Joy Bauer, MS, RDN Joy Bauer is one of the nation’s leading health authorities. She is the nutrition and health expert for NBC’s TODAY show, the founder of Nourish Snacks, a monthly columnist for Woman’s Day magazine, and the official nutritionist for the New York City Ballet. Joy is also the creator of JoyBauer.com, the women’s health expert for About.com and the author of 12 New York Times best-selling books. Her newest book, From Junk Food to Joy Food, is based on her popular TODAY show series, in which co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb challenge Joy to turn fattening favorites into delicious, diet-friendly fare for the honor of the coveted “two carrots up.” The book is also the inspiration behind Joy’s brand new PBS special, which is currently airing nationwide.
How did you get into health/wellness? Have you always been into it or did something happen to spark your interest?
I’ve always been drawn to all things health; my family likes to joke that I chose “broccoli over Barbies” as a kid. I was also a competitive gymnast most of my young adult life, so I cared greatly about health and wellness. In college I studied kinesiology and then planned to attend medical school, but before I went down that path, I got a graduate degree in clinical nutrition. It was love at first class — and I knew I had found my calling.
What is the best advice you can give regarding health/wellness?
Follow a 90/10 food philosophy. By that I mean go out of your way to eat smart 90 percent of the time, and allow yourself 10 percent wiggle room for the not-so-healthy stuff we all love to indulge in. My personal 10 percent fix bounces between vanilla ice cream and pizza!
What inspired you to start Nourish Snacks?
Everyone snacks. And when your stomach growls between meals, it’s easy to grab (and overeat) those not-so-good munchies. Before you know it you’ve eaten 400 calories worth of junk that leaves you feeling bleh and bloated. I created Nourish Snacks to make healthy snacking easy, convenient, and most importantly delicious. All the work is done for you— I offer up a variety of flavors that come in perfect portions for less than 200 calories. Plus, they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher, and 100% crave-worthy!
How did you go about creating Nourish Snacks?
Everything starts in my home kitchen; I experiment with different flavors, textures, seasonings and ingredients. I use my husband and three kids as guinea pigs. Once I get their two thumbs up (8 thumbs total!), I turn to neighbors, extended family, and of course the Nourish office to get their opinions. When all goes well, we have hundreds of Nourish ambassadors around the country who weigh in too. It’s a huge team effort.
First, I launched the business online, and after a ton of invaluable consumer feedback, we’re rolling out in retail. It’s so exciting and surreal to walk into a Target or Wegmans or Safeway and see my goodies. Just insane!
What challenges did you come across while starting your brand? How did you overcome them?
Biggest challenge? Having to control the amount of snacks I eat during recipe development. No joke! It’s so hard to resist popping one…two…fifty in my mouth when they’re straight from the oven and calling my name 😉
How have you applied your past experiences to starting your brand?
Healthy food is my passion, my hobby, my obsession. I channel everything I’ve learned throughout my career as a dietitian (from textbooks and clinical know-how to real-life counseling experiences with everyday people), to make crave-worthy snacks that truly nourish. Keeping customers satiated and satisfied is a win-win!
What would you say is the most important aspect in starting your own company? Why?
Make sure it’s a true passion because you will work your butt off 24/7. Also, surround yourself with people who are true experts in the areas you are not.
What is the greatest advice you’ve gotten regarding starting your own company?
Stay true to who you are and what you believe in. Sometimes it’s tempting to take a shortcut, but in the end it never pays to cut corners. I work really closely with all of the teams internally to ensure that we maintain the highest quality standards.
How do you want your consumers to benefit from your brand?
I’m excited to provide the opportunity for delicious and trust-worthy snacks that are thoughtfully formulated to truly nourish.
What is your favorite part about pursuing a career in health/wellness?
I get to play with food and help people feel markedly better. What’s better than that?!?!
What’s your favorite Nourish snack?
It changes every week! But right now it’s a bit top secret…. a brand new formulation that’s set to hit retail in January. Hint: think chocolate + peanut butter.