Embracing Food and Fitness

It has to be impossible to be surrounded by gourmet food non-stop and still maintain a healthy weight, right?

Not for An’s executive chef, Steven Greene. His dedication to staying fit and enjoying food serves as inspiration for surviving the home-cooked holidays and starting the new year off on a healthy foot.

We chatted with him about food, fitness and avoiding temptation.

What is your biggest food weakness? Bacon or chocolate. They are about equal in my book.

Which is more important, food or exercise? Food is more important in my eyes because it nourishes your body, but I am a huge fan of exercise.

What does your fitness routine involve? About five days of weight and cardio training with usually one day of plyometrics or golf if possible.

How do you stay around food all day and not give in to temptation? Lots of discipline!!!

What tips can you offer on surviving holiday parties and buffets without packing on the pounds? Try to eat smaller portions instead of gorging yourself in one sitting. It’s OK to indulge as long as you don’t overdo it.

Is there any truth in the saying “never trust a skinny chef”? I think that’s something that started maybe in the ’70s or ’80s. I think with Food TV you have a lot more chefs out there and most seem to be in decent shape. If you are a chef and not in very good health, it can not only hinder your quickness of movement in the kitchen but also your longevity (I think our generation can’t retire until 67).

Have you made any new year’s resolutions? Yes, of course, but it wasn’t to get in the gym more!

Can you offer any suggestions for those looking to work new healthy foods into their diet? Try to eat wheat bread if you are eating bread. Try to use grains like quinoa, steel cut oats or brown rice. Incorporate nuts and fresh vegetables in your home cooking.

Do you believe there’s a “secret” to maintaining a healthy lifestyle without being miserable? Yes. It’s called exercise! If you exercise a few days a week you can eat small amounts of most things you want to eat. As long as you don’t eat the bad stuff every day.

Take a look at Chef Greene’s holiday traditions — and learn one of his family recipes — in our Home for the Holidays feature.

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