L.A. Diet

Sprinkles Founder Candace Nelson Balances Quinoa Salads With a Lot of Ice Cream

When you’re in the middle of opening an ice cream shop, there’s a decent chance your diet consists mostly of cookies, brownies, red velvet cones, and scoop after scoop of ice cream. “I generally try to eat healthy,” says Sprinkles Cupcake and Ice Cream owner Candace Nelson. “But with an opening, it’s kind of like going through finals at school. You just throw all caution to the wind.” With ten Sprinkles stores in five states, plus a wildly popular cupcake ATM, a sweets truck, and one new Beverly Hills ice cream shop, one can only imagine Nelson’s sugar rush, but at least she’s able to balance it with quinoa salads and the occasional slice of pizza. Today Nelson notes where she nibbles in this week’s L.A. Diet.

Wednesday, May 23
The day started very promisingly with steal cut oats. I usually make a big container and heat it up through the week. So I had oats with berries, and I always have a very strong espresso with almond milk and agave syrup. I took my son to school and then exercised. We were opening the next day, so I had a nice healthy lunch before the mayhem began, some grilled salmon and cous cous out of the fridge.

I went to the shop for taste-testing; it’s all fine tuning at this point. Mostly for me, it was making sure the baking times for the cookies were correct. I probably taste-tested close to two dozen cookies: chocolate chip, salted oatmeal and corn flake, peanut butter pretzel chip. I had just a bite of all of them.

We were also making sure our salted butterscotch sauce had enough butterscotch, so there was a lot of testing on that. We were there late, and just ordered pizza. Joe’s Pizza on Sunset is a favorite of mine. Well, of my kids, I can’t lie. Standard cheese, I’m a purist. It’s kind of awful, but after all that, I still had a couple bites of ice cream for dessert.

Thursday, May 24
This was opening day of Sprinkles Ice Cream, so I started early. I had half of a bagel, raisin with cream cheese, which was basically the other half of my son’s. My son’s eyes are always bigger than his stomach. We go to Brooklyn Water Bagel.

Headed straight into the shop for some last minute tastes of the brownies right off the bat. I was basically out in the store greeting customers all day, and pretty much didn’t eat all day. I had a cappuccino mid-day. Around dinnertime when I was about to collapse, I sent for a quinoa salad from Le Pain Quotidien, which is right across the street. It’s been a lifesaver to us.

When I got home, I had some cheese and crackers before I fell into bed. These are new hours for us, since an ice cream shop is open later than a bakery. Later hours than we’re used to.

Friday, May 25
I was attempting a little bit of a detox day, but it wasn’t entirely successful. I always wake up with the best intentions. So I had some high-fiber cereal with almond milk and berries. My usual espresso. I can’t really leave the house without that.

Back into the store and really busy. I ordered lunch and dinner from another one of my Beverly Hills favorites, M Café. I had the chopped salad for lunch, and black cod with steamed vegetables for dinner. I spent some of the day making red velvet waffle cones and definitely did some tasting of those throughout the day. They are really delicious on their own. I had another espresso to get me through that afternoon, I’m sure. I just went home at the end of the day.

Saturday, May 26
I woke up and had some Greek yogurt with berries, and made it to Soul Cycle, which is awesome. I had to do some mommy duty and took my children to a birthday party. I knew it would be pizza and cake, so I brought an apple to keep me from temptation. I grabbed an earth salad from Urth Caffe on South Beverly on my way home from the party.

My husband’s family was in town, his parents always come in for openings. We all went out to dinner at Red O. We had a lot: Some guacamole, ceviche, and a spicy margarita, which was great. I had the tacos al carbon for dinner. When they offered us dessert, we all passed.

Sunday, May 27
We had yet another kid’s birthday; a brunch, so I headed to that. They had a beautiful spread at the party, and I had some quiche and mixed berries. Prior to that we took the kids to the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica, to let the kids have some fun. After the party, I went to Barry’s Bootcamp.

Our ritual for Sunday is to get chicken kabobs from Panini Café and bring it home. My kids love it, we love it. It’s really healthful and delicious, and one of the best deals in town. Chicken kabobs, grilled vegetables, a huge salad. I also had a glass of red wine. I don’t think I was brave enough to have dessert at the point.

Monday, May 28
I woke up with the oats, berries, and espresso with almond milk. This was Memorial Day and we still had family in town. So I kind of hung around the house with the kids and Charles’ parents. We made a big lazy salad for lunch and just kind of ate out of the fridge. And we grilled for dinner, just some burgers and chicken, a big salad, grilled corn, guacamole, and wine. A nice Pinot Noir.

Everybody wanted a little ice cream for dessert, you just have to have it on Memorial Day, you know? You can imagine, we have a ton of ice cream at the house, especially with all the testing and tasting. I opted for the cherry vanilla, which was the perfect top off for the holiday.

Sprinkles Founder Candace Nelson Balances Quinoa Salads With a Lot of Ice Cream