The best-selling author and Today show nutrition expert shares her quick breakfast pizza recipe, back-to-school lunch packing hacks, her favorite kitchen tool and more.
Joy Bauer
Credit: Lucy Schaeffer

Joy Bauer, M.S., RDN, CDN, is a nutrition and wellness expert, author, chief nutrition officer with Plenity and, most recently, dean of the Protein Prep School for the Incredible Egg. In that role, Bauer teaches parents about meal prep and planning and shares easy-to-make recipes with eggs as the star.

We sat down with Bauer to talk about her go-to breakfasts for both busy days and lazy days at home, her favorite kitchen tools and her philosophy on eating well.

EatingWell: Your partnership with the Incredible Egg has us thinking about breakfast. What's your go-to for extra-early mornings?

Bauer: I would say my go-to breakfast changes from week to week to week, but right now it's definitely my breakfast pizza. You have to make this! I use what I call my "egg in a pan" trick. I take two eggs, and I beat them, and I cook them on a hot skillet. Before they firm, I put a whole-grain tortilla on top, and I just let the whole thing firm and it takes about two minutes. I take a nice wide spatula, I do the ole fliparoo, and then I put some marinara sauce on top of the egg along with  some shredded mozzarella cheese and a little turkey bacon or poultry sausage or whatever you have in your fridge, then I just put the lid on it. I let the whole thing get gooey and melty with the cheese, and then I take it out and transfer it and I cut it into little pizza slices. I put a little fresh basil on it too. It's so great because it's packed with protein, and it's got the nutrition from the marinara sauce, you get the calcium from the cheese, it's sort of like one-stop shopping. And I'm telling you, it takes all of five minutes. So it looks extravagant, but it's so great on hectic mornings.

Breakfast Pizza
Credit: Joy Bauer

EatingWell: Speaking of early mornings, we're getting back into back-to-school season, so as a mom, you know best: what were your kids' favorite lunches and snacks to bring to school?

Bauer: My kids are my grown-up babies now, so when I think about what my kids are eating now, believe it or not, the main theme in the house is salads for lunch. So what I do is I grate a hard-boiled egg right over the top of their salad and it's almost like egg confetti. Then I put a little bit of Parm cheese on top and some dressing. Simple is the name of the game when it comes to Joy Bauer. This just elevates any salad, so I love this one so much. 

When my kids were younger, I think the best way to describe what I used to pack for them was sort of bento box-style lunches because they weren't into traditional sandwiches or full-on entrees, so we would have mix-and-match kind of lunches. It could be like a hard-boiled egg and a small bag of whole-grain cereal and maybe some baby carrots or cherry tomatoes, and always a fun snack! Even though I'm a health freak, I never wanted to be that mom that didn't include the fun snack…normally I would let my kids—either the night before or the morning of—put together their own mix-and-match lunches.

EatingWell: You touched on the bento box, are there any other meal-prep containers or tools that you use in your everyday life?

Bauer: I'm a collector, so this is a very loaded question. I like every single gadget under the sun: I like my blender, I like my sharp knives, I like immersion blenders to make really rich and creamy soups. I love my slow cooker; I'm madly in love with my slow cooker. But my No. 1 most important kitchen tool is my hands, without a doubt. 

EatingWell: For days that you have more time, maybe a weekend or a day off, what's a breakfast that you look forward to making?

Bauer: Frittatas. I love frittatas. What I love about them, aside from being packed with protein and being good old-fashioned comfort food—creamy, delicious, hearty and filling—is that they're also such a perfect breakfast or brunch to use up anything that's left in your fridge. I will throw in any leftover vegetables that I have, even other proteins; obviously you're getting all of the eggs in the frittata, but if you have leftover salmon that you want to cut up, any cheeses that you want to chuck in, you can add those. Whenever I make one frittata, it's usually gone in a couple of hours because we keep going back for slice after slice.

EatingWell: What does eating well mean to you?

Bauer: Having a 90/10 food philosophy, and that means going out of my way to eat smart and make nutritious, helpful choices 90% of the time, and then giving myself 10% wiggle room for things that I just love to devour: ice cream, New York-style pizza out and about, wine and whatever else in the moment.