How did you get interested in cooking?
I’ve always loved to create, whether through artwork, writing, etc. As I got older, it was easiest to share my creativity with others through cooking. I played varsity basketball and softball in high school and would make team logo cookies and sports-themed cookies for home games. Before long, I was baking weekly batches of cookies, cakes, and pies to share in the cafeteria with friends.
Have you always cooked healthy food?
I started with traditional family recipes that I had seen being made while growing up, but as I became more and more involved with health and fitness, I began to modify my recipes to make them more nutritional. I know I’m on the right track with a recipe makeover when my husband can’t tell the difference between my version and the original!
You’re so creative! How do you get ideas for recipes?
Sometimes by sheer curiosity, but mostly just the desire to create something new that people will enjoy. I was raised in a household where we celebrated special occasions with food, and I enjoy continuing the tradition. I like making people happy, and the “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” don’t hurt either!
What tips do you have for women who say they don’t have time to cook—especially healthy meals?
I know that it can seem really daunting to get something healthy together for all three meals each day, especially if you live alone, have kids, or work long hours. Each week on my day off, I make multiple servings of different staples and freeze them in individual servings to use throughout the week. I always make a base like brown rice or quinoa, since it only takes a few minutes to steam some fresh veggies and tofu to throw on top. I also always keep a few cans of chickpeas and bagged dried fruit on hand to turn an ordinary bagged salad into an instant meal.
How do you stay in shape? What’s your exercise routine?
I feel very fortunate to have a multitude of aerobic and body toning classes available at Lucille Roberts, and I try to take a different class at my gym in Jamaica, Queens, each day. I enjoy working out, so thankfully it is easy for me to schedule in my workout almost every day. I burn about 800 calories per class, and LOVE taking Zumba! It really takes all the “work” out of “working out”!
What’s your favorite healthy treat?
The Double Rainbow Chocolate Sorbet from Trader Joes! With only 1.5 grams of fat and 120 calories per 1/2 cup serving, it’s a decadent yet guilt-free way for me to satisfy my sweet tooth.