Stephanie Merchant is a food and lifestyle expert, author, speaker, and the founder of The Nutrition Mom. She offers simple, healthy nutrition solutions for busy families. Her real-life, real-food approach has garnered a worldwide following and extensive media attention. She offers online programs (and soon-to-be products) focused on clean eating, picky eaters, and real-food cleansing.
Stephanie’s Nutrition Mom community is a growing group of moms who are making healthy happen in their homes. Her first book, Chocolate Indulgence: Simple Healthy Recipes for All Occasions, is an Amazon bestseller.
Stephanie enjoys sharing the message that it is never too late for a new beginning and that food should not be so complicated. Her passion is bringing fun and family connection back to the dinner table.
Oola: What inspired you to focus on the field of diet and nutrition?
It was my own personal health transformation. This is my second career. After realizing how much I enjoyed helping others, I decided to go back to school so that I could help on a more professional level — and The Nutrition Mom was born. My tagline is Simple – Healthy – Solutions and that is what I strive to offer. I post tips and recipes on social media (Instagram is a favorite) and my blog. The media opportunities have been my favorite because of the large outreach. I enjoy the local news segments and talk shows here in Houston, but being on the national stage with Dr. Oz (twice) and sharing in national publications have been the most exciting!
Oola: It seems that families are leading busier lives than ever. The minivan never stops moving. What are some strategies or methods for eating healthy on the go?
Planning and prepping ahead are a must. We can’t just “wing it.” That’s when we end up going to the drive-thru or grabbing something we really wish we hadn’t. Time is an issue for everyone. My goal is to get the entire family involved and for everyone to work together.
For my family, Sundays are when we take time to look at the week ahead. Bulk cooking, freeze-ahead meals, and grab-and-go items are all things that I recommend. After working with so many clients one-on-one about this issue, I took the best tips and ideas and created an online program called Clean Eating Made Easy. It’s a lifesaver for many families.
Oola: One day we read in the news that something is bad for us, and the next day we read that it’s good. Is there a rule of thumb or method to use to figure out which report to believe?
Yes! That can be so frustrating and confusing. Science does change — rapidly. I tend to rely more on a common-sense approach. I teach my followers how to add in more real, whole foods. It’s a back-to-basics, simple approach. Once we crowd out the overly processed, junk foods, we start to feel the difference of increased energy, clarity, better sleep, and so much more. It’s a win-win!
Healthy can be delicious, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your old favorites, like chocolate. The number one rule is to pay attention to ingredients.
Oola: How can our readers live life to their tastes while maintaining a healthy diet?
One of my goals in creating and sharing recipes is to take our old favorites and give them a clean-eating makeover. My book, Chocolate Indulgence: Simple Healthy Recipes for All Occasions, focuses on that. Healthy can be delicious, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your old favorites, like chocolate. The number one rule is to pay attention to ingredients. That can get tricky in itself. But, keep it simple. Is the ingredient something you can pronounce and something you would find in your own pantry at home? Packaged foods are the most challenging, but the good news is that most recipes have healthy ingredient substitutions.
Oola: What’s a big trend in American diets that you think is really positive or negative?
Local supermarkets and food brands are listening and rising to the occasion. I am so excited to see things like zucchini noodles, jicama tortillas, and kale chips (just to name a few) go mainstream. It’s an exciting time to see awareness being raised and that awareness met with healthier options.
Oola: If you could only keep one of the following items in your diet for the rest of time, which would it be: coffee, ice cream, or bacon?
I am a HUGE fan of ice cream. It’s hot here in Texas!
I really want to share the message that it is never too late for a new beginning. It can all start with just one meal — one choice to try something new.
Oola: Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
As someone who went from eating junk food and never stepping into the kitchen to becoming The Nutrition Mom and making a career out of helping others, I really want to share the message that it is never too late for a new beginning. It can all start with just one meal — one choice to try something new. Try one of my recipes, or as items run out in your pantry, replace them with healthier versions. It’s just one step at a time, and I’m always here to help.
To Learn More About Stephanie And Her Work:
Website: The Nutrition Mom
Specialties: food and lifestyle