As a popular dietitian and founder of the F-Factor Diet, Tanya Zuckerbrot definitely practices what she preaches in her New York City kitchen, which also doubles as her recipe testing laboratory.
Zuckerbrot's diet philosophy, which is beloved by hundreds of clients (including a few famous faces), stems from over 20 years of work helping her patients lower cholesterol and control diabetes.
The F-Factor Diet is based on a major guiding principle that fiber-rich foods are key to weight loss, healthy weight maintenance and good overall health.
According to Zuckerbrot, fiber revs up the metabolism and helps keep you feeling full for hours.
"Fiber acts like a sponge in your body, absorbing fat and calories in the other foods it's combined with," she told TODAY Food. Since many Americans struggle to get their daily recommended fiber needs, Zuckerbrot took TODAY into kitchen to show how easy it can be to incorporate more fiber into your diet for the latest episode of "Crazy Kitchens."
The cabinets, pantry and fridge in Zuckerbrot's kitchen are all packed with plentiful goods for her family. As a mom of three, she believes that it's crucial to encourage kids to eat healthfully. One of their first stops after school? The low-to-the-floor drawer cabinet that's filled with healthy snacks like air-popped popcorn and low-sugar beef jerky.
Zuckerbrot also shared hacks to incorporate more fiber into any meal of the day — even breakfast! Looking for a creamy, dreamy coffee? For starters, add in a scoop of vanilla fiber protein powder with your morning joe.
"It creates the most creamy, delicious latte, but it's filled with fiber and protein," she explained, adding that the fiber also helps slow down the entry of caffeine into the bloodstream, giving you more sustained energy.
Leftover crudite from a get-together can easily be pickled in a brine of half vinegar, half water (don't forget to add in some dill and peppercorns). This extends the life of your veggies and provides a snack that packs a flavorful, fiber-filled punch.
When it comes to smoothies, many people often add a banana for creaminess and extra ice to chill it (the latter of which can water down the flavor, prompting smoothie lovers to add even more sugar), but Zuckerbrot has a swap that's a fraction of the calories and carbs. Her secret? Frozen riced cauliflower. It pumps up the drink's fiber content and keeps it nice and cold. Blend it with any assortment of fruit and vegetables — you won't even be able to taste it!
It's crucial to stay organized in order to stay on track nutritionally, so Zuckerbrot recommends throwing out product packaging and standard boxes and investing in clear, vacuum-sealed containers. "It's worth it, not only does your pantry look super pretty, but you can easily identify what you have and what you need to buy more of," she said.
"When it comes to your frozen fruits and veggies, don't be a snob," teased Zuckerbrot. Much of the frozen produce available on the market today is flash-frozen at the peak of ripeness, so it packs the same nutritional punch (and sometimes more) than its fresh counterparts. Just make sure to read the label on any store-bought frozen items to make sure there's no extra salt or flavorings added.
Zuckerbrot also shared her favorite breakfast recipe: a low-carb waffle with deliciously savory fixings. It's so easy to make and it's a great meal for anyone looking to satisfy a craving for bagels and lox.