Celebrity Nutritionist Kelly Leveque is the first to admit that her fridge isn’t full of weird and wonderful wellness things, but it’s loaded up as simply and intentionally as can be.
We’ve learned and shared so much from Kelly over the years because she’s a wealth of knowledge when it comes to nutrition. That’s why celebs from Jessica Alba to Emmy Rossum and plenty of A-listers in between call her up when they want to eat well, look good and shake their food anxiety for good. Her signature approach focuses on the right balance of macro nutrition. Her philosophy is rooted in accessibility, and it makes it easy to make balanced meals and high-octane smoothies that keep blood sugar up and fat burning all day.
The mamma-to-be is preggo for the first time but that hasn’t slowed her down one bit. She’s working on her second book — a follow up to the best-selling for good reason book, Body Love. She’s also partnered with fitness guru Simone De La Rue for the Body By Simone App, she’s all over the interwebs and Podcasts flexing her knowledge, and she’s still seeing clients. We suspect that Kelly might have actual superpowers, but we’d also guess that the food she eats has something to do with it too.
We’re thrilled to have Kelly join our In My Fridge Series. We learned so much from her including a five-minute super healthy shrimp scapi with zucchini noodles to a masterful lesson on calculating net carbs (it’s more exciting than it sounds… for us, at least).
Food philosophy in one sentence:
It’s all about nourishment, balancing blood sugar and choosing foods that naturally regulate hunger hormones so I feel balanced all day.
Always in my fridge:
Lemons are sometimes in my fridge, sometimes on my counter depending on how hot it is in my apartment. I always have avocados, and depending on what we have for the week I’ll usually have a clean protein in the fridge as well — either grass-fed ground beef, wild salmon, or maybe a pasture-raised chicken that I can cut up and pull for salads.
Since I’ve been pregnant, my fridge is loaded with Mountain Valley sparkling water. I also love cold apple cider vinegar (I splash it into my water).
The condiments I’ve been loving are Primal Kitchen’s mustard and ketchup and avocado oil dressings which are great. I love fermented veggies, like Farmhouse Culture krauts, and there were a couple of weeks of my pregnancy where I just had to have garlic pickles. The tart flavor is amazing burst if you’re hungry and the blast of vinegar can help cut sugar cravings. I have it with a big glass of water, especially if I’m eating because or emotions or boredom.
7 recipe staples always on hand:
I always have ingredients to make my fab 4 ‘spa smoothie’ with greens, avocado, lemon and cucumber — I keep tons of cucumbers on hand to use in place of chips and in smoothies, of course. I also always have a can of sardines or wild salmon so I don’t have to work hard to cook, and eggs because I can make salads or poached eggs or scrambles.
I always have Jilz’s Crackers which are made with almonds chia and flax. They have a super low glycemic index and contain minimal ingredients. I usually eat them with smashed avocado or nut butter and make little sandwiches.
I also love to snack on hard boiled egg or veggies and a premade dressing or a little sprouted hummus. Sometimes I make an avocado hummus, and that’s bomb. If avocados aren’t an arm and a leg, I’ll buy a bunch and make hummus with a little lemon so it doesn’t brown.
If I’m snacking on seeds I use Go Raw mixes that are already sprouted. They have watermelon seeds which I’m super into. They have 10 grams protein per ounce! Watermelon seed butter is a great plant-protein source for my vegan and vegetarian clients. I recommend whipping it into a pesto or salad dressing.
Definitely super high-quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, Braggs apple cider vinegar, 4th & Heart ghee (I love their vanilla which is great in coffee), and any of the Primal Kitchen dressings or condiments. All the condiments I use are sugar-free, as that’s one of the sneakiest ways people load up their diets with extra sugar.
Ingredient that makes everything taste better:
Primal Kitchen collagen — it’s what I use in my smoothies and in my warm and cold chia seed pudding, and it’s definitely my go-to while pregnant because plant-based proteins have higher contamination of heavy metals.
When it comes to other things in my pantry, I usually stock canned sardines or salmon. My favorite brands are Safe Catch or Wild Planet — their fish is wild and tested for mercury which is great especially while I’m preggers.
I use Thrive Market, Vital Choice, and US Meats for subscription fish and meat because they’re clean and they’ll send monthly. My usual buys are pasture-raised chicken, 100% grass-fed beef or bison, or wild salmon.
I think people should be careful of commodities. When you go somewhere and look at commodities like chia, flax, cacao nibs — things everyone is buying from distributor or farm. If you’re comparing apple to apples in terms of quality they should be the same price, and if you’re paying more its because you like the branding of something.
When I can, I vist the places my food is coming from. I have been to the Now Foods facility in Chicago, they have great lab practices, they’ve been around a long time and have 1500 skews so they’re able to lower the pricing and give it to customers. I can always lean on them and don’t pay an arm and a leg for ingredients that are affordable.
Best label-reading tip:
I do one of two things: always look first for net carbohydrates, then from there I do a calculation for carbohydrate density.
Here’s an example, with chickpea-based Bananza pasta: total carbs for 2 ounces is 32 grams carbohydrates and 8 grams of fiber. To calculate the net carbs, do 32 minus 8 which equals 24. So you have 24 net carbohydrates for 57 grams, divide by 57 and that equals .42 which means it has a 42% carb density.
In nature, it’s not normal for the food we eat to have over 30% carb density. Let’s look at a sweet potato for comparison: 1 cup equals 27 carbs and 4 grams of fiber. For 1 cup serving (always divide by grams ) it would be 133 grams so that equals 23 net carbs divided by 133 equals 17% carb density. This indicates how high your blood sugar will go and how much gut bacteria you’ll feed at one time.
Most high net carb food will end up as sugar in your body whereas with sweet potato you’re getting 4 grams of fiber plus water vitamins. It’s a cellular food meaning its wrapped in its fiber cell. If you take something, even something that’s natural, and have to make a flour first and then package it as something else its going to be too much sugar.
Fave veggie + what you make with it:
I love artichokes. They’re very rarely in season, but they’re a phenomenal source of fiber. They’re really interesting and fun to eat. I love cucumber — it’s a chip! It’s a pickle! It’s in my smoothie! I just need a vehicle for all the fat dips in my kitchen.
For greens, I love the blends that have cruciferous veggies as they contain sulforaphane phoraphane and are very anti-cancer and detoxing. When you eat them consistently you can actually detox on a deeper cellular level. My favorites are baby kale or arugula as they are not as bitter and a little softer. It’s a great way to add some extra nutrients but they’re not as bloaty as cauliflower or other cruciferous veggies.
Craziest thing I buy:
I’m pretty boring, but the one thing I do buy that you might not have heard of yet is bitter greens. I buy perennial greens and sea vegetable powder and wild ramp powder by Dr. Cowans Garden. We don’t really eat outside our normal comfort zone and a lot of grocery stores don’t carry them either, but these can actually have significantly higher levels of nutrients and they’re completely sustainably grown and that’s what I think is so cool. I’m getting the benefits of vitamins and minerals from them that I wouldn’t normally get.
I’ll shake the powdered blends onto kale chips and bake it up in my oven. They’re kind of ranch flavored which tastes great with leeks and chard and zucchini because their 3 fold blend is made with these types of vegetables so it pairs really well. You can mix it into pasta too. Herbs and spices are an incredible way to sneak more greens into your diet.
There’s also Goldyn Glow — I love that company. They make really simple turmeric blends that I put into my smoothie. People expect me to have a lot more powders and tinctures but I’m very much a minimalist when it comes to that stuff because it just means it’s made in a lab. I pick protein powder that just has 5 or 6 ingredients (not vegan protein with 30 different ingredients, that’s 30 different ways to contaminate my ingredients, no thanks). I’m obsessed with Primal Kitchen collagen peptides to round out my amino acid profile.
Dairy or non-dairy faves:
I love coconut milk yogurt like Coconut Cult. I always go for unsweetened; I only want coconut milk and cultures, and theres no need to add sugar. When it comes to milk I do nut milks like New Barn or Malk, or macadamia milk which is creamier and amazing in coffee.
Occasionally if we’re feeling cheese, I’ll do a Kite Hill cream cheese. I’m not anti-dairy, there are days especially in my pregnancy (one of my biggest cravings is cottage cheese) where I’ll do a raw sheep or goat cheese. Being pregnant I can’t really do raw or soft cheeses, so sometimes I’ll do pasture raised, good, cultured cottage cheese.
Sweets and other indulgences:
The Good Chocolate Company (they’re sold at Erewhon) sells these little individually wrapped perfect portion shares of dark chocolate. They’re high in polyphenols, the phytochemicals from chocolate that you’ll get. The company is out of San Fransisco and they have flavors like mint, almond, and sea salt. You can buy individual squares, keep them in the fridge eat them when you want without opening a whole chocolate bar and having to exercise self-control.
Skip labels that read:
Look for sugar of any kind and industrial seed oils – safflower, soybean, corn, and grape seed oil. These oils have replaced trans-fats, but are just as inflammatory.
I live in Brentwood, so when I want to splurge I’ll go to Pizzana for a gluten-free margarita pizza — they have the best GF pizza around! If I was going for dessert, I’d probably go to Pressed Juicery for Freeze (which I don’t consider a massive splurge).
For last minute entertaining:
It sort of depends on the time of year. When we can barbecue, I will make a huge green salad and a fruit salad, and we’ll grill fish or chicken or kebabs or veggies. If I’m cooking for friends and it’s last minute I’ll look for fast proteins (you don’t want to spend six hours making a roast). Usually, I’ll make shrimp scampi with zoodles, ghee, olive oil, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, and wild shrimp. It’s so satisfying and only takes a few minutes to make.
Favorite places to shop:
My favorite place in the whole world is Erewhon. My second favorite is Thrive Market online, and my third favorite is Whole Foods.
Best food memory:
I’ve been on so many vacations to Spain and Italy, but my favorite food memory is a simple one from my childhood. I remember the feeling of eating after swimming in my backyard in Orange County – backyard BBQ style. We’d have pineapple chicken skewers and homemade tacos. We’d do this on hot summer days; we’d go to the beach all day, come home and swim while my mom prepared dinner. It would smell amazing and we’d be so hungry, then we’d sit down and eat as a family. It’s a simple, but sweet memory.
Simple go-to recipe:
Shrimp Scampi! In a medium pan on medium heat add: 1 tbsp of ghee and 2-3 minced garlic cloves. Stir cooking down garlic for 1 minute. Add 12 shrimp. (Rinsing and drying shrimp with a paper towel takes any fishy flavor out of your delicate sauce). Cook 2 minutes on each side. Add 1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes and 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley. Stir sauce and seasoning around shrimp and add 2 zucchini’s zoodled. Stir for 1 minute until warm and wilted. Serve and enjoy!
*Appliance Hack: I have had the expensive zoodlers in the past but I always use a $6 handheld dollar zoodler from Amazon, it goes in my dishwasher and I zoodle directly into the pan.