Food Network legend Bobby Flay has been around since the ’90s, bringing us ridiculously good recipes that make us want to reach inside our TVs and just stuff our faces. But despite owning multiple grill, burger and steakhouses across the United States, Bobby has always been vocal about living a healthy life. He’s even written a book, Bobby Flay Fit, and has his own fitness website.
Now with S4 of Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction hitting our screens, Bobby shares some of his top tips on healthier eating while still enjoying a sticky rack of ribs.
“Through my shows, I’ve made myself a lifestyle authority, which means I have a responsibility to live well,” On his website, Bobby writes, “One of our responsibilities to ourselves is to take care of our bodies, inside and out. If we don't take care of ourselves, then we can't take care of others. We have to take charge of our own happiness and healthfulness, and one way that I personally achieve a joyful existence is through healthy eating and exercise.” Still not feeling it? Bobby also claims that he works out so that he’ll have a little wiggle room in his diet.
Easy does it
The first rule that Bobby lives by is moderation. He shifted his extra weight “by making common sense choices – eating what I love in the right portions and not eating late at night. There are no tricks to the process. You can eat everything you want in moderation – it’s really about calories in and calories spent,” he says. “When I cooked at home, I started with small steps, like cutting down my portions by 25 percent. I still prepare a lot of my own meals, even for when I travel, and I always measure them out carefully. I also cut down on carbs and added salads into the equation,” Bobby adds.
Everything in proportion
Bobby encourages food lovers to continue enjoying the food they love – but be sensible about it. He advises against suffering through your meals. “I don’t eat it if it doesn’t taste good – it’s just not worth it,” says Bobby. “I eat what I want, but stay careful about how much I eat and follow that 75 percent rule (a little cheating is allowed the other 25 percent of the time). Ice cream is my danger zone, but I’ll never cut it out of my life. I’d be an unhappy man if I did. That said, I don’t sit down and eat a quart of it while watching a football game like I used to,” says Bobby.
Working out is a drag for most of us. Bobby stays prepared with a quick, healthy snack that he can pack in with his water bottle to eat on the way to the gym. His chocolate coconut granola is one of his favourites, and it has replaced his favourite chocolate bar in his life. Bobby drinks a lot of water, and not just while he’s working out. “I drink a crazy amount of water to keep from overindulging during the hours I work dinner service,” he hints.
Routine is king (or queen)
Call a friend
If you’re struggling to remain committed and disciplined in your journey toward a healthier you, include a friend. Sometimes the simple idea of having someone else chasing the same goals (and keeping an eye on you) is enough to keep you going. On his fitness show, Bobby’s workout buddy is his friend, chef Michael Symon, and you can see them egging each other on as they poker through their kettlebell workout.
Have a few healthy go-to recipes on hand for those days you simply can’t stand the thought of having to slave behind the stove. Bobby has a few yummy meals you can whip up in a flash – and you don’t need to be a Michelin-star chef to make them. He also urges fans to re-think their plate proportions, though. “Go vegetable heavy. Reverse the psychology of your plate by making meat the side dish and vegetables the main course,” he says.
Sometimes, expert advice is the best option when it comes to health matters, If you’re unsure about whether you’re doing a particular exercise routine correctly, chat to a personal trainer. This will prevent any unnecessary injuries and could even help you enjoy your exercises even more. The same rule applies to your dietary choices – if in doubt, reach out to an expert. Bobby’s personal trainer is Harold L. Raschke-Robinson who supervises him while he does special stretching exercises, even though Bobby can get through the rest of his routine himself.
Spice up your life
Bobby is a firm believer in the magic of spices. Adding a sprinkle of chilli to a healthy pasta dish, or a touch of paprika to roast chicken can bring any potentially sad meal to life. Grab some spicy ideas from the grill master himself. Bobby also advises that high-calorie, flavourful ingredients like cream and butter can be eased back – “use a little bit and make it count,” he advises – if you build flavour through using aromatics like onion and garlic and shallots, chillies and mushrooms (using stock instead of water where possible boosts flavour without adding too many calories). During lockdown, Bobby has been flavouring his rice using the stock that he makes from shrimp shells.
Finally, we know it’s difficult, especially when that beef stew was so good! But resist the urge to go for seconds. “Eat food that tastes good but make sure to portion-control; if it feels like you're eating too much, you probably are,” Bobby says.
Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction S4 airs Mondays on Food Network (DStv 175) at 19:00 or on Catch Up