“I’ve never eaten so much in my life,” Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski says of her stint as a guest judge on Top Chef this summer. “The food was all really great, and the experience was fun, but we were given massive portions! My takeaway was that this country really needs to focus on portion size.” Brzezinski’s next experience with food television is slightly more in tune with her own culinary preferences: On August 29, she hosts Cook Your Heart Out, a one-off cooking competition of heart-healthy recipes. “I try my best to be extremely disciplined about my diet,” she explains. “I’m someone who has really struggled with food, but I’ve found a good place now. It’s like alcoholism: Every day is a new day. It takes everything in my power, everything inside me to not fall off the wagon.” Find out what she had to eat this week in our latest New York Diet.
Friday, August 20
I always start my day with a red-eye misto — two shots, extra hot, extra foam — from Starbucks. The pages on the Morning Joe set bring it to me. They know I get my coffee hot, and first. It’s kind of a running joke — when they first start on the job, they’re told that the worst offense they can commit on the set is not to give me my coffee first, and not to get the order right. I had a breakfast of two Kind granola bars, almond and coconut. I’ve started to do that in the morning, but it used to be Grape Nuts — I’m making a switch. The Kind bars are so good, and I have two instead of one. I don’t know if that’s bad for me but, it’s what I need. I’m slim right now and burning a lot of calories because I’m so busy, and the bars give me the calories and the punch that I need to keep to keep going, not just for the morning but for a few hours.
For lunch I was at P.J. Clarke’s. I had a grilled-chicken sandwich with avocado aïioli and cole slaw on five-grain bread. I had water to drink — water, water, water all the time. I barely ever drink any juice.
For dinner, the only other thing I had besides a lot of water was some broccoli rabe, and some bread with olive oil — that was at Sammy’s Downtown in Bronxville. I probably also had a glass of red wine.
Saturday, August 21
I had my Starbucks and my two Kind bars, and a few Morning Joe mugs of hot water. I have mugs of hot water every morning because the studio is cold, and also because it makes my throat sound clearer.
Lunch was an arugula salad that I made at home. I use an organic strawberry dressing; it’s so good. I had some broccoli rabe that I make using a recipe from [NBC anchor] Andrea Mitchell. It involves white wine; it’s delicious.
Dinner was an omelette of six egg whites, fresh spinach, and a little bit of cheese — probably Swiss. I had water.
Sunday, August 22
I had my Starbucks, and then I went running. I run many, many miles — up to five miles a day right now on average. I want to be a marathoner. I think I could be, but I don’t have the time to do it right now. It’s a real commitment.
After my run I had yogurt with granola and dried almonds. It’s really high-protein, high-energy. It’s a big bowl, probably a cup and a half, and it just gives me everything i need and nothing I don’t need in terms of fat and protein — there’s some good fat, lots of protein. It serves as a breakfast and a lunch. Later on I had some gelato — I’m at a weight right now where I can afford to do that; the issue is not to go back and have five more in the next 24 hours. It was hazelnut, from a brand-new place that opened in Eastchester. Yummy.
Dinner was an arugula salad. Just massive amounts of greens, a little Parmesan that I cut myself, and a piece of bread on the side.
Two hours later I had a huge bowl of Cheerios. I sometimes get extremely hungry to the point where I feel like I might lose control, and instead of going to bed hungry — because I have to get up really early in the morning, around 3:45, and if i go to bed frighteningly hungry I then can’t sleep, and that’s a bad cycle — when I’m really, really weak and don’t want to fall off the wagon, I eat like a half of a box of Cheerios. It’s like five servings in one bowl, and of course skim milk. My husband calls me Jethro when I do that. He’s like “Okay, Jethro.” I guess there’s some character named Jethro who likes to eat or something? I have no idea what that’s a reference to. [Editor’s Note: It’s from The Beverly Hillbillies.]
Monday, August 23
My Starbucks red-eye misto, and then instead of Kind bars I had two bites of Grape Nuts — warm, with honey. They’re so yummy. I had my four Morning Joe mugs of hot water.
Lunch was a huge, two-quart arugula salad with fresh Parmesan cheese, fresh pears, and then I put the dressing in and put Saran wrap over it and shake it so every leaf gets that yummy dressing on it.
Dinner was at home: whole-wheat pasta mixed with spinach, garlic, and tomatoes, and half a glass of red wine.
Tuesday, August 24
Starbucks and Kind bars.
For lunch, I had a tomato-and-mozzarella salad. We often go for the weekend up to Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, and we get wonderful tomatoes and other fresh produce and bring it home with us.
Dinner was yogurt with granola and dried almonds. I was in a rush and I needed the protein, the good fat, and to feel full. I can get a good night’s sleep with that.
Wednesday, August 25
Starbucks and Kind bars.
Lunch was a Whole Foods carrot-veggie smoothie that I got from their food court downstairs. I had a banana and some Fage Greek yogurt — it’s my favorite; it’s amazing. I love it.
I had dinner at Macelleria; it’s an incredible restaurant. I had tomato soup, tomato-basil salad, bread, and a half-glass of red wine. I love tomatoes, and they’re so good for you.