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Al Roker shares the 1 thing he does to make healthy eating easier

He also shares the healthy habits that have helped him on his road to recovery.

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Al Roker has a life hack for cooking more healthy meals at home.

On Jan. 19, he answered questions from Start TODAY members on Facebook Live and shared what's worked for him regarding exercising, recovering from surgery and eating balanced meals.

The legendary weatherman was hospitalized for blood clots in his legs and lungs at the end of last year and said on Facebook Live that he had his gallbladder removed. He also shared that his walking routine and overall fitness level protected him from what could've been worse.

"My doctor said the physical condition I was in because of the walking — because of the cardio — that probably helped save my life," he said. "Whatever you do to start moving, to start getting up and doing stuff —it doesn't matter how much or how little as long as you're doing something — that makes a big difference."

Al said his recovery has come with some unexpected medical advice.

"I've heard something that I've never heard in my adult life, which was 'Oh you've got to gain weight.' Because of my blood work, my doctors said you need more protein. I went from 190 pounds to 155 pounds."

It common to lose weight after an extended illness and Al says he's slowly gaining some weight back.

"It's been a struggle, but I'm up to 165 pounds, which I've never been," he said. "I don't know if I was this in middle school, but I feel good and as I get stronger, I feel better."

Al said he's had to be more particular about what type of balanced meals he eats since his gallbladder was removed.

"(My doctors) want me eating more protein. They had to remove my gallbladder. I'm somewhat limiting fat but I'm trying to do good fats. Last night for dinner, we had salmon, quinoa and roasted brussels sprouts and salad. And at night, I had a scoop of ice cream. As opposed to eating the entire pint, I just had a scoop."

He said he'll cook something for himself and his wife, Deborah Roberts, but he jokes that she doesn't always approve.

"She doesn't like food," he explained. "I make food and she's like 'Why did you put that stuff on it?' Oh, you mean spices," he recalled as his answer to her question.

When cooking, Al sticks to one rule: keep it simple.

"If its got like 20 ingredients, I'm out," he said. "Pan seared chicken thighs: salt and pepper, sear it in a pan. Maybe you sprinkle some smoked paprika on it. That's about it. Is there anything better than pan seared salmon?

Al knows fish is a hard sell for some people.

"I don't understand people who say 'Ah, you know it's kind of fishy,'" he described. "It's fish. 'You know this bone-in ribeye, it's too beefy.' Nobody says that. Roasting a good piece of meat, pan searing fish: they're very simple. It's very elemental. Fire and a little smoke and you're done."

Al's latest addition to his diet is more grains. He's been eating more brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes and fingerlings, he said.

"It's basic stuff," he said, and that's what makes it easier for him.

"We're trying to move more toward a Mediterranean diet. When we eat red meat, it's not as much as we used to get. Now a good bone-in ribeye, the three of us will eat that and most of the meat being eaten by Nick. Now that he's going back to school this weekend, we'll actually have food in the house for longer than an hour," Al joked.

With as much cooking as Al does, his go-to cookware is a cast iron skillet. Yes, he's aware of the debate between using an air fryer or an instant pot.

"No, I don't use either. I don't have an air fryer. You know, it's like one more thing. Do I really need an air fryer? ... From what I've seen, they're not easy to clean."

Plus, the cast iron skillet gets the job done.

"To me, all you need is a good cast iron skillet and you can make anything. I'll put anything I make in a cast iron skillet up against anything you make in your air fryer."


CORRECTION (Jan. 24, 2023 at 8:22 a.m. ET): An earlier version of this story misspelled Deborah Roberts name.