I'm A Supermodel & These Are The Secrets I Swear By For Eating Healthier
Healthy eating habits can be difficult to maintain, especially on busy days when you don't have time to think about a balanced meal, let alone slice up an avocado. It takes commitment, creativity, and a pinch of mindfulness to uphold a nutritious diet—but over the years, I've learned more than a few tips and tricks to make healthy eating easy and efficient. Essentially, you can hack your eating schedule so that selecting nutritious food feels like second nature.
Recently, I had the chance to chat about these tips with Harvard- and Yale-trained ER doctor and founder of The TrueveLab Darria Long, M.D., in our first-ever episode of our new video series, Expert Insights. (See our full conversation below or check it out here!) Long certainly has her fair share of jam-packed days, and together, we discuss the most frequently asked questions I receive about starting—and sticking to—a nutritious diet. Some food for thought, below:
Imagine: You peer into the fridge hoping to discover a variety of meals to munch on, only to find a bunch of ingredients waiting to be chopped, roasted, or sautéed. And so you might opt for the grab-and-go option instead, which, oftentimes, is not the healthiest or the most satisfying.
Sure, in the grand scheme of things, cutting up, say, a whole red bell pepper doesn't require too much energy (it typically takes five minutes, max). But when you have a time crunch or you're itching to eat something, like, right now, those precious minutes do matter. I know if I don't have that bell pepper prepped and ready to go, I'll usually scrounge through the pantry and find a less healthy option instead.
All that to say: Meal prep is key. That's because convenience is such a big part of eating healthy—when you have nutritious options within arm's reach, you're more likely to choose those filling fruits and veggies. Long agrees: "Studies have shown that when families just put healthy food in sight, they are consistently eating better," she says.
Open my fridge, and you'll see containers of grilled chicken, sliced avocado, some homemade black bean croutons, and a few dairy-free cheeses all ready to go. Throw all of these ingredients onto a bed of lettuce, and you've got yourself a healthy salad in a matter of minutes. Make prep work a part of your weekly routine—it really does make a difference.
Bring satisfying snacks.
To stay fueled throughout the day, snacks are a must-have for me. And to circle back to the meal-prep point above: I like to prep my snacks beforehand, so all I have to do is grab and go. Even if I pre-chop some carrots or bell peppers, I can throw them into a bag and bring them with me wherever I go.
Sliced veggies will work in a pinch, but Long tells me that a super-filling snack ideally boasts fiber, protein, and healthy fats: "If you mix those three nutrients together, you will feel full longer, which is what you need to maintain even blood sugar and energy during the day," she says. That's why I often bring almond butter packs with me to snack on as well—that way, I'm getting my fill of protein and healthy fats along with the fiber from veggies.
Now, this next point may sound obvious, but it blew my mind: "A snack doesn't have to be a 'snack food,'" notes Long. For example, she keeps a bag of frozen broccoli in her office fridge. Whenever she's feeling peckish, she heats up the veggies, then tops it with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. "That's a great snack, and it's really delicious," she tells me.
I often subscribe to this philosophy without even knowing it: I'll sometimes create chicken lettuce wraps if I need an extra hit of protein. I'll tuck some grilled chicken into a lettuce shell and roll it up with some avocado. It's not a quintessential "snack food" like your traditional protein bar, and it's not a full-on meal—but it has enough protein and healthy fats to keep me feeling energized so that I don't get to a shaky, panicky state (otherwise known as the blood sugar roller coaster).
Keep a consistent eating schedule.
Of course, a holistic approach to healthy eating isn't just about what types of foods you consume—it's also about when and how you eat them. As for the when? Well, everyone has their own personal mealtime preferences, but I generally like to keep my eating schedule as consistent as I can: If I wait to eat until I'm practically famished, I'm more likely to overeat and experience bloat.
But let's be honest: Eating at the same exact times every single day is a touch unrealistic. My eating schedule can vary when I'm on set for a photo shoot, in meetings, traveling, etc., so I can't always eat as consistently as I'd like. Same goes for Long, who may see back-to-back patients in the ER. We all have our commitments and day-to-day pressures.
To help my gut health stay on track, I turn to probiotic supplements. I take mindbodygreen's probiotic+ every morning—so if I can't be eating consistently like I would like to in a fantasy world, it helps support what I can't do on the regular.* Long agrees, and she also recommends pre- and probiotic-rich foods to nurture the good bacteria in your gut (and help ease bloating). In terms of probiotics, she touts yogurt ('Look for labels that say they have multiple strains," she notes), kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
I'm allergic to dairy, so I can't have gut-healthy staples like yogurt and kefir; that's why finding a supplement or leaning on probiotic-rich vegetables is super important for my everyday diet.* After all, beating bloat is not a one-and-done venture: It takes consistent lifestyle choices to support digestion as a whole.*
Quick anecdote: My fiancé, Kevin Love, and I are pretty tall, and we both have been from very young ages. In our respective families, we were both growing so fast that we wanted to eat as quickly as possible at the dinner table—it was like a survival mechanism kicked in, where we felt like we had to gobble up more food than our siblings.
Today, we try to counter that survival mechanism in our household by eating slower and more mindfully. Not only does slowing down support digestion and help me become more in tune with my body's natural hunger cues1, but it also allows me to truly savor a meal—and this has a profound impact on my mental well-being.
In fact, eating more mindfully has been tied to relieving everyday stress2: "When you do eat, even if it's for just two minutes, be mindful about what you're eating," says Long. "Be present as you feel and digest it—those are two things that diet can do to really impact your stress levels." Even if you take just five minutes to savor your food while you eat—that's enough of a lunch break. Says Long, "I eat lunch with my son now that I'm working from home, and it just forces me to take a moment and take a breath." Simply be present with your food—chances are you'll enjoy it more.
With a few convenient hacks, healthy eating can become a habit you'll stick to, even on your busiest days. Again, find my full conversation with Long below, and stay tuned for more intel on our next Expert Insights episode.
Kate Bock is a model, entrepreneur and health & wellness advocate based in New York City. She is known for her work with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, where she made her debut in 2013 and appeared every year since. Bock has landed multiple fashion and beauty campaigns and appeared in a plethora of publications—highlights include L’Oreal, Hourglass, Clarins as well as Vogue, Elle, and Maxim.
Bock's passion and advocacy in the health and wellness, beauty and lifestyle space has led her to various entrepreneurial and charitable initiatives. She was recently named the Chief Brand Officer for the new clean and elevated hard sparkling water brand Pompette and recently designed the Kate Bock X Bond Eye swim line made through sustainable practices.