the new york diet

‘Good Day New York’ Anchor Ron Corning Eats Mahimahi Dinners at 4:30 A.M.

Ron Corning

"Roberto Passon keeps it simple and modest, but it’s still exceptional."Photo: Melissa Hom

Good Day New York anchor Ron Corning is used to odd hours — when he worked the grave-night shift as co-anchor of ABC’s World News Now, he found it hard to keep track of his meals and gained “the overnight fifteen.” Since starting the early shift at Fox about a year and a half ago, he has lost six of those pounds, and to drop the rest he has started eating “dinner” at 4:30 a.m. and “breakfast” at 7 p.m. Corning still manages to eat out, but he says he has only once used his clout to score a table (a manager at Gramercy Tavern called to offer his services after Corning jokingly complained on the air about how hard it was to book a resy). We asked him how he navigated his “insane” eating schedule this week.

Saturday, February 16
I look forward to the weekend, where I live a normal life, sleep- and food-wise. Waking up at 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m. is like sleeping in. Over the weekend, I did Bobby Flay Steak in Atlantic City. It was really good. I did an Italian restaurant, Specchio — it’s always interesting to go to some of these highly regarded and self-promoted high-end Italian places when a place like Roberto Passon keeps it simple and modest but it’s still exceptional. They don’t oversell it, and they keep the prices down.

Sunday, February 17
I had a healthy breakfast, came home and worked out, and had breakfast for dinner. My day starts at 4 a.m. I’ve been known to cook big dinners and go in in the morning, and we’ll have a full-on dinner at 4:30 a.m. in the morning. If you try to eat a regular breakfast at that hour, by 9:30 a.m. you’re completely starving — do you do lunch? Nutritionists have told me that people who work these hours need more energy and the higher-protein and higher-density food early in the day. Otherwise, in the afternoon you get tired and start mistaking being tired for being hungry. Slowly the fifteen pounds creep on.

Monday, February 18
I got up, got oatmeal, and scrambled some egg whites at 3:30 a.m. For a mid-morning snack, around 9:30 a.m., I had an apple with peanut butter. Later in the day, I made tuna salad. I took a nap, then I worked out and then came home. I did tilapia — I get these flash-frozen Horizon tilapia filets and put them in some room-temperature water for twenty minutes. I take seared tilapia, salt and pepper it, put it in a pan with just a little olive oil, garlic, add some white wine, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, and a little broth, and I put that in the oven and let it cook down for about fifteen minutes. Then I did some roasted Brussels sprouts. I like going out to the market on 66th Street outside of my building, because I know they’re all local farmers — I tend to cook what’s in season. If I buy rosemary or lavender that’s fresh, it lasts longer than when you get the pre-packaged stuff.

Tuesday, February 19
I took in leftovers (my fish) and had them for breakfast. Then a protein shake for lunch. That night I came home and worked out. I cooked smothered chicken with lots of herbs — rosemary, thyme — seared it in a little olive oil, cooked it down, and did some barley and cabbage with a little balsamic and chicken broth and then cooked that down. But I realized it was getting close to 7:30 p.m., and I thought, I have to go to bed by 9 p.m. — it’s too much. Sometimes I cook a dinner and tell myself, It’ll be more flavorful when I wake up in the morning. (You have to play games with yourself on this schedule.) So I took it in for breakfast the next day. For dinner I had the oatmeal that I had in the fridge.

Wednesday, February 20
I had the chicken for breakfast — leftovers from something I hadn’t eaten in the first place! I snacked on a few things — some almonds and peanut butter — and had half a sandwich for lunch. My friend said, “I know you want to eat early — is 6 p.m. good?” I went to 44 1/2 — great bread, excellent wine list, and healthy options. I got the mahimahi special with puréed squash and roasted asparagus. I took half of it home and had it for breakfast the next morning. I was home by 8 p.m.; at this time, I knew I should be in bed by 9 p.m., but I needed to watch American Idol to talk about it at work. I knew I could just watch half of it, but I get pulled in — I know I’m going to be more tired, but I’ll be more prepared. Already it’s 10:30 p.m., and I’m thinking, I need to get up in five hours.

Thursday, February 21
I took my leftovers in this morning and had those. I stunk the place up a little bit, so I went and bought everyone coffee to buy their forgiveness. I have one cup of coffee a day in the morning at about 5:30 a.m., but it’s a five-shot Americano with no water. I once told myself there’s no way I’m going to become dependent on coffee (I didn’t do it at all), but then you do a latte, and before it’s over you’re doing a venti five-shot Americano with no water. I also had an apple, almonds, and came home and had a protein shake. Now I’m going to take a nap — I have Cornish game hens from Whole Foods thawing in the sink. I’ll either have them or take them to work tomorrow. The cycle will continue.

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