My healthy life: Anna Olson

Celebrity chef Anna Olson mixes short-term pleasures with a long-term philosophy

My healthy life: Anna Olson

Source: Best Health Magazine, January/February 2009; Image courtesy of Food Network

Pastry chef and Food Network Canada host Anna Olson is surrounded daily by the ingredients we’re told to avoid: butter, sugar, salt. Plus, she and her chef husband run two locations of their food store and bakery. So how does the author of two cookbooks stay healthy? "I use high-quality ingredients. I’ll make a cake with butter—but I’ll just have a small piece," says Olson, who lives in Ontario’s Niagara region. She adds that you tend to overeat when you are less satisfied. For her, there’s more to good eating than cake: On her new TV program, she shows viewers how to make satisfying meals with locally produced food.

Best of the season

“Instead of digging deep into your pocket to buy that head of well-travelled lettuce, winter’s the time to go for vegetables such as potatoes and turnips to make those all-in-one-pot meals.”

A kitchen that works

“I group things according to what I use together, so my Indian-cooking items are in one spot and my Japanese stuff is in another. That way, I don’t have to look in one place for the spices and another for the sauces.”

My meals

“Oatmeal is my breakfast of choice. I tend not to have a regular lunch when I’m working—I’m eating bites all day. But we always have dinner: something to nibble on while cooking, multiple vegetables, protein and a seasonal sweet.”

My guilty pleasure

“I don’t go to the movies often but when I do, I have the über-hydrogenated popcorn and the vat o’ soda!”

Nourishing reading

“I like classics, and when there’s a great food book out, I read it. I loved the A Year in Provence series.”

Time with friends

“I’m a big fan of having people over. My husband and I both love cooking, so it’s relaxing to cook for friends.”

Year-round approach

“Life balance is like investing: You shouldn’t focus on the daily ups and downs but on the long term. In summer, I don’t stop, but in winter, I have my downtime. I love what I do, so I never feel a need to escape my work!”

This article was originally titled "My Healthy Life," in the January/February 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today and never miss an issue!