Nutritionist Kelly LeVeque’s Fab Four to Get in Shape
By Melinda Fulmer
Holistic nutritionist and health coach Kelly LeVeque has helped some of Hollywood’s biggest names—from Jennifer Garner to Chelsea Handler to Jessica Alba—get in their best shape ever by helping them balance what’s on their plate without taking food off the table.
“It’s all about intuitive eating and focusing on whole food so you don’t have to count calories or weigh your food,” LeVeque explains.
Her latest book, “Body Love Every Day” (William Morrow, December 2019), the second in the “Body Love” series, expands on her “Fab Four” approach to eating, which involves making sure that you have enough protein, fat, fiber and greens on your plate at each meal to balance your blood sugar and hormones and keep you feeling full.
Where diets go wrong
Many clients come to Kelly LeVeque with a very rigid approach to food. If they don’t follow a diet plan to the letter, they feel like a failure and then swing to a binge before attempting to correct with a too-restrictive cleanse.
LeVeque heads off that guilt and shame spiral by having her clients focus on what the next positive step might be for their body that day, whether it’s a workout, a green smoothie or simply defrosting some veggies to eat with dinner.
She also reminds them to take time each day to feel proud and grateful for the small positive changes they are making, as it increases the chance that they will stick to them.
And rather than making sweeping changes to your entire diet, she suggests starting with only the first third of the day, making sure you have a solid routine built with a healthy breakfast and a morning workout before attempting to overhaul lunch and dinner.
The Fab Four
Kelly LeVeque centers her approach around eating three Fab Four–based meals a day, with the following portions in mind: A serving of protein is palm-size, fat should be the size of one to two thumbs, and fiber and greens should be the size of two to four fists. Here are the categories to build your meal.
Fiber – LeVeque prefers her clients to get most of their fiber from non-starchy vegetables and chia seeds, hempseeds and flaxseeds, as well as the occasional sweet potato, rather than whole grains. These fiber sources are more nutrient-dense, she says, fight oxidative stress and multiply the healthy bacteria in your gut. But if you choose to have processed carbohydrates, LeVeque says, it’s wise to check the label for the net carbohydrate count, or the total carbs in a serving minus the fiber, so you don’t wind up with a food that spikes your blood sugar.
Fat – Healthy fats such as those from nuts, avocadoes and olives, as well as grass-fed ghee and butter, are all solid choices that help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins and keep you feeling full until your next meal.
Greens – LeVeque adds leafy greens and colorful vegetables to the plate to add key phytonutrients, which help stimulate the release of antioxidants and enzymes to attack free radicals and fight inflammation. Broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and green beans are all great choices, and she swaps squash and zucchini noodles for pasta and cauliflower rice for starchy grains in dishes.
Protein – Seafood, chicken, beef, pork and plant-based protein such as seeds, nuts and beans are also a staple of the Fab Four lifestyle, as are plant- and animal-based protein powders, which are a staple in her morning smoothies and covered extensively in the new book.
“I consider myself a protein powder sommelier,” she says jokingly. And she adds that when people start their day with enough protein, they eat less and have fewer cravings throughout the day.
Start with a smoothie
While some of her clients do stick with the warm breakfasts in her book—such as omelets, warm chia pudding, protein pancakes and triple-seed “fauxmeal”—most find it easier during the week to simply pour all their Fab Four nutrients in a smoothie.
Garner, for example, worked with Kelly LeVeque to create a cookies and cream smoothie with chocolate protein powder, spinach, blueberries and almond butter to keep her full until lunch.
“You have to find those healthy options you love,” LeVeque says, “so you can make it a lifestyle.”
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Photo credit: Matthew Morgan Photography