The New York Diet

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

“Roberto Passon keeps it simple and modest, but it’s still exceptional.”

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.

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