smoothiemeatlessmonday

serves 1


  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 cup of spinach, loosely packed
  • 1 medium grapefruit, segmented and seeds removed
  • 2 clementines, segmented and seeds removed
  • 12 oz. coconut water


  1. Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend on high for 1 minute. Pour over ice if enjoying immediately, or store in the fridge in an air-tight container and enjoy within two days.
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MM_Recipe 01-07-2014

meatless monday: cracklin’ cauliflower with capers

One of the tenets of my (not professionally trained) culinary philosophy is that olives and capers make everything taste better. Salt, brine, depth of flavor — what’s not to love? (Unless you’re an olive and/or caper hater, in which case we can’t be friends.) However, I’d never paired cauliflower and capers together until I tried the roasted cauliflower at Jack’s Wife Freda. (The menu doesn’t announce this, but the cauliflower arrives — delightfully! — adorned in capers. Best surprise ever.) Ever since then, cauliflower and capers have been inseparable in my kitchen. Why would one ever eat cauliflower without capers? (Okay, this delicious “cheesy” mashed cauliflower recipe is probably for the better without capers.) In any case, this recipe will (1) support my olive/caper theory, (2) make you a caper enthusiast and (3) make your taste buds very happy.


  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized florets
  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. flaky sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp capers (or more to taste)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix together oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss mixture with cauliflower florets and onion slices.
  3. Lay cauliflower and onions on a baking sheet, and drizzle remaining oil/lemon mixture on top.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until cauliflower is lightly browned and fork tender.
  5. Broil for an additional three minutes, then remove from oven and transfer to a bowl or serving platter.
  6. Toss with capers, and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.

Photo via Bari Studio

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