Welcome to Kitchn's new series My Healthy Morning, where we show you how one person greets the day in a way that makes them feel their best. Each post will chronicle how that person defines healthy for themselves, and the habits and recipes that make their morning a little bit better.
Writer and cookbook author Colu Henry lives in Hudson, New York, with her husband, Chad, and their dog, Joshie. She is the author of the recently released Back Pocket Pasta, which is all about making delicious and sophisticated pasta recipes on the fly (and who doesn't want that?). As the former Director of Special Projects at Bon Appétit and current co-owner of Otto's Market in Germantown, Colu has made a career out of food, which is why we were hungry to get a peek into how she does breakfast. Read all about how Colu's morning routine in this week's My Healthy Morning post.
What Does Healthy Mean for You?
Everything in moderation! Cooking and drinking for a living can be challenging, and it's easy to fall off track. Try writing a book on pasta! I lean towards a vegetable-driven diet and use meat as an accessory. But let's be honest — more than once in a while I do love a grilled bone-in ribeye or slow-roasted pork shoulder.
I make it a priority to hit the farmers market on weekends to make sure I have a fridge full of leafy greens and vegetables like kohlrabi, fennel, and radishes to snack on. In general, setting myself up with healthy alternatives gets me through the week. That said, I try not to deny myself of anything and realize that some weeks will be harder than others due to social commitments, which there are a lot of. Try to listen to your body and give it what it needs. Sometimes it's a cheeseburger and a beer.
My Healthy Morning Routine
I use my phone as my alarm clock and it's set for 7:30 a.m., but I'm always up before it goes off. I'm in charge of feeding our pup, Joshie, so as soon as I stir it's go time. I chug a quart container of water and we head downstairs. I feed him before reaching for my cup of coffee, which I take with a generous splash of half-and-half. Nothing healthy about that, but I'm not willing to compromise. I always make coffee the night before in my Cuisinart drip machine with Peet's coffee. I set it to go off at 6:40 a.m. so it's ready for me when I wake up.
I wish I could say that I grind my beans and use a French press, but I just don't. The quicker the better for me in the morning.
I then head back upstairs to drink coffee in bed and catch up on the news and answer emails, which I do on my phone. Let's be honest — I'm also checking social media and checking in on friends via text. I continue to drink water by way of the quart container. This might seems odd, but I interned as a prep cook last summer and that's the way we drink water in the kitchen. It's a great way to hydrate and keep track of how much you're drinking. I'm eight cups down by 9 a.m.!
I work out three to four times a week and switch off between Pilates and a very cool new movement-based HIIT class taught by Greg Ramirez who started The Gun Club Brooklyn before moving Upstate this spring. I'm super into it. All the classes I take start around 10 a.m., so I make sure to make myself a healthy breakfast before I head out.
I'm not a sweets person, so a savory start is always on deck. I try to keep it interesting, but it usually involves a jammy egg or two on whole-grain toast or a Joseph's pita topped with whatever fresh herbs I have on hand. Sometimes I'll also add 1/4 avocado. I also love using leftovers for breakfast, so I frequently work last night's sautéed vegetables into a scramble. Kimchi and eggs are also high on my list. In colder months, I've been known to make oatmeal and top it with flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper.
After I've eaten, I grab my headphones and head out the door to hoof it to class. I don't walk as much as I did when I lived in Brooklyn, so I look for any chance I can get to move. It also gives me time to clear my head and jam out. My friend Eliot made me a mix for my cross-country book tour trip and it's been on repeat for the last four months. I can't get enough.
Mornings are truthfully when I'm at my healthiest. I find that making smart choices to start the day has a great effect on keeping me on track for the rest of the day. That said, once 5 p.m. roles around and my fridge beckons me to open that bottle of chilled rosé, I do.
Read more: Colu Henry's Favorite Tool for Cooking Pasta
Thanks so much for sharing your healthy morning routine with us, Colu! And make sure to buy her new cookbook, Back Pocket Pasta.